Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sports - 2014 NCAA Tournament

March Madness is here!  It's time once again to predict a bunch of basketball games, get most of them wrong, and then rub it in your friend's face when they do worse than you.  The field is wide open this year, per usual, and any team could win the championship.  Here are my picks for the Final Four, my reasons for choosing each team, and my prediction for the winner of the dance.

South - Florida Gators - Not only is Florida the #1 overall seed, but they're one of the hottest teams going into the Tourney.  Winners of the SEC Championship, the Gators haven't lost since December 2nd.  Billy Donovan has a great squad, they have pro ability, and they have the confidence to win the whole thing.  Their road to the Final Four shouldn't be that tough (OSU, Syracuse, Kansas); great programs that aren't currently scary.  Look for Florida to go very, very deep.

East - Michigan State Spartans - MSU might be the team with the best chance at a championship, given their play in the Big Ten Tournament.  They're only a #4 seed, but that ranking is based on a recent injury & losing streak.  Coach Tom Izzo seems to have his boys back together again and pointed straight at the title.  With beatable higher seeds (Virginia, Iowa State, Villanova) the Spartans have a chance to go on a long run, despite their low ranking, just as Barack Obama.

West - Arizona Wildcats - Earlier in the year Arizona was a popular champion pick.  Since then they've cooled off a little, but still earned a #1 seed.  Their loss to UCLA in the PAC-12 Tournament doesn't bode well for their Tourney run, but their region is fairly easy (Creighton, Wisconsin, Baylor).  The Wildcats might be able to win the West without breaking a sweat, but the competition will stiffen in a hurry once they reach Arlington and the Final Four.

Midwest - Louisville Cardinals - A ton of folks are calling foul after Louisville gets a #4 seed, pretty low for a team that only lost five games and won the American Tournament.  Any team that plays them should be very afraid (Wichita State, Duke, Michigan) because the Cardinals will now be competing with a chip on their shoulders.  A good team to start with, this squad may now be playing angry and that passion should drive them all the way.

And to win it all I have to go with Florida.  I know it's not a risky pick, choosing the #1 overall seed, but I feel like they have what it takes to run the table.  Michigan State is the trendy pick right now and I'd call them my #2, but they'll have to face the Gators and I think that would be too tough to handle.  I like Louisville to beat Arizona and reach the Championship; no one has more fire & desire to win than the Cardinals.  It should be a great Tournament.  Good luck everyone!

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