Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Toughest/Easiest Roads to the Final Four


When looking at a bracket right after the pairings are announced, people will always say "Oh, so and so has a cakewalk to the Final Four." It obviously helps to have a fairly easy road to the national semi-finals. This ranking only took the top four teams in each region into consideration. Here are the teams in each region with the easiest and the hardest roads to the promised land.

Chicago Region
Easiest Path: Illinois. Nevada or Texas in the second round should not be too difficult a match-up because of the Illini's guards. Alabama/BC/UW-Milwaukee in the Sweet 16 is an easier game than anyone else in the bracket.
Hardest Path: Oklahoma State. Southern Illinois or St. Mary's in the second round is going to be a very tough game, while Arizona or LSU awaits them in the Sweet 16 if they can survive the first two rounds.

Albuquerque Region:
Easiest Path: Wake Forest. Creighton and West Virginia are both three-point shooting groups that can just as easily be cold as they could be hot. Gonzaga should be a very tough match-up in the Sweet 16, but the guards of the Deacons are better than the Bulldogs.
Hardest Path: Louisville. The Cardinals got shafted with a #4 seed, but can make up for it. After UL-Lafayette, Georgia Tech, possibly the hottest team in the country, awaits them. Then Washington/Pitt/Pacific are all going to be a tough match-up.

Syracuse Region:
Easiest Path: Connecticut. After being very lucky to get a #2 seed, the Huskies somehow got the best draw in the region. An inconsistent NC State team or a struggling Charlotte squad await them in the second round. After that, an overrated Kansas or a Wisconsin with no guards will be the opponent in the Sweet 16.
Hardest Path: Kansas. First of all, Bucknell is no walk-over in the first round. Then Wisconsin and its slow down game are going to be difficult for the Jayhawks. Then the ridiculous frontcourt of UConn will be waiting to feast on Christian Moody and Sasha Kaun.

Austin Region:
Easiest Path: Oklahoma. After an easy first round game, the Sooners are going to have to deal with either UTEP or Utah, neither being a good team. Then an extremely overrated Kentucky team or possibly Cincinnati/Iowa will await them in the Sweet 16. I honestly don't see a remotely difficult game.
Hardest Path: Kentucky. Although Eastern Kentucky should be a win, Cincinnati or Iowa in the second round is going to be prime time upset material. The Wildcats simply can not score. If they survive those two, Oklahoma and their balanced offense are ready to pick apart Kentucky.

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