Chat with Pat Forde
Send your questions now and join Forde in The Show Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
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Pat Forde (2:03 PM)
Greetings, bracketheads. Now that we finally know the pairings, let the know-it-all predictions commence! (Note: This will be a shorter than usual chat, because I'm trying to get a massive amount of copy done for tomorrow. Bear with me.)
What's yer elite 8 looking like there mr. forde?
Pat Forde (2:05 PM)
Dan: First things first, let me say that anyone who is waiting for my picks to help them win the office pool is nuttier than John Chaney. I NEVER win whatever pool I'm in -- well, at least not since 1990, when UNLV got it done for me. But here's what I've got on just one quick pass through the bracket: MIDWEST, Louisville and Kansas; WEST: UConn and Memphis; EAST: Pitt and Duke; SOUTH: Carolina and Syracuse. I reserve the right to change my mind.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Forde: This is not an original idea from me but one that I think has merit. How would you feel about the field expanding to 68 teams with the last eight in playing each other, winners getting the #12 seed in each bracket? Wouldn't four games on Tuesday between these teams draw more attention than the 65 v 64 matchup?
Pat Forde (2:07 PM)
JB: My personal favorite bracket tweak is back to 64 and remove the Tuesday games altogether. But your idea has more merit than most expansion theories. The problem I see is that it's hard on all the 12 seeds, who would have to play twice in two days, and hard on all the 5 seeds who don't get a full 4-5 days of prep time because they don't know who they're going to play.
Greg (Champaign, IL)
How far can the Illini get without Chester Frazier?
Pat Forde (2:08 PM)
Greg: Not too far, I don't think. I'm taking Western Kentucky in that first-round game -- though not with absolute conviction. But losing Frazier is a significant blow to Illinois' defense and overall attitude.
Danny (St. Louis)
Normally I'd watch the NIT instead of the play-in game, but tonight Chief Kickingstallionsims is suiting up for Alabama State. How can I pass up the chance to see a name like that?
Pat Forde (2:09 PM)
Danny: You can't pass it up. I can't pass it up. This is must-see TV. Everyone wants to eyeball The Chief.
what do u think of the collision course of mizzou and memphis in the sweet 16 jt tiller vs tyreke evans if it happens can be a great matchup
Pat Forde (2:11 PM)
Justin: That would definitely be a great matchup. And I think we'll see it. I give Memphis the advantage with five days to prep and already knowing how Mike Anderson coaches from his UAB days -- but Evans will be facing a chaos unlike anything he's ever tried to dribble through before.
Kenny T (Danbury, CT)
Pat, Love your column...quick question...who do you think is better Darren Collison or Stephen Curry? Who will get drafted higher?
Pat Forde (2:12 PM)
Kenny: Steph Curry to both. Case closed.
Pat...who do you think poses the biggest threats to the #1 seeds before Detroit?
Pat Forde (2:14 PM)
Walter: If I were Louisville I'd be worried about Kansas and Michigan State -- and about playing Ohio State in Dayton in Round 2. Nice wink-wink location for Ohio State AD Gene Smith, who happens to be a member of the selection committee. For UConn, I'm worried about Memphis and possibly Purdue. For Pitt, I'd say Duke and Villanova -- and maybe Florida State if the Seminoles get past their root-canal opener against Wisconsin and then beat Xavier. And for Carolina: the biggest threat is the Heels themselves. If they play defense, they'll roll through what to me is easily the easiest region.
John (Greenville, SC)
How far do you think Gonzaga can go?
Pat Forde (2:16 PM)
John: Gonzaga is fascinating to me. I really think the Zags have NBA talent all over the place -- but I also remember how they looked being run off the court in Spokane against Memphis. I saw a soft team that wasn't ready to compete and guard at an elite level. Then the Zags tore through their league -- so did they get better after that loss, or was the competition just lousy? I've got Gonzaga as one of nine teams that can win it all ... but I'm hesitant to pick them past Carolina.
Are you on board with the VCU over UCLA upset? I think people are underrating an experienced and well coached UCLA team.
Pat Forde (2:17 PM)
Justin: UCLA does have those things going for it. But this Bruins team has not dazzled me at all, and being shipped to Philly to play a really tough opponent leaves them vulnerable. I'm taking VCU.
Favorite first round matchup?
