Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine submitted his NCAA Tournament bracket to Boston.com, and provided the following analysis of his picks. You can check out his picks here. (It’s important to note that Scal’s a USC grad).
The Pac-10 is the greatest conference in all the land. And even though guards typically dominate the tournament, I think Stanford’s bigs are too much for Texas to handle. Stanford over Texas.
I’m not a big fan of the run-and-gun in general, but Memphis does it really well. Pitt’s had a great season, but I think the Big East tournament took a lot out of them. Memphis spreads the floor and runs them into the ground.
Once again, I had to go with a Pac-10 team making it to the Sweet 16 with Washington State. I can’t see them beating North Carolina, though — too much firepower.
You give Rick Pitino a week to prepare, he’s going to win, so I’ve got Louisville beating Oklahoma. I think they have enough to get past Tennessee, too, but not quite enough to beat UNC.
Kansas is a very good transition team. Vandy likes to bomb away. Those long rebounds off of deep shots works to the Jayhawks’ strengths more, so I see them getting to the Elite Eight.
I like Georgetown a lot, I really like how they run their offense. But they’ll be no match for the O.J. Mayo show. USC over Georgetown.
Drake’s had a great season. If they get out of the first round, which I think they will, the fun ends against UCLA (yes, another Pac-10 team). By the way, UCLA runs the same defense we do — ‘nuff said.
Meanwhile, Duke has picked up the Phoenix Suns offense, which means that even when they have an off-shooting night, they put up so many shots they can still beat you. That’s bad news for Xavier — a really tough team (James Posey’s a Xavier guy), but probably not on Duke’s level. UCLA’s defense shuts Duke down.
UCLA-Memphis: Another great clash of styles. In addition to being up-tempo, Memphis loves to hit the offensive glass hard. But UCLA has a great defensive rebounder in Kevin Love, who also happens to be the best outlet passer since Bill Walton. The presence of Love disrupts something Memphis thrives on. This is a low-scoring game, which benefits UCLA, who advances to the championship game.
USC-UNC: A rematch of last year’s Sweet Sixteen. USC has the hunger. They’ve got the Mayo. They go to the championship game.
NATIONAL CHAMPION — SOUTHERN CAL
It’s the first ever all Pac-10 championship game. They split their season series this year, adding even more intrigue. Remember when Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to the championship as a freshman? That’s what O.J. Mayo does for USC, playing his best basketball on the biggest stage and beating rival UCLA in a close, high-scoring game for the national championship.
(Did you really think I was going to take my alma mater all the way to the final game and have them lose to UCLA? Come on.)