There are still a few precious hours to fill out that NCAA Tournament bracket. Are you tired of losing every year? You should be. No worries this year, my friend. Aggro Swag is here to guide you through each region of the 2013 bracket so you will finally know what sweet victory tastes like. Or you could lose terribly with us. Whatever.
By: Haggleman Mondays
In giving Louisville the number one overall seed, the Committee handed the Cardinals a nice can of nuts which Louisville graciously accepted before realizing OOPS UH-OH SNAKES IN A CAN PRANK.
I mean, damn. For the number one seed, the Committee was so kind to give Louisville a potential matchup with a defensive juggernaught 4-seed (St. Louis) in the sweet 16, and a possible matchup down the road with either Duke–who was a lock for a 1-seed before the Maryland loss–and Michigan State, who’s always a tough out in the Tournament thanks to Tom Izzo. YIKES.
Games to Watch
#12 Oregon vs. #5 Oklahoma State
Everyone loves the 5/12 games, and the Midwest region offers the cream of the crop in that category this year. You see, for their fine work this season in defeating both Kansas and Kansas State, the Committee rewarded Oklahoma State with a 5-seed and a game against another 5-seed, Oregon. Except that Oregon is really a 12-seed in the eyes of the Committee, because I guess the Pac-12 plays after 9pm? I don’t know. I just know that this is a matchup of two pretty evenly talented teams, and the 5/12 game most likely to end in an upset.
#12 Oregon over #5 Oklahoma State
As mentioned, Oregon over Oklahoma State would be an upset in terms of seed only, as that game is just about a toss-up otherwise. Other than the 5/12, I’m sorry to tell you, I just don’t see any big upsets in this region. St. Mary’s over Memphis will be a popular pick, but the Gaels’ impressive First Four victory came over a Middle Tennessee State team with exactly zero top 100 wins. I just think this is the year Josh Pastner finally stops the DERP train. I don’t like Cincinnati either. The Bearcats essentially limped their way to the NCAA Tournament with only one win over a Tournament team since February (a weak home win over Villanova). P-U.
Doug McDermott has been fitted for his glass slipper for the second year in a row. Now he’s just got to shoehorn it on that giant foot of his and use it to stomp all over those terrible, awful, good-for-nothing Duke Blue Devils. I don’t like the draw for the Blue Jays of Creighton, but if McDermott can get hot the country would love so very much to see him take down Duke in the Round of 32.
I’m not sure a 4-seed can qualify as a Cinderella, but considering how many expect Louisville to get to the Final Four it is certainly worth mentioning that the St. Louis Billikens are a stunning case study of respect. Before the brackets were announced analysts were trumpeting this team as a Final Four sleeper and now you aren’t hearing a peep about them. Hey, it could happen.
I saved this picture as “yuck.jpg”.
#2 Duke vs. #3 Michigan State
#1 Louisville vs. #2 Duke
#1 Louisville vs. #3 Michigan State
The top 3 seeds in the Midwest are led by three coaches that have combined for six National Championships and 23 Final Fours. That’s a lotta gold right there. It would seem fitting then, if we got to see Izzo face off with Mike Krzyzewski for a chance to meet Pitino in the Regional Final. Even more appealing is the idea of a rematch of the 2009 Regional of Izzo’s Spartans and Pitino’s Cardinals, in which Michigan State shocked the overall 1-seed Louisivlle en route to a National Championship game loss to daggum Roy Williams’ Tarheels.
Most Outstanding Player
Curry has been overshadowed a bit for a Duke team that got Ryan Kelly back and leans on Mason Plumlee for 17 and 10, but make no mistake, Curry is the straw that stirs this Duke team’s drink. I think he’s poised for a tournament run similar to his older brother after a season in which he shot an astounding 43% from 3, which is just slightly above Duke’s season average of 41% from deep. His 1.6 assists per game is pretty good too, except that he’s second-to-last on the team in that category behind Mason Plumlee (2 per game!), Ryan Kelly (1.7), Rasheed Suliamon (2.0), Tyler Thornton (2.4), and Quinn Cook (5.2). I just looked all of this up right now. My God they are good.
Last Team Standing
Well, I guess I have to pick Duke now. Sheeeit. It’s hard to not like this team’s chances, unfortunately. They made it through a difficult season in which maybe their most important player–Kelly–missed almost 80% of conference play and yet they still almost won the ACC. Louisville is the popular pick after marching through opponents in the Big East Tournament, but the Cardinals are a team that relies on defense and forcing turnovers, and Duke is a top 10 team in the country in protecting the ball. I think the Blue Devils outscore Pitino’s Cardinals in a fun one and get to Atlanta. Now I will go barf.
By: Jeezy Sanchez
The South region is all about coaching. 10 of the 16 coaches in the South have made it to a Final Four. Here’s a free bracket tip: Only one of them will make it to this year’s Final Four. It was kind of a surprise to see Kansas earn the #2 overall seed in the tournament, placing them as the 1-seed in the South region. The South has about five teams with a legitimate shot at getting to Atlanta. In addition to the Jayhawks, the South is home to Georgetown and Florida, two teams that can get hot and certainly have the talent to go on a run. Michigan is the best 4 seed in the entire tournament. VCU will be a trendy pick to win the South, as Shaka Smart’s team made a Final Four run just two years ago. South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters is being called a poor man’s Jimmer Fredette, which is the same as a regular Jimmer Fredette. Can Georgetown score enough to avoid another early exit? Is Florida’s inability to win close games going to transfer over into the tournament? Is anybody listening to me?
Games to Watch
#8 North Carolina vs. #9 Villanova
North Carolina and Villanova were popular teams to make some noise in the tournament so of course the committee pits them against each other. UNC has played better of late, and Villanova only plays awesome at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. Nova got a tough draw, and the Tarheels are simply too athletic to keep pace. PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo are really playing well, and Villanova’s defense just won’t be able to keep up. For the first half of the season, I thought Ryan Arcidiacano’s name was “Archie Diacano.” So, there’s that.
#2 Georgetown vs. #15 Florida Gulf Coast
Keep your wonky eye on is 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast (yes, they are real) against 2-seed Georgetown. The Hoyas have a nice history of derping early and often, and FGCU knocked off Miami earlier this season. The real reason I’m mentioning this game is HEAVENS TO BETSY HAVE YOU SEEN FLORIDA GULF COAST HEAD COACH ANDY ENFIELD’S WIFE? SHE IS A SMOKING HOT MAXIM MODEL.
HOW? I hope CBS and Turner put a camera on on her during this game. Hell, use a channel like Spike TV and turn it into the Amanda Enfield Channel. I’d call it ShwingTV. JTIII’s wife is probably looks like a sack of flour. Advantage: Florida Gulf Coast.
#11 Minnesota over #6 UCLA
Just about everybody and their momma is picking Minnesota to beat UCLA. The committee gave UCLA a 6 seed despite the Bruins losing Kyle Anderson, their leading rebounder and second leading scorer. Minnesota lost 7 of 10 to close out the season and were only included in the tournament because the committee thinks this is the Minnesota basketball team with Ricky Rubio. I wish. This game might as well be a “Loser Leaves Town” match, because either Ben Howland or Tubby Smith will assuredly get whacked if they lose.
Steer clear of the 5/12 in this region, as Akron is without a point guard. Literally. They are playing 4 on 5 now. It’s a risky strategy, so we’ll see if it pays off.
South Dakota State
Have you heard Nate Wolters name yet? Well, you’re going to very soon. If his Jackrabbits beat 4-seed Michigan, prepare for Wolters Overload. He averages 23 points per game on top of 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Not bad. The rest of the ‘Rabbits can fill it up, shooting 40% from beyond the arc. They were ranked No. 1 in the nation this season, but Michigan looked like a shell of its former self during their conference tournament. Trey Burke is one of the best players in the Big Dance, but if he plays like Trey Songz, the Wolverines are going to go “bottoms up.” Naters Gonna Nate, ya know?
