Carges College Primer: Hoops Edition

March 13, 2018 - 2:06 pm

Pete Carges
@Carges 550

We may not have autumnal spirits and we may not have Verne Lundquist, but fear not, the Carges College Primer is back for a special “Hoops Edition” to tickle your gambling fancy.

Despite the selection show being an absolute travesty, I can guarantee that this year’s tournament is going to be as exciting and as unpredictable as any of the years past, especially after the roller coaster college basketball season that just took place. While I don’t have the data analysis, statistics and fancy numbers to provide you with, I do have hours of work put in on the couch over the past few months, switching from game to game, sizing up the talent of NCAA basketball to prepare for this tournament. 

So before you fill out a bracket and pick your favorite mascots and fight songs, give the primer a once over, and heed my advice. I can’t guarantee a perfect bracket, but I can guarantee a few one liners to feed you to sound smart at the water cooler. And assuming there’s no FBI investigation to rescind it, you should be on the path to a workplace title. 


South Bracket

Despite gaining an unarguable number one overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers may have some legitimate gripes with the selection committee on this one. They should skate through the first weekend, but come Sweet 16 time, their slow it down, drag it out style will be tested by the likes of Kentucky or Arizona. (Sorry U.B. fans, the Bulls will likely be steamrolled by an underseeded Arizona squad.)

Keep your eye on A-10 champions Davidson and 11th-seeded Loyola. Both of those double-digit seeds can play some serious defense. I also don’t think Cincinnati is getting enough love. The Bearcats have only lost twice since the first week of December.

After the dust settles, the top-seeded Cavaliers will go down in the Sweet 16 to Arizona in this one, as the Wildcats give a big ol' middle finger to the NCAA with a berth in the Final Four. 

Thanks for coming out:
UMBC, UB, Georgia State, Wright State

Called this upset in my other bracket:
Loyola, Davidson

Definitely won’t make it past first weekend:
Kansas State, Nevada, Texas 

They could make a little noise:
Creighton, Miami, Tennessee, Kentucky

San Antonio or Bust:
Cincinnati, Arizona, Virginia 

Best first round Game: (12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky

Most Fun Potential matchup: (4) Arizona vs. (5) Kentucky - Sweet 16

All-South Bracket Team:

  • Deandre Ayton (Arizona)
  • Kyle Guy (Virginia)
  • Peyton Aldridge (Davidson)
  • Alonzo Trier (Arizona)
  • Gary Clark (Cincinnati)


East Bracket:

Villanova is the Vegas favorite to win the title, and for good reason. The 2016 NCAA Champions were ousted in the second round last year, but come into this tournament with the likely National Player of the Year in Jalen Brunson, and a supporting cast that can hurt you from the inside and from long range.

Their toughest test will be in the Sweet 16 when they battle “Press” Virginia, who will do whatever they can to force the Wildcats out of their game. Outside of those two and possibly Purdue with their two seven-footers, I can’t see anyone else coming out of this bracket.

Texas Tech had a nice season, but did not end their campaign on a high note. While Wichita State has been uncharacteristically bad on defense this year, which could present a problem against high scoring Marshall in the first round. Villanova gets to their second Final Four in three years, as they meet little resistance outside of the Mountaineers. 

Thanks for coming out:
LIU, Radford, CSU Fullerton, Murray State

Called this upset in my other bracket:
Marshall, Stephen F Austin

Definitely won’t make it past the first weekend:
Arkansas, SBU/UCLA, Virginia Tech, Alabama

They could make a little noise:
Butler, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Florida, Wichita State

San Antonio or Bust:
Villanova, Purdue 

Best first round Game: (13) Marshall vs. (4) Wichita State

Most Fun Potential matchup: (4) West Virginia vs. (1) Villanova - Sweet 16

All-East Bracket Team:

  • Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
  • Jevon Carter (West Virginia)
  • Keenan Evans (Texas Tech)
  • Landry Shamet (Wichita St.)
  • Issac Haas (Purdue)


West Bracket:

Get ready, because the Michigan Wolverines are going to be everybody’s trendy pick to come out of this side of the bracket. The Wolverines are a solid team, but in a down year in the B1G 10, they really never looked like a top team until the tournament.

Xavier is the number one seed, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who likes them to head to San Antonio. They have senior leadership in Trevon Blueitt and J.P. Macura, but it’s hard to trust them in big games as they were blown out twice by Villanova this season.

Last year’s two championship game participants, North Carolina and Gonzaga, certainly have the potential to make another run, and don’t sleep on Houston, who played Cincinnati tough in the AAC championship game.

The nod for me in this bracket goes to North Carolina, as the Tar Heels will blitz you on offense, and have the ability to outscore every team in the tournament. Having last year’s Final Four MOP in Joel Berry doesn’t hurt either. 

Thanks for coming out:
NCC/TSU, Lipscomb, Montana, San Diego State, UNC Greensboro

Called this upset in my other bracket:
South Dakota State

Definitely won’t make it past the first weekend:
Florida State, Missouri, Ohio State

They could make a little noise:
Texas A&M, Providence, Houston

San Antonio or Bust:
Michigan, Gonzaga, UNC, Xavier

Best first round Game: (4) Ohio State vs. (13) South Dakota State

Most Fun Potential matchup: (3) Michigan vs. (1) Xavier - Elite 8

All South Bracket Team:

  • Trevon Blueitt (Xavier)
  • Joel Berry (North Carolina)
  • Kyron Cartwright (Providence)
  • Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  • Moritz Wagner (Michigan)


Midwest Bracket:

The bracket of death, if you will, with three teams that could all have arguments for a number one seed.

Let’s be honest, the champion of this quadrant will be Duke, Kansas, or Michigan State. Fortunately for Kansas, one of those juggernauts will be knocked out in the Sweet 16 when the Blue Devils match up with the Spartans, and I think this favors the Jayhawks as they will clip the winner in the Elite 8. If Kansas can stay healthy, they have one of the most experienced and dangerous lineups in the country, with senior guard Davonte Graham running the show.

Elite 8’s have been pesky for Bill Self, as he tends to meet his demise on the doorstep of the final four, but I think with this team and a healthy Udoka Azuibuke, he finally breaks through.

Thanks for coming out:
Penn, Bucknell, Iona

Called this upset in my other bracket:
New Mexico State, Charleston, ASU/Syracuse, 

Definitely won’t make it past the first weekend:
Auburn, Oklahoma, TCU

They could make a little noise:
Rhode Island, Seton Hall, NC State, Clemson

San Antonio or Bust:
Kansas, Duke, Michigan State

Best first round Game: (7) Rhode Island vs. (10) Oklahoma

Most Fun Potential matchup: (2) Duke vs. (3) Michigan State - Sweet 16

All Midwest Bracket Team:

  • Marvin Bagley (Duke)
  • Jaren Jackson (Michigan St.)
  • Grayson Allen (Duke)
  • Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas)
  • Devonte Graham (Kansas)


Final Four:
South: (4) Arizona vs. West: (2) North Carolina
East: (1) Villanova vs. Midwest: (1) Kansas

Championship Game: Arizona vs Kansas
Winner: Kansas

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