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BRACKET BLOG: Southwest Region

In the Southwest Region, douchebags fly free.
In the Southwest Region, douchebags fly free.

Three down, one to go. Man, I need to get to sleep...

I'll push the final BRACKET BLOG at 9 a.m. so you can make last-minute changes to your bracket here if you actually rely on my insights for any decisions you make with it.

The group ID is 104278 and the password is FearTheBeard.

Follow the jump for a discussion of the Southwest Region, a.k.a. the Jayhawk Invitational.

(P.S. I'm doing these out of order because of the play-in games.)

Previous Entries:

The Teams

  1. Kansas Jayhawks
  2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. Purdue Boilermakers
  4. Louisville Cardinals
  5. Vanderbilt Commodores
  6. Georgetown Hoyas
  7. Texas A&M Aggies
  8. UNLV Runnin' Rebels
  9. Illinois Fighting Illini
  10. Florida St. Seminoles
  11. Va. Commonwealth Rams
  12. Richmond Spiders
  13. Morehead St. Eagles
  14. St. Peter's Peacocks
  15. Akron Zips
  16. Boston U. Terriers

The Sites

  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Denver, Colo.
  • San Antonio, Texas (Sweet Sixteen | Elite Eight)
  • Tulsa, Okla.

The Breakdown

No. 1 Kansas (32-2) vs. No. 16 Boston University (21-13)
March 18 | 5:50 p.m. CST | Tulsa | TBS
Marv Albert | Steve Kerr

Yes, it's a B-team, and yes, it sure would be nice for KU to be the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16, but c'mon, vote with your head, not your heart.

Jayhawks roll against a Terriers squad that couldn't score for almost 10 minutes Saturday.

GAMER: not available
Pomeroy: Kansas 82, BU 60
Sagarin: Kansas 94, BU 71

No. 2 Notre Dame (26-6) vs. No. 15 Akron (23-12)
March 18 | 12:40 p.m. CST | Chicago | TBS
Spero Dedes | Bob Wenzel

Pardon the pun, but I know precisely zip about the Akron Zips. I do know, however, that Notre Dame is an excellent team loaded with senior experience.

The Fighting Irish were upset in the first round last year. Trust me, they won't want to repeat that fate. Catholics big...

GAMER: UND 73, Akron 64
Pomeroy: UND 78, Akron 61
Sagarin: UND 71, Akron 59

No. 3 Purdue (25-7) vs. No. 14 Saint Peter's College (20-13)
March 18 | 6:20 p.m. CST | Chicago | TNT
Spero Dedes | Bob Wenzel

The Peacocks sure have come a long way since December, when they were the only team in the country shooting free throws worse than K-State.

But they're not going any further. Purdue, in front of a home-ish crowd in Chicago, will be too much for St. Peter's to handle, despite how poorly the Boilermakers played in their last two games.

GAMER: Purdue 70, SPC 59
Pomeroy: Purdue 69, SPC 54
Sagarin: Purdue 68, SPC 55

UPSET ALERT: No. 4 Louisville (25-9) vs. No. 13 Morehead State (24-9)
March 17 | 12:40 p.m. CST | Denver | TBS
Verne Lundquist | Bill Raftery

This is an Upset Alert for one reason only: Kenneth Faried.

The nation's leading rebounder, both season and career, is a true force down low. Louisville will be hard-pressed to keep him from 15 rebounds, much less keeping him off the boards at all.

But in the end, the Cardinals probably have too many offensive weapons and too much depth for the Eagles to handle, especially if the 3s are dropping like they did against Syracuse and in the Big East Tournament.

Given a more favorable match-up, I liked Morehead to make some noise in the Big Dance. But Louisville is a team I expect to give Kansas trouble in the Sweet Sixteen. Rick Pitino's team ain't dropping this game, even if both teams do have to fly all the way to Denver to play when they just as easily could have met in Lexington.

GAMER: Louisville 71, MSU 64
Pomeroy: Louisville 71, MSU 59
Sagarin: Louisville 71, MSU 61

UPSET ALERT: No. 5 Vanderbilt (23-10) vs. No. 12 Richmond (27-7)
March 17 | 3:10 p.m. | Denver | TBS
Verne Lundquist | Bill Raftery

Sometimes it's just too easy. Ignore what the predictions below say. Vanderbilt is a prime upset candidate solely because they lost similar games in the first round the last two years.

Richmond runs a modified Princeton offense, which makes the Spiders (greatest mascot name ever, by the way) terribly difficult to scout on such short notice. They also utilize a tricky match-up zone.

The way Vandy lost games at Kentucky, at Missouri and at home to Tennessee makes me question the Commodores' toughness. Make no mistake: To avoid the infamous 5-12 upset, one must be very tough indeed.

GAMER: Vanderbilt 66, Richmond 63
Pomeroy: Vanderbilt 70, Richmond 68
Sagarin: Vanderbilt 64, Richmond 62

UPSET ALERT: No. 6 Georgetown (21-10) vs. No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth (24-11)
March 18 | 8:50 p.m. CST | Chicago | TNT
Spero Dedes | Bob Wenzel

Had USC advanced out of Dayton, I liked the Trojans' chances against Georgetown because of match-up problems in the paint.

But the Hoyas lucked out Wednesday night and instead will face VCU, a team very similar to itself. These are two guard-dominated teams, but they're also solid defensive squads, so I expect a lower-scoring game than most.

I suspect VCU is a watered-down version of its Big East counterpart, but it will be interesting to see if playing the extra game gives the Rams any sort of momentum edge entering this contest.

GAMER: not available
Pomeroy: not available
Sagarin: Georgetown 65, VCU 59

UPSET ALERT: No. 7 Texas A&M (24-8) vs. No. 10 Florida State (21-10)
March 18 | 3:10 p.m. CST | Chicago | TBS
Spero Dedes | Bob Wenzel

The ACC sucks, Florida State's best scorer will return in this game after being out for weeks and Texas A&M is riding a five-game winning streak in the opening round of the tournament.

In a battle of two teams that are clones of each other, I like Khris Middleton over Chris Singleton. The dog worshippers will take care of business.

Weird fact: The Aggies had to fly all the way up to Chicago, but if they can win two games there against very similar teams to itself (Notre Dame being the other), they'll have a strong home flavor at the Sweet Sixteen in San Antonio.

GAMER: not available
Pomeroy: FSU 61, TAMU 60
Sagarin: TAMU 63, FSU 62

UPSET ALERT: No. 8 Nevada-Las Vegas (24-8) vs. No. 9 Illinois (19-13)
March 18 | 8:20 a.m. CST | Tulsa | TBS
Marv Albert | Steve Kerr

Lon Kruger takes on his old team, which is but a pale shadow of itself since he and Bill Self departed.

UNLV is built for this tournament. The Runnin' Rebels are deep, athletic and fast-paced. Although their shooting touch sometimes leaves something to be desired, they make up for it with defensive and rebounding intensity.

Sound familiar at all?

Meanwhile, Illinois is a steaming pile of crap with three underachieving seniors and a befuddled coach that somehow skidded down the stretch even in a staid and mediocre Big Ten conference race.

Will this even be close? KenPom and Sagarin are off their rockers on this one, in my opinion. I think they've been drinking a little too much of the Leaders/Legends Kool-Aid.

GAMER: UNLV 67, Illinois 62
Pomeroy: Illinois 68, UNLV 67
Sagarin: Illinois 70, UNLV 69