After their run to the Final Four in 2011 as an 11-seed, picking VCU as a Cinderella is a cop-out. They could very easily find themselves with a rematch against Kansas in the Elite 8, but to call them a Cinderella? Not me. Not now. Sorry Shaka.
South Dakota State
That team’s whiter than a blizzard.
#1 Kansas vs. #4 Michigan
#1 Kansas vs. #5 VCU
I thought about putting the Jayhawks vs. North Carolina here but that’s more of a nightmare if you hate being reminded that good ol’ boy, Roy Williams once coached for Kansas, dagnabbit. Instead, I’m hoping to see Kansas and Michigan square off in an exciting Sweet 16 game. Kansas would have the size down low in Jeff Whithey, but Burke and Hardaway match up very nicely with Elijah Johnson and Ben Macklemore. If the fightin’ Shakas have their way, a rematch from 2011’s Elite 8 with Kansas is worth the price of admission. I don’t want to watch Florida and Georgetown play, ever, so just pretend the bottom half of the region doesn’t exist.
Most Outstanding Player
[Turns on computer] Now, I’m here to give you a no nonsense reason why I think Ben McLemore will be the best player in the South [opens browser]. He is one of the most dynamic players in the country [goes to YouTube]. It will be tough for any team to stop McLemore, much less defend him [searches ‘Macklemore’]. I guess you can say, McLemore’s f—ing awesome [clicks on ‘Thrift Shop’]. I’m sorry guys, I just love this song.
Last Team Standing
There are a TON of people picking Florida and I just don’t get it. The Gators can’t win a close game, and looked very average in a very crappy SEC. Why are they suddenly the hot pick? Georgetown looked great to end the regular season, but it was recently revealed that they are still, in fact, Georgetown. Haggleman loves him some Shaka, but I’m not buying stock in the Rams this year. I REALLY wanted to take Michigan, but the lack of a post presence could bite them in the ass. That leaves us with Kansas, last year’s runner-up. They have the experience, the size, and the coaching. The safe bet is on the Jayhawks. The dangerous bet is on someone dancing better than THAT!
By: Haggleman Mondays
According to the Committee’s seeding list, Gonzaga received the fourth and final 1-seed, which is odd when you look at their relatively easy draw compared to the other three regions. The ‘Zags are led by strong inside play from Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, and can beat you from outside with the hot shooting of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. At the bottom of the bracket is 2-seed Ohio State, who I think would even admit that they won the Big Ten Conference Tournament by default. In a year when the Big Ten did a great job shedding its label of Bore-sketball, Thad Matta’s Buckeyes remain a pretty snooze-worthy bunch. Following the top two are the New Mexico Lobos, a relative unknown in the eyes of the general public, despite our best efforts here to get you to watch. The Lobos are a defensive-minded crew that can go through scoring droughts, sooooo basically, they are every single team in this tournament. This bracket, probably more-so than all the others, is wide open enough to be susceptible to a run to the Final Four by a lower seed like 6-seeded Arizona or (GULP) 5-seeded Wisconsin.
Games to Watch
#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Ole Miss
Can you imagine a matchup of more polar opposites than Wisconsin-Marshall Henderson? It’s like Ned Flanders vs. an arsonist. Henderson will make a 3 and do the worm down the court on his way back to playing defense, and Wisconsin will just ignore it until they have to passive-agressively ask him to stop. This game is going to be so awkward. Don’t miss it.
#6 Arizona vs. #11 Belmont
Every year analysts are excited to be the first to tell you that Belmont is the team to pull an upset or two in the Tournament. Two years ago, they told you what a great matchup it was for Belmont to against Wisconsin. Nope. Last year, it was Belmont over Georgetown. Nope. Can they finally do it this year? Can they beat a scuffling Arizona team from a disappointing Pac-12? Nope.
#15 Iona vs. #2 Ohio State
Yeah, this isn’t going to happen, but I totally hope it does. Iona doesn’t have a good win this season, but the Gaels have an NCAA-experienced scoring guard in Momo Jones who averages 23 points per game and was a part of the Derrick Williams Arizona team that went to the Regional Finals in 2011. Ohio State will probably be able to lock down the Gaels enough to move on to the Round of 32, but if Iona comes out hot to start, the Buckeyes aren’t a team that’s comfortable playing from behind with their scoring issues.
