The NCAA Tournament is here. Is your bracket filled? Earlier this week I shared my take on the tournament’s First Four by determining which school I would peg as the favorite if we were to watch the two schools play in football, instead of basketball. One out of three made for a rough start, but now it is on to the first round of the tournament. Let’s take a look, region by region.
Louisville vs. Liberty
Note: I picked Liberty to beat North Carolina A&T in the First Four.
Louisville is my pick to win the NCAA Tournament, but they have a tough road to travel if they are to win it all using my football-team logic. The Cardinals will run in to some trouble later on, but in round one they should blitz by Liberty, fresh off a win over North Carolina A&T in the First Four. Teddy Bridgewater puts on a show before being pulled early to rest up for round two.
Colorado State vs. Missouri
Missouri’s first season in the SEC did not exactly go to plan, but they should be a considerable favorite in round one as they take on Colorado State. The Rams have really struggled in football and will not have much to keep Missouri from doing some damage. The Tigers put away Colorado State in round one and advance to take on Louisville. That match-up has some slight upset alert potential to keep an eye on.
Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
This is the one game on the bracket I would actually enjoy take place in football. If it could have happened with the 2011 Cowboys that would be even better for those who own stock in scoreboard repair companies. One thing we know for sure about this match-up is that there will be offense. Oh yes, there will be offense. For now Oregon gets the nod here, if only because they have a bit more of a track record to count on.
St. Louis vs. New Mexico State
New Mexico State, as poor as they are in football, gets a virtual bye here as St. Louis has not played football for a very long time. Of course, St. Louis plays a vital role in the history of the sport, but history does not count for much in this football method of picking games. New Mexico State advances and takes on Oregon. That won’t be pretty.
Memphis vs. Middle Tennessee
Note: I picked Middle Tennessee over St. Mary’s in the First Four.
In a battle of inferior college football programs, something has to give in this early round match-up between Memphis (awful) and Middle Tennessee (not as awful). Call this one a pillow fight if you will, but somebody has to come out on top. Right now, considering the state of each program, we will give the edge to Middle Tennessee in the unforgiving event we have to endure this particular match-up.
Michigan State vs. Valparaiso
How about this. The Pioneer Football League has three schools representing the underdog FCS conference in the tournament. But the Crusaders have the cards stacked against them as they are paired up with Michigan State, with the Spartans entering as a much more powerful foe. Michigan State would win this game rather easily on the football field, and thus gets the easy pick here to move on to the next round.
Creighton vs. Cincinnati
Creighton disbanded their football program in 1942 after every member of the football team was drafted in to action in World War II. That gives Cincinnati the obvious nod here since we are basing our picks solely on who would win on the football field. Creighton may be undefeated since 1942, but Cincinnati picks up the win be default.
Duke vs. Albany
Albany has won back-to-back shares of the Northeast Conference and figures to be a program that would typically give Duke a decent test on the football field. But last year Duke had one of their best seasons in a very long time, becoming eligible for a rare bowl game by Blue Devil standards. If they were to meet in football it would be possible Albany could sneak out with a win, but we’ll play the odds and go with Duke even in a regular own year in Durham. Duke moves on and takes on Cincinnati in round two for a Belk Bowl re-rematch.