Pat Forde (2:20 PM)
Corn: I like Ohio State-Siena, Oklahoma State-Tennessee and LSU-Butler; Clemson-Michigan; UCLA-VCU; Utah-Arizona; and Texas-Minnesota. Of that group, I'd say Ohio State-Siena and OK State-Tennessee could be the most entertaining. As for upsets, as stated earlier I like VCU and Western Kentucky, USC, Maryland and maybe Mississippi State. (I don't consider 9s over 8s an upset.)
Matt (Green Bay, WI)
Given the seeding, the Big East conference teams are expected to win 19 games (i.e., Louisville as a #1 should win (at a minimum) 4 games, UConn as a #1 should win 4, etc.), and the Big Ten teams are expected to win 6. Which is more likely--the under for the Big East or the over for the Big Ten?
Pat Forde (2:22 PM)
Matt: Good question. In general I like the Big East teams to have a huge tournament and live up to their seeding. I expect one or two Big Ten teams to play above expectation (Purdue, and possibly Michigan). So I guess I'd say take the over for the Big Ten.
Elias (Morgantown, WV)
Any chance the Mountaineers can go on a run and have another elite 8 battle with Louisville?
Pat Forde (2:24 PM)
Elias: I was tempted to pick WVU to pull at least one upset, maybe two, because I believe that's a dangerous team. But when I saw them in with Kansas, I changed my mind. I just think Kansas is better.
Michael (Evansville, IN)
When given a week to prepare for a 3rd round opponent, Rick Pitino is 8-0 in regional semi-finals. Yet, a staggering number of people (Seth Davis comes to mind) are picking Wake over the Cards...my personal belief is that, given a week, Pitino will tear a bunch of NCAA rookies (Wake is led by Frosh/Sophomores) to shreds. Your thoughts on why quite a few people are picking Wake?
Pat Forde (2:25 PM)
Michael: I'm with you for every reason you enumerated. Pitino is stellar in Round of 16 games and Wake is very inexperienced. I seem to remember some people picking Oklahoma over Louisville last year ... and Louisville won by 30. Wake is trendy because of the talent and ACC connections, but I don't see it.
Splenda (Bloomington, IN)
Any chance for the 5-12 upset of Wisconsin over Florida State? Why hasn't Bo Ryan been able to get Wisconsin to play better than the sum of its parts?
Pat Forde (2:28 PM)
Splenda: I wrote the stat last year that Bo Ryan has never beaten a team seeded in the top half of the tournament -- i.e., 8th or better. Let that be your guide. His tournament record is a house of cards.
Pat who do you think is the deepest team in the nation?
Pat Forde (2:29 PM)
Perry: Good question, very hard to answer without forgetting someone. Louisville, Michigan State and Missouri come immediately to mind.
Greg (Champaign, IL)
What is your biggest upset?
Pat Forde (2:31 PM)
Greg: I think the biggest one I'd dare to pick is a 13 over a 4 (possibly Miss State over Washington, or Portland State over Xavier). I know this will sound crazy -- and I'm not going to pick the upset -- but I believe Radford will give Carolina a game into the second half. And I give Morgan State a chance to do the same with Oklahoma in that same region.
Devin, Kansas City
Who would prefer to lead your team -- J.T. Tiller or a high-scoring shooter?
Pat Forde (2:32 PM)
Devin: I love JT Tiller, but let's be realistic here. Even Mike Anderson would trade Tiller for Steph Curry.
Palmer: (Ridgefield, CT)
Pat, it seems like everyone is now picking Memphis to represent the West Region in the final four. What about the Huskies? I know they lost Dyson but aren't people forgetting how good Thabeet, Price and Adrien are? Wheres the love?
Pat Forde (2:32 PM)
Palmer: UConn losing its last two games has had some people cool on the Huskies. They're still really good, but I think Memphis can win that game.
Is UNC really beatable? How can they be stopped if no one calls fouls on TH?
Pat Forde (2:33 PM)
Bill: Ask Florida State, Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland. They all beat Carolina. If the Heels don't guard, they can be beaten.
TELL ME WHY Michigan State WONT GO TO THE FINAL FOUR
Pat Forde (2:34 PM)
Zacary: Becuase the Spartans are IN THE TOUGHEST REGION.
Pat Forde (2:35 PM)
OK folks, I'm back to the grind. There is literally 5,000 words to write between now and sun-up tomorrow. Look for my team-by-team rundown of the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the entire field tomorrow. And enjoy the games Thursday and Friday -- best days of the year! Good luck with your brackets.