Arizona was a top 10 team for most of the season, and even beat Florida and Miami before the calendar turned to 2013. I can’t argue that they deserved a 6-seed, but this is a team with 2-seed talent, maybe better. They have a good shot to get to the Sweet 16, where they’d almost have a homecourt advantage over potential opponent Ohio State, who I’m telling you, is just the worst.
#3 New Mexico vs. #2 Ohio State
All season, we heard that the Big Ten was far and away the best conference in College Basketball, and it’s difficult to argue with that as Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan are all seeded 4 or higher. HOWEVA, a Sweet 16 matchup between New Mexico and Ohio State would give the Mountain West a shot at validation after being ignored for most of the regular season despite getting five teams into the Tournament. Scoring would be hard to come by, but this game would be an absolute war.
Most Outstanding Player
Olynyk is the star of a Gonzaga team that went wire-to-wire in the West Coast Conference and finished 31-2 on the season, with the losses coming at Butler and home to Illinois. Olynyk’s long hair makes him look like a goof troop, but he’s one of the top frontcourt players in the country along with teammate Elias Harris. It’s time the rest of the world learns about him.
Last Team Standing
For a while now, many have believed that Gonzaga was a good-but-not-great team that feasted on the poor competition in the West Coast Conference. I think that’s wrong. As we said, the ‘Zags have maybe the best frontcourt in the nation in Olynyk and Harris. It’s the backcourt however, that brings these guys to the next level. Kevin Pangos is lights out from downtown, hitting 42% from deep on the season. Gary Bell Jr. is not to shabby himself at 39%. Were Gonzaga placed in a region like Louisville’s, I’d have a tougher time moving them on. But out here in the West? They might walk to Atlanta.
By: Jeezy Sanchez
The East region, or as it’s commonly called, the East, features some heavy hitters. Indiana is the 1-seed, and until they lost in the B1G tournament, were the odds on favorite to win the national title. Miami comes in as the 2-seed, despite being the first ever ACC team to win both the regular season and conference tournament championships and not be named a 1-seed. Boo hoo. The ACC was crap this year after Duke and Miami. It’s not as big an accomplishment as people are making it out to be. Marquette and Syracuse are the 3 and 4 seeds, respectively, and could make a long run in the tournament as much as they could get bounced in the first round. Butler is back (ugh) and the rest of the field is kind of blah. I think the East could look the chalkiest, so that means a 15 seed is going to the Final Four because I’m a moron.
Games to Watch
#8 NC State vs. #9 Temple
I’ve been staring at this game since the bracket was released and I still don’t know who I will end up picking. NC State was a preseason Top 15 team, but plays no defense. Temple relies on “Don’t Call Me Wiz” Khalif Wyatt who can shoot you in and out of games. Each team has good wins, but my tiebreaker is always experience, and the Wolfpack’s Sweet 16 appearance last year gives them the slight edge. Temple lost to South Florida in the opening round last year and screwed up my bracket so screw them. Like they always say, “don’t turn your back on the Wolfpack, you might wind up in a body bag.”
#5 UNLV vs. #12 California
Here’s a 5/12 game that is a rematch from the regular season because the Committee is lazy and stupid. In the first meeting, Cal lost to UNLV by one, and that was at Cal. The Runnin Rebels feature one of the most polished freshmen in the country in 6’8” forward Anthony Bennett. I’m high on the Rebs, and terrified of them if they meet Syracuse in the next round.
#6 Butler vs. #11 Bucknell
The footage from Butler-Bucknell will used to teach basketball fundamentals for the next 30 years. Mike Muscala does Mikan layup drills in his sleep.
#14 Davidson over #3 Marquette
No, Steph Curry isn’t stepping on the court for the Wildcats this time around. However, Davidson can shoot the rock, Marquette can’t. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan can score, but they aren’t consistent enough to rely on them in a tournament format. The key for Davidson will be stopping 6th man Davante Gardner and his big ol’ belly inside the paint. Buzz Williams’ team might be the most overrated squad in the entire tournament. Buzz won’t be doing too much dancing after this game.
