The top story line comes from the top seed: Can Pittsburgh break down the barrier that is the Sweet 16? This is one of the most successful programs of the past decade, yet they've never reached a regional final. There are demons the Panthers need to exercise, but nobody seems to be talking about. That's probably because they should see little resistance en route to Detroit.
Duke? Too white. Villanova? Good but not great. UCLA? We're sooo over you. The toughest game these Panthers will face should be in the second round against Oklahoma State or Tennessee. At least these teams flex their muscles and possess a small dose of street cred.
So the next most quasi-pertinent matter, how do the Blue Devils play for second? Well in short, jump on Gerald Henderson and never look back. The most explosive player to appease the Crazies since Jay Williams, Henderson is "that guy" who wants to do silly things to befuddled opponents. We've seen it in spurts, more frequently over the last five weeks of play. Coach K embodies his name more than any other sir patrolling the sidelines in college basketball, but sometimes we needs to just look away and let Henderson play Kobe Bryant.
Does Florida State take Xavier to head to the Hub? The Musketeers play D, and FSU is a one man band. What happens to Texas when AJ Abrams doesn't gear down? When the kid is on he's on but Rick Barnes doesn't ever tell him to cool it, or share. At the very least, Dogus Balbay should get increased minutes. Let him distribute, and find Abrams when the time calls for it. They are a far more complete team.
This is the only bracket we have the higher seed taking every first round game. We thought twice about VCU and Eric Maynor, but they got a raw deal with the Bruins. Let's face it, Darren Collison isn't like to let some mid-major punk outshine him when he's been to the last three Final Fours.
'Nova however, beaming from playing their first two games essentially at home, advance to the Sweet 16, shock Duke, get to the regional and all of a sudden we have a Big East final in the East Regional Final. Pitt doesn't care however, as they throttle the Wildcats from start to finish, getting clearance to the school's first Final Four since 1941. Following the win, Steel City jumps up and proclaims they're the best sports city in America. Too bad however, that all-important title still belongs to Beantown.