Round of 64
#1 Syracuse vs. #16 UNC Asheville: UNC Asheville moves at one of the fastest paces in the country, which might be what they need to break down and upset Syracuse. What's most interesting about this one is how high a free throw rate UNC Asheville puts up, but it's countered by Syracuse's ability to keep teams on the perimeter and not allow them to break the zone. Syracuse should handle this one.
#8 Kansas State vs. #9 Southern Miss: One of the worst two point shooting teams in the country in the Golden Eagles now faces the 18th most efficient defense in the Wildcats. However, Kansas State gives it right back with their turnover woes. Kansas State still has a better team and still should win, but watch the turnovers here.
#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Montana: Wisconsin is so upset-prone here, as the Badgers are a glacially slow team that doesn't score a lot of points and minimizes possessions. They're a bad two point shooting team and Montana is a good two point shooting defense. Wisconsin is not a good shooting team; Montana is a good shooting defense. The Badgers could obviously win this one, but if they don't hit their shots, Montana is the upset pick here.
#5 Vanderbilt vs. #12 Harvard: Harvard is pretty solid at doing everything except defending the three point line, which could doom them here as Vandy just loves to pour on the threes and will have the height advantage (a huge height advantage) to get any shot they want. The Commodores are an experienced team who would like to avoid bowing out early (again) and are coming off a pretty high win against Kentucky, so if they let Harvard dictate the pace they could be in trouble. Vanderbilt should assert themselves though.
#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Texas: This is one of those games that could swing either way, so if you want an upset pick the Longhorns are a good bet. I lean Texas because they shoot free throws better, shoot free throws more often, and grab boards. Those come in handy in a close game; although Cincys good defensively, they still need to put points up.
#3 Florida State vs. #14 St. Bonaventure: Florida State has one clear weakness (ball control) and another potential one (rebounding). The Bonnies should take advantage of the second but are unlikely to force many of the first. Considering the Bonnies don't shoot threes well and are unlikely to put up much against the Seminoles, FSU should be your pick here.
#2 Ohio State vs. #15 Loyola (Maryland). Easiest pick of this round is Ohio State. Loyola is just happy to be there.
#7 Gonzaga vs. #10 West Virginia. Another tossup, but Gonzaga had to go cross-country to play a matchup where they're likely to be playing in an almost-road contest (considering West Virginia is right next to Pittsburgh). Based on site, you'd have to say WVU has the edge here.
Round of 32
#1 Syracuse vs. #8 Kansas State: It'd be convenient to pick Syracuse to go down here, but Kansas State sucks almost just as badly at getting defensive rebounds as Syracuse does, and they're playing man defense. Add in the fact that the Wildcats do way too much stupid stuff with the basketball and the Orange love to feast on turnovers. In the end, you should see Syracuse move on.
#5 Vanderbilt vs. #13 Montana: It'd be so Vanderbilt to be bounced out by the Big Sky champions, but I really like Montana in this matchup. The Commodores rely on their threes, but against Montana (a defensive-oriented squad that can cover ground and match up with Vandy), I see another upset for Montana on the horizon.
#3 Florida State vs. #11 Texas: Texas is perfectly suited to knock off FSU. Remember the Seminoles might be capable of beating Duke and North Carolina, but they are also just as capable of gagging here and going into an offensive funk. Texas is good on offense and defense, and if FSU hits a cold streak the Longhorns are more than capable of winning here.
I'll stick with the Seminoles though. The day I trust Rick Barnes to score upsets is the day I believe Big Macs cure cancer.
#2 Ohio State vs. #10 West Virginia: Ohio State has to be so thankful for this draw. Even if Gonzaga does win, they're just a pushover for the Buckeyes on their way to the Sweet 16.
#1 Syracuse vs. #13 Montana: Fab Melo dooms Syracuse! Dooms them! All the way to the Elite Eight goes doomed Syracuse! (Montana's offensive struggles and rebounding issues catch up to them here, and Syracuse could probably beat anyone of those teams).
#2 Ohio State vs. #3 Florida State: The Buckeyes shouldn't have any excuses getting to the Elite 8. They have one of the easiest draws of any team out there, and the only team that could unseat them is Florida State. But the Buckeyes play better defense than the Seminoles do--a matchup like that one could be a doozy, say 48-36, and they're way better offensively. Even if both teams decide to set back offense a hundred years, the Buckeyes should win.
#1 Syracuse vs. #2 Ohio State: No Fab Melo means Ohio State moves onto the Final Four.
SB Nation has a full 2012 NCAA printable bracket up with names of every team blog involved in the NCAA Tournament this year.
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