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Posts Tagged ‘national championship’

NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Who Do I Like?

Posted by sportsmaven on April 7, 2009

As the natural follow up to yesterday’s post on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (hint: who I like and who wins seldom cross paths these days) I have my pick for tonight’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.  Now after last night’s debacle in choosing Michigan State over North Carolina, many are now wondering if I have the fortitude to choose the underdog yet again.  Remember, it’s either the University of Connecticut Lady Huskies or the University of Louisville Lady Cardinals.

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Last year, as my daughter reminds me over and over again, I picked against University of Tennessee and they won.  This year, I’m tell you who I like and I think it will be no surprise to anybody:

I’m going with UConn to beat Louisville 78-60 in an all Big East National Championship final.  Louisville will keep it close with defense, but ultimately, the Lady Huskies will break it open, complete their undefeated season and their 6th National Championship, their first since 2004.

Last night I went for the sentimental underdog, the Michigan State Spartans, playing at home and I got blown out of the water by a very determined and talented North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team.  (The Spartans got blown out of the water and took me with them.)

Tonight — it’s all about the favorite, taking a tight game and turning it into an 18-point win.  University of Connecticut will be the 2008-09 Women’s National Champion in basketball.

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2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Picks

Posted by sportsmaven on March 19, 2009

Three hours until tip off of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Today launches two of the most unproductive work days of the year.  I’ve already completed and posted my women’s picks yesterday.  The men’s bracket is more of a challenge.  In the women’s game, the difference between the best and worst teams is much greater than in the men’s game. That fact makes the men’s brackets more difficult to choose, as more teams have a chance to upset higher seeded teams.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There are really four strategies you can follow in doing your brackets.  The first strategy is just to pick the higher seed and let the lesser teams get washed out and separated.  There are always going to be upsets, but how do you decided which high seed is vulnerable?  You don’t.  Let the law of averages rule overrule luck.

The second strategy is to pick which teams will be upset in which rounds.  Play the hot hand, requires some working knowledge of which teams are peaking going into the tournament and which teams are upstart enough to engineer an upset.

The third strategy is to find an expert’s brackets and choose those picks.  The ESPN experts picks.  Leverage their knowledge and exposure to the game to make your picks.  You might even do well with this strategy if you want to win the office basketball pool.  It’s not sexy, nor a challenge, but it seems better than the last strategy – what I call the women’s pick.  Pick by favorite team, mascot names, colors, and allegiances.  This is the most random of all methods, but one that seems to produce a winner on rare occasion.  Even resourceful women ask their men to make their picks, but those who opt to make their own, good luck!

So, for those who exercise the choose the experts picks, here are my picks.  Good luck if you decide to use these picks.  If you win anything, I want my cut of the payout:

First round winners:

Midwest Region: Louisville, Ohio State, Arizona, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Kansas, USC, Michigan State

West Region: Connecticut, Texas A&M, Purdue, Washington, Marquette, Missouri, Maryland, Memphis

East Region: Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Florida State, Xavier, UCLA, Villanova, Texas, Duke

South Region: North Carolina, LSU, Illinois, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Syracuse, Clemson, Oklahoma

Sweet 16: Louisville, Wake Forest, Kansas, Michigan State, Connecticut, Washington, Marquette, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Florida State, UCLA, Duke, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Oklahoma

Final 4: Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

National Championship Game: Louisville vs. North Carolina

National Championship: Louisville

I wrestled back and forth between Louisville and North Carolina before choosing Louisville.  This is, perhaps, Rick Pitino’s best team at Louisville and they look poised for a run all the way.  I thought going into the tournament that the two teams that the biggest chips on their shoulders would be Louisville and Memphis.  The arguments against Memphis always starts and ends with their soft conference schedule.  I think Memphis is one of the 4 best teams in the country.  I just hope they prove me correct in this tournament.

There are the picks, and with more than an hour to spare.  Check back often, as I will update my progress after each round.

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2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Picks

Posted by sportsmaven on March 18, 2009

College tournament basketball.  Women’s basketball.  While all the hype is focused on the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the women are also playing their tournament, and I have picks for that tournament to share.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

The decision to start with the women’s bracket was easy. Women’s college basketball is easier to make picks, due to the fact that there are a few dominant teams and upsets seemed less likely than in the men’s bracket.  Thus, the picks came much quicker and easier.  Without hesitation, the picks are:

Trenton Bracket: Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, California, Arizona State, Florida State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M

Berkley Bracket: Duke, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee, Iowa State, Texas, Ohio State, DePaul, Stanford

Raleigh Bracket: Maryland, Utah, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, LSU, Louisville, TCU, Baylor

Oklahoma City Bracket: Oklahoma, Iowa, Gonzaga, Pittsburgh, Purdue, North Carolina, Rutgers, Auburn

Sweet 16: Connecticut, California, Florida State, Texas A&M, Duke, Tennessee, Ohio State, Stanford, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Baylor, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Auburn

Elite 8: Connecticut, Texas A&M, Duke, Stanford, Maryland, Baylor, Oklahoma, North Carolina

Final 4: Connecticut, Stanford, Maryland, Oklahoma

Finals: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma

National Champion: Connecticut

The Connecticut team is undefeated entering the tournament and will remain undefeated as National Champion.  I like Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris’ “guarantee” that if Oklahoma doesn’t win the National Championship, she will refund her scholarship to University of Oklahoma.  As I remarked on Twitter yesterday, Courtney, you better get your checkbook ready.  My men’s picks will follow shortly and the games will begin tomorrow at high noon (well, 12:20p EST).

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SportsMaven’s 2008 NCAA Basketball Tourney Picks

Posted by sportsmaven on March 20, 2008

Where did the time go? The 2008 NCAA Basketball tournament begins today, with as many games as one baskeball-addicted sports fan can handle. So now is the time to really see if the SportsMaven knows his stuff in college hoops. Below are my 2008 NCAA picks for the men’s basketball tournament.
Grading the SportsMaven’s NCAA Basketball Tourney Picks
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Below are my picks:
  • Second Round: North Carolina, Indiana, Notre Dame, Washington St., Oklahoma, Louisville, Butler, Tennessee, Kansas, UNLV, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Kansas St., Wisconsin, Davidson, Georgetown, Memphis, Mississippi St., Michigan St., Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Stanford, St. Mary’s, Texas, UCLA, BYU, Drake, Connecticut, Baylor, Xavier, West Virginia, Duke
  • Sweet 16: North Carolina, Notre Dame, Louisville, Tennessee, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, Connecticut, Xavier, Duke
  • Elite Eight: North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Georgetown, Memphis, Texas, UCLA, Xavier
  • Final Four: North Carolina, Georgetown, Texas, UCLA
  • National Championship Game: UCLA vs. North Carolina
  • National Champion: North Carolina
Check back for progress against this year’s picks……by the way, no Illinois teams in this year’s brackets.

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