The 2011 NCAA Tournament field has been decided and your men’s NCAA brackets are complete. We’ll be here throughout the tournament in spite of the omission of the St. Mary’s Gaels. The expanded field of 68 includes some intriguing matchups and some possible stinkers. We’ve got some surprising entrants, including the USC Trojans and Virginia Commonwealth Rams, and we’ve got plenty of the old guard as well.
I’ll go on record right now and say my overall darkhorse candidate is San Diego State. I realize a two seed is hard to call a darkhorse but given the Big East love we’ve had this year and how good teams like Kansas and Duke are, I think the Aztecs can fly under the radar a little bit. Throw in the fact that they will be playing just up the road from their home town and I think there’s a lot to like about them.
Fooch’s Take: Kentucky’s my darkhorse here, but I think an Ohio State-North Carolina Elite Eight matchup is in the cards with the Buckeyes coming out of this region. They have been arguably the most consistent team in a season filled with a string of upsets. I think Jared Sullinger can carry them through. It’s boring to pick the top team in a bracket, but I like what they bring to the table.
Fooch’s Take: I already declared my allegiance to San Diego State so I certainly won’t change it here. They’re certainly no lock to come out of the West, but I really like what they bring to the the table. They’ve got the inside game with guys like Kawhi Leonard and Malcom Thomas. If the outside shots are falling they’re as good as anybody in the country. UConn will give them trouble, as will Duke, but I think this is their region to win.
Avi’s Take: The Kansas Jayhawks might be in a really good position with this Southwest Regional bracket. There are a lot of decent but not overwhelming opponents standing in their way for a return to the Final Four. The USC Trojans are heading back as well, as they are one of the last four into the tournament. They’ll be playing the surprising VCU Rams in the First Four Tuesday and Wednesday on truTV. This should be real intriguing.
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (16) Boston University Terriers
(8) UNLV Runnin Rebels vs. (9) Illinois Fightin Illini
Avi’s Take: If Pitt can’t make the Final Four they’ll be really kicking themselves for this one. Florida is not a strong #2 seed, although they’ll essentially be playing at home in Tampa, so the UCLA Bruins will have a long fight uphill to try and get to the Sweet 16 (not to mention Michigan State is no easy cookie either).
(7) Michigan State Spartans vs. (10) UCLA Bruins
(2) Florida Gators vs. (15) UC-Santa Barbara Gouchos