This pod is going to result in a lot of red X’s on people’s brackets. If Davidson makes me look like a genius, they have a much easier matchup in the Round of 32 against either Butler or Bucknell. The Bison could very well kill any chance of hearing “The Butler Did It!” this year (sorry, Jim Nantz). After that, all bets are off. I’m confident in saying that there’s going to be a super white team getting to the second weekend. It’s weird to say, but of all four teams in this pod, I think Marquette has the worst chance to advance. *Cut to Marquette winning National Championship*
There’s a lot of future investment bankers right there.
#1 Indiana vs. #4 Syracuse
#1 Indiana vs. #2 Miami (FL)
A rematch of the 1987 National Championship game may not make Jim Boeheim forget Keith Smart’s game-winning jumper, but it definitely would motivate him to pick his nose and wipe it on Tom Crean. It would be interesting to see how Indiana would attack Syracuse’s zone outside the usual bomb it from three and go high post to low block. Oh, I just solved it didn’t I? The Orange has the talent to match the Hoosiers, but do they have too much DERP in their systems to win? Probably.
Indiana against Miami feels more like a title game more than an Elite 8 matchup. Jim Larranaga’s squad is old, but lacks the tournament experience that helps teams get to the Final Four. Larranaga is no stranger to big games as he coached George Mason to the Final Four and seems like the nicest human being on the planet. The Hurricanes beef inside can neutralize Cody Zeller and his huge schnoz.
Most Outstanding Player
Did you know Shane Larkin’s dad is Barry Larkin? It’s true. There are a thousand sportswriters typing up that story right now. Miami will go as far as Larkin can take them. He’s their leading scorer and assists man. Who cares about that, let’s get back to the baseball thing because this story is fantastic. When Shane visited Spring Training with his dad as a youngster, he would get batting tips from other pros like Pete Rose. Shane adopted the swing and mannerisms of these guys until a fateful youth baseball practice. His coach noticed Shane’s unusual swing and tried to fix it. As Larkin put it:
“I was doing some things he didn’t think a seven-year-old kid should be doing, so when I went up to hit, he was like, ‘Whoever taught you to hit didn’t know what was he was talking about,'” Shane Larkin recalled with a chuckle. “That pretty much killed my love for baseball. I never played in an organized baseball game after that.” (via The Dagger)
LOL what?! I hope a fan doesn’t tell him he shoots funny or he’ll probably walk right off the court during the game. I’m not even picking Miami to win the East, I just wanted to make sure you were all aware of this fascinating story.
Last Team Standing
Indiana has been the wire to wire favorite to win the title this season. That was, until they lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament. Still, that shouldn’t change the fact that this team brought the core of last year’s Sweet 16 squad that was steamrolled by Kentucky in the tournament. They can shoot, bang inside (gross), and play different styles of basketball. Plus they have Victor Oladipo aka Dwyane Wade aka Michael Jordan aka Purple Jesus (OK, not the last one), and that will tip the scales in Indiana’s favor. The Hoosiers will cut the nets down even if they lose because they are super lame like that.
All Indiana did this season was win the regular season crown for the toughest conference in College Basketball, go undefeated against top 10 competition, and just have a coach that’s kind of a weirdo. Despite College Basketball writers telling us not to put much emphasis on Conference Tournaments who are they all picking? Louisiville. No thanks. I’m taking the Hoosiers, who for a full season appeared to be the most talented, dominant team we were going to find this year.
I’m not making any groundbreaking statement by saying Indiana is good enough to win the whole thing. The Big Ten was far and away the best conference this season, with the Hoosiers being at the head of the class. I hate Tom Crean and his stupid haircut, but damn it do I respect him. Even though I think this tournament could be turned upside based on how the regular season went, in the end, ultimately the best teams will stand alone. Indiana over Duke is my title game, and a little piece of me died when I wrote that in my bracket. I hate myself. Go Florida Gulf Coast Hotties!