For the past week voters have logged on and registered their picks for the first round of the tournament and the results are in.
Of the four first round match-ups, there were two blowouts and two that come down to the final day of voting.
- #8 Texas Longhorns defeats #9 Florida Gators: 77% – 23%
- #5. Kansas Jayhawks defeats #12. Ohio State Buckeyes: 93% – 7%
- #7. Kentucky Wildcats defeats #10. UCLA Bruins: 52% – 48%
- #6. Arizona Wildcats defeats #11. Syracuse Orange: 52% – 48%
So now, with those winners, here is how the bracket stands.
Now it is time to vote for the next round.
Voting will be open until Sunday.
#1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. #8. Texas Longhorns:
|Center||Tim Duncan||LaMarcus Aldridge|
|Power Forward||James Johnson||Damion James|
|Small Forward||Al Farouq-Aminu||Kevin Durant|
|Shooting Guard||Josh Howard||Daniel Gibson|
|Point Guard||Chris Paul||D.J. Augustin|
|6th Man||Jeff Teague||T.J. Ford|
This would be a very interesting match-up. Based on Wake Forest’s roster it doesn’t seem like they have the best team in the group, but with the best point guard in the league and one of the best power forwards in the league running things then the argument can be made. Texas of course lives and dies by Kevin Durant, but LaMarcus Aldridge is just as valuable facing off against Tim Duncan. Despite the NBA’s leading scorer, I see this game being a low-scoring affair with defense being the emphasis. I may be crazy, but seeing Chris Paul singlehandedly win two games in the playoffs against the Lakers last year leads me to believe he could do it against D.J. Augustin and T.J. Ford. Between that and Duncan’s defensive prowess I see Wake Forest walking away a winner.
#2. Connecticut Huskies vs. #7. Kentucky Wildcats
|Center||Emeka Okafor||DeMarcus Cousins|
|Power Forward||Rudy Gay||Chuck Hayes|
|Small Forward||Caron Butler||Tayshaun Prince|
|Shooting Guard||Ray Allen||Jodie Meeks|
|Point Guard||Kemba Walker||Rajon Rondo|
|6th Man||Richard Hamilton||John Wall|
Youth versus experience is the key here. UConn has three NBA Champions and the most recent NCAA Champ in Kemba Walker. Kentucky does have two guys, Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince, that have NBA Championship rings, but the rest of their roster consists of young guys who have hardly sniffed the playoffs. The Wildcats have the edge here with strength and speed in DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Rondo leading the charge, while the Huskies have natural scorers at almost every position. Kentucky’s ability to shut down Walker along with their ability to muscle it inside should be enough to allow them to move on to the semifinals.
#3. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. #6. Arizona Wildcats
|Center||Brendan Haywood||Channing Frye|
|Power Forward||Antawn Jamison||Jordan Hill|
|Small Forward||Vince Carter||Andre Iguodala|
|Shooting Guard||Ty Lawson||Jason Terry|
|Point Guard||Raymond Felton||Gilbert Arenas|
|6th Man||Ed Davis||Mike Bibby|
The Tar Heels and Wildcats are an even mix of veteran leadership and youth which leads to an interesting match-up. Up front the Tar Heels have a slight edge just because of Brendan Haywood’s size and Antawn Jamison’s offensive skill-set. Andre Iguodala is hands down the best player on the court and is capable of shouldering a heavy load especially against the older slower Vince Carter, but I don’t know if it’s enough. UNC has great young guys at point and shooting guard which should be able to run circles around Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas and Mike Bibby. In the end the Tar Heels pull out a sizable victory with their ability to score fairly easy against the porous Wildcats.
#4. Duke Blue Devils vs. #5. Kansas Jayhawks
|Center||Elton Brand||Nick Collison|
|Power Forward||Carlos Boozer||Drew Gooden|
|Small Forward||Luol Deng||Paul Pierce|
|Shooting Guard||J.J. Reddick||Kirk Hinrich|
|Point Guard||Kyrie Irving||Mario Chalmers|
|6th Man||Shane Battier||Darrell Arthur|
Kansas breezed through the opening round against Ohio St. but now faces a much tougher opponent in Duke. The Blue Devils are very strong up front with Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer and have great depth at small forward with Luol Deng and Shane Battier. All that talent makes up for the glaring weakness at the guard position which is a big liability. Unfortunately for Kansas, that isn’t their own strength so they won’t be able to exploit it. Battier is still one of the best wing defenders in the league and should cause problems for Paul Pierce. I think Duke walks away a winner here easily.