Al Dannity’s ready to make his first surprise call of March Madness. He says the Southeast will be the region where anything can happen, especially when it comes to winning through to the Final Four.
Belmont can play early Cinderella The Belmont Bruins hold the #13 seed in the Southeast and it’s safe to say they present the greatest threat of any double-digit seed in the whole tournament. #4 Wisconsin will only be narrow favorites and with good cause. The Atlantic Sun champions won 30 games in the regular season, ranking #11 nationally in points per game, #16 in assists and #45 in accuracy. I like them to pull off not one but two big shocks early, winning through to the Sweet Sixteen.
Jimmer’s good for two wins BYU may have fallen short in the Mountain West Tournament final but the Cougars have the talent to make the Sweet Sixteen. Jimmer Fredette and pals should have the strength to overpower Wofford and the winner of St John’s vs Gonzaga. The Zags and Johnnies both needed massive late charges to make the Big Dance and I can’t see that momentum lasting.
Florida looks over-rated as #2 seed The Gators had a great run through the SEC but their two late losses to Kentucky coupled with some questionable out of conference defeats look bad on their resume. While their opening match-up with UC Santa Barbara should be easy enough, I like UCLA to upset the Gators in the third round. The Bruins might not even be favored against Michigan State but, like fellow Pac-10 teams Arizona and Washington, #7 seed UCLA has been severely under-rated by the selection committee and look primed for an upset.
Pitt will fall I like the Panthers to overcome the challenges in their way all the way through to the Elite Eight. College Basketball betting fans know that Pittsburgh are a bad match-up for potential Cinderellas like Butler and Old Dominion. Likewise Belmont might go deep but they lack the power to outlast the Panthers. That should clear the path to the Southeast decider in New Orleans.
With one win over BYU already to their name, I like UCLA to beat the Cougars in the Sweet Sixteen and advance to a big date with Pitt. The Panthers would be heavily favored against any potential Elite Eight opponent but especially against a #7 seed. I like the Bruins to force the upset however and make it to Houston. It’s a surprise call but bet on UCLA to make the Final Four.