2011 NCAA Tournament: I love Cohesive Veteran Teams

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I just took the bar exam. On Day 2, which of course entails 200 multiple choice questions, you are faced with questions like this:

Joe walks into a 7-11 to cash a $500 check. The cashier refuses to cash the check because there is a misspelling on the check. Joe, who has $0 in his bank account and really needs this money, is distraught. He puts his hand in his pocket to mimic holding a gun and growls at the cashier: "Give me all the money in the register now." The cashier knows Joe is a neighborhood homeless man and doesn't believe Joe has a gun. Feeling sorry for him though, he gives him the money in the cash register.

What is the worst crime Joe can be charged with?

a) Robbery

b) Larceny

c) Assault

d) No Crime

I'm sure some discussion will come of this question (I vaguely remember the question being "No Crime", but...I'm not sure), but when I was going through my bracket picks, I felt similar thoughts as I did on the bar exam, namely confusion, indecision, anger, fear. The thought process during these bracket picks...

Hmm, a probably 2nd round matchup of BYU and St. Johns. I love Jimmer and he would absolutely crush a zone-defense like St. Johns. But the Cougars aren't the same without Brandon Davies and St. Johns has such good team chemistry. Do I feel comfortable picking against Jimmer? Can the Red Storm maybe run a box and 1 against Jimmer? Arghhhhh.

And that's just one damn game. So instead of droning on and on about possibilities, we'll discuss some experienced teams that are playing good enough ball to give you pause when you pick against them. Some traits I love:

  • Experienced guards
  • Cohesive teams, both offensively or defensive
  • Peaking teams, conference champs
  • No injured key players
  • No glaring weaknesses (I love Vandy, I love their talent, but wow, they miss a lot of free throws)


Oakland University: Loaded with veteran talent, topped off by big man Keith Benson, and riding an eight game win streak, this was a tough first round pull for Texas.

San Diego State: Everyone is comparing them to last year's Butler squad, but frankly they're probably more talented. Experienced (see a trend?) and athletic, they play together as a team, allowing them to overcome BYU this week in the MWC Championship.

Richmond: Did you see them dismantle a solid Dayton team? How confident were the Spiders, how much energy did they play with? Another team peaking at the right time and catching a reasonable first round matchup against Vandy.

Kansas: Duh, you say. While this is naturally an easy Final Four pick, I would advise that making it a Final One pick might not be a stretch. Athletic bigs, defensive-minded guards, solid coaching, four upperclassmen starters...

Belmont: I've been picking the Belmont over Wisky upset in all my brackets. Mine as well pick one and run with it, right? They shoot 40% from three, they've been blowing the doors off their competition of late, and they play team ball.

(Quick aside: How about that Southeast Region? Who the hell knows what's going to happen there? Pitt is great defensively, inconsistent offensively, not playing spectacularly. BYU is a one man show, but what a one man show it is. Florida is overseeded and lacks inside scoring. Wisconsin is not playing at the Kohl Center and scored 33 points against PSU; they're ripe for NCAA upset anyways. And Kansas State is overseeded by about two spots. Who's the favorite???)

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