Marchifornication would not be complete without a preview of every team in the field from the expert staff here at BHGP. I'm kicking it off with a hard-boiled look at the West Region. You're welcome!
[regional seeds in bold.--ed.]
Thems mah bitches.
#16 Mississippi Valley State - Probably shouldn't be in the field, but as long as they hand out tickets to conference tournament champs, teams that suck will be at the dance. Their mascot was the final cut from the touring production of Ladybugs on Ice. Also, they played the improbably named Bellhaven College this year.
#1 UCLA Bruins - They won 31 games on their way to their 3rd straight Pac 10 title. Their average margin of victory was 15 points. They won every title between 1950 and 1970. Kevin Love's uncle was in the Beach Boys. Those are all common known facts about UCLA. Here's what you need to know:
- The Bruins were in the top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency
- John Stamos was not an original member of the Beach Boys
- Mississippi Valley State sucks
- Ben Howland is 9-2 at UCLA in the NCAA Tournament
UCLA looks like a Final Four team to me.
#8 BYU - Not just an overrated football school anymore. The Cougars won 15 of 17 down the stretch. For the first time in school history there's no one named Young on the team. Really, really, white; but still good enough to win a game.
#9 Texas A&M - This is a wildly talented and ridiculously undisciplined team. They're like a box of chocolates, they look delicious but once you dig in they're horrible (fuck off, Gump). No shot at beating UCLA.
Big Red, in happier times.
#12 Western Kentucky - Their mascot is a sex addict.
#5 Drake - The most unselfish team I've ever seen and a lot more talented than they're given credit for. If you play a zone, they'll bomb you to death. If you man up, they spread the floor and drive to the hole at will. No bigs but they rebound through hustle and positioning. The Bulldogs will make themselves known in this tournament, and it starts with Western Kentucky and their sexually prolific mascot, Big Red.
Pine Marten: Better than a Torero!
#13 San Diego - They scored 65.65 pts a game and gave up 63.38 pts a game. This isn't good. They defeated conference regular season champ Gonzaga (for the first time in 6 years) in the tournament final to earn their way into the field. Congratulations, Toreros!
Now we'll feed you to the Huskies.
#4 Connecticut - This is a talented but inconsistent squad. They play some serious defense, finishing 1st in blocks and 2nd in 2-pt FG D. Will coast in 1st round but do not have the game to beat Drake [you high?--ed.] [nope.--JHC.].
Keady wants your soul.
#6 Purdue - The Big Ten is down but not out. The Boilermakers went 15-3 in conference play and their vicious man-to-man defense will pose a real threat to anyone who opposes them. The officials will have a say in how far Purdue goes in this tournament - if they let 'em play Big Ten Tournament style, they could find themselves in the Final Four, if they call it tight, they could be home for Easter.
Side Note: My friend Mike wakes up in a cold sweat with night terrors because he's still afraid of Gene Keady.
#11 Baylor - Five years ago, they had a player murder a teammate. Their coach at the time, Dave Bliss, made the unthinkable... more unthinkable by trying to paint the murdered kid as a drug dealer, in an attempt to cover up the program's rampant cheating. It's impossible for me to not think about all of that when I see the Bears. So, congrats for not murdering each other and cheating, Baylor; I guess. The revival of a program is a nice story, but their tournament ends in the opening round.
#3 Xavier - This is a good program. I look at them year after year and wonder why Iowa can't do what they do? Why can't we have what they have? No superstars here, but rather 6 guys that score in double figures. And their mascot is a fucking Musketeer! I like how they move around the floor, with equal parts grace and athleticism. They just have a swagger you don't see often. Even their colors are cool! I have no problem admitting that I have a crush on Xavier. I mean, I don't want to fuck them, but I wouldn't mind spending some alone time with them. We could go to the movies, I'd make them sandwiches, I really think we'd be good together. So, if I did want to fuck a team, it would be Xavier. Totally. Yes. I'd fuck Xavier. Big time. Hmmm. OK.
#14 Georgia - Storms, wrath of Mother Nature, blah blah blah - you know the story. They can't beat my Musketeers.
Win or lose, divans will burn.
#7 West Virginia - Bob Huggins: Medical Miracle. He's a fat, drunk, greasy, rageaholic, with a penchant for violence and a bad ticker - yet he lives! No matter where he coaches, the team takes on his qualities. You don't necessarily know what's going to happen, but it'll be explosive and erratic, kinda like Huggy's EKG. No one is happier to have Huggy in town than Forward Joe Alexander. He made minimal contributions last year under John Beilein, but this year, he's blossomed into a stud. He's averaged 30 a game in March and nothing about Arizona tells me it's going to stop. West Virginia is good and getting better. Watch for them to win easily in the first round and for god's sake, do not accept a ride home from Coach Huggins if they don't.
#10 Arizona - They lost 8 of their last 12. They finished with a 19-14 record overall, going 8-10 (to finish 7th) in the Pac 10. They were 49th nationally in defensive efficiency. What I'm saying is, they're not a good team - and they don't even have Lute. Anyone who says the field needs to be expanded, needs to take a long look at Arizona. Look fast, because they're out in the 1st round.
Duke Athletics: Not rapey, at all.
#2 Duke - THEY'RE THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD! THEY'RE UNBELIEVABLE! I'M A BIG DUMMY! I GOT ONE EYE!!! IT'S DIGIORNO!
This is not your Daddy's Duke. The D is not there and no one scares me in the paint. They're well coached, talented, and might just be one and done again this year.
IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME, BAYBEE!!!
#15 Belmont - The Bruins are no joke. They won the spirited Atlantic Sun for the third straight season and they shoot the 3 like a mother. Duke had better step up or they're going to get knocked the fuck out. Either way, the winner of this game is home for Easter because West Virginia's just too good.
That's all for the West. We'll be posting the other 3 regions over the next 24 hours.