Bracket Bustin’: South & West Regions

13 Mar

America loves any excuse to turn an event into an Event.  Particularly over the last several years, certain happenings from the worlds of sports, entertainment, or minor holidays have become cultural institutions that can serve as common talking points for anyone with a TV or access to the Internet.  You could go years without seeing a single football game, yet still obligated to attend your neighbor’s Super Bowl party and act interested for four hours.  The day after Thanksgiving is no longer just a casual day off – it’s Black Friday, a violent and fearful Event shared by millions across the country.  And the NCAA tournament is not just a collegiate sporting event.  It’s March Madness, a glorious Event in which normally mild-mannered and upstanding working folk fall all over themselves to throw wads of cash into unregulated gambling rings and shirk their professional responsibilities for two whole days.

Is this a bad thing?  No.  March Madness is American through and through, and because Dan Swanky’s loves America, we have no choice but to add our own noise to this Event.  (This is also a perfect opportunity for us to open up the new Sports Section of our fine establishment.)  Since you’re probably deep in the midst of bracket fatigue by now, we’ll eschew that tidy and constrictive type of breakdown and instead offer up some freeform thinking on each region of the tournament.  We may not be entirely objective and our feelings may color our judgment, but we’re not messing around.  So have a Schlitz and grab a pen.

South Bracket

Randall P. Floyd:

– Kentucky is the Tourney’s No. 1 overall this year, and I’d have to agree with that assessment.  Even though head coach John Calipari is the sports equivalent of a shifty used car salesman, this year he has pulled the reverse Ashley Schaeffer and has moved from pimping Kias to proudly featuring top-of-the-line BMWs on his lot.  Starting with the (arguably) Number One Player In The Country Anthony Davis, Kentucky is stacked with talent and should make it out of this region, at the very least.

– If Duke and Notre Dame both win their first games and meet in the Round of 32, we’ll be treated to the highest concentration of Pure Class the tournament has seen in a long time.  I mean, isn’t this what the Game is all about?  Just a bunch of bros taking off the polos and putting the textbooks down long enough to Play The Game The Right Way?  Count me in.

–  To be fair to Duke, (which is tough) they’ve got a great point guard in Austin Rivers, and with Coach K once again being gifted a fairly unremarkable bracket draw, they’ll probably make some noise in the tourney again this year.  Fundamentals, baby.

–  I like a Baylor-Duke matchup coming in the Sweet Sixteen, which will be an interesting game as Baylor has some exciting athleticism going up against Duke’s controlled and heady style.  The only negative going against Baylor right now is their unfortunate push to bring the Oregon-style jerseys to college basketball.  The neon green and camo unis should be quickly swept under the rug.

– Kentucky vs. Baylor in the Elite Eight because you’re only going to get a Swanky approval for Duke from my esteemed partner.

Donovan Kess: 

My favorite teams from the Coach K Region:

Kentucky.  Kentucky is a fortress of domination and a favored team to win the Tournament. They are highly consistent and the recent loss to Vanderbilt is a blessing in disguise as it will provide the boost needed to charge into the tournament energized.

Wichita State.  The experienced Shocker’s will defeat the underdog favorite VCU in Round 1, and then manage the winner of Indiana vs. New Mexico St. in Round 2. The attentiveness achieved from these two victories should set them up nicely to battle against Kentucky, which would be the greatest challenge of Wichita State’s 2012 season.

UNLV.  An early season victory against Carolina is the blueprint to follow for success. They need to find the intensity of that game and sustain it early in the tournament with the possible second and third round opponents of Baylor and Duke.

Duke.  For most Cameron Crazies, the disappointment of last week’s loss to Carolina has been replaced by the pleasure of no longer having to share a tent with 12 other people. Duke has had a great ride this season, and has seen a few of its players mature to tournament quality, including Austin Rivers and Ryan Kelly. The keys to success will be maintaining a high level of perimeter play, improving rebounding, and cutting down on the amount of turnovers. A possible second round match up against Notre Dame is about as far forward as the Blue Devil’s should be looking.


West Bracket


–  Michigan State seems to come in under the radar a lot for Tourney time, but by the time the Elite Eight comes around, there they are again for yet another year.  They don’t seem like a sexy pick this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make another long run.  They’re just kind of like that bland guy with a nice watch and a steady job who eventually ends up marrying the hottest woman in town.  You’re not sure how, you kind of expected it, and you can’t really be that mad about it.

–  Billikens is a delightful word to say.  I will wear it out while I can.

–  After a few seasons of Breaking Bad, it seems like New Mexico may be one of the most depressing places to live in America. I don’t know too much about the University of New Mexico team this year, but I think maybe they need this one.  So they’ve got my backing.

–  Speaking of depressing places in America, here comes BYU.  They don’t have my backing.

–  Billy Donovan continues to be the slicked-back ageless wonder of NCAA basketball.  I swear he’s been coaching Florida basketball for at least twenty years.

–  I really like Missouri this year and think they’ve got a shot to win it all.  Murray State might be a little bit of a dark horse in this region, but Missouri is athletic, deep, and confident – in addition to being fun to watch.  It looks like Marquette vs. Missouri and MSU vs. New Mexico in the Sweet Sixteen, with a solid Mizzou vs. MSU matchup deciding one of the Final Four.


Michigan State.  Tom Izzo knew his team would need tournament competition early on, so he scheduled the first games against Carolina and Duke. Although they lost both, this strategy set the bar high for a successful season and number 1 seed. The high seed should propel the Spartan’s safely to the Sweet Sixteen, where I predict they will face a strong Louisville team.

Louisville.  Fresh off a Big East championship win, Louisville is ready to do some damage and prove they can compete with the best. They have more than the required defensive skills but need to get hot behind the arc and faster with transitions if they are going to have any change against Michigan St.

Marquette.  Marquette will outplay Florida in Round 1 and then will be challenged by Murray State in Round 2, however the Golden Eagles’ high scoring Senior duo will push them to victory and a spot in this year’s Sweet Sixteen.

Missouri.  A highly competitive season netted victories versus Kansas and Baylor. With multiple players skilled at the 3-ball it is up to destiny to see how far the deep ball will take them. Faced with a difficult path to the final four, Missouri has to stay focused.

Stay tuned for the Midwest and East regional breakdowns from Swanky’s Sports.


One Response to “Bracket Bustin’: South & West Regions”


  1. Bracket Bustin’: East & Midwest « Dan Swanky's - March 14, 2012

    […] For our musings on the South & West regions in this year’s bracket, head here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: