Southwest Region Preview: Obama took Kansas, so should you too?

It's become an annual tradition since his inauguration: Andy Katz and ESPN production crew march to the nation's capital to film and interview President Obama as he smugly enters his picks as though all is well in our country. I'm not totally against it, I just think the leader of the free world should focus his time elsewhere, and it invites criticism from Republicans.

Anywho, this year, the Commander in Chief has Kansas winning it all. He did last season too and that didn't go so well, but did correctly select North Carolina in 2009, so we've yet to see a real correlation between Obama's national champion and who actually prevails. Regardless of what he thinks, KU has their work cut out for them, as they'll likely have to pass through two Big East powerhouses - Louisville, then Notre Dame or possibly Georgetown -  to get to Houston.

Bottom line, it's Bill Self's bracket to once again screw up, learn more after the jump...

Guy we will be "Searching For" five years from now

  • Nick: Everyone on the Fighting Illini. Coming into the season I felt as though this team was teeming with talent. They had experienced and what we thought were savvy upperclassmen, explosive sophomores and a pair of precocious freshman. Now, what are they? A team that didn't even come close to fulfilling expectations. The names are there, but maybe not the pros.
  • Dave: Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis. Not many guys can average 15 a game in the toughest conference in America and still go largely unnoticed by the next level. And yet, Abro can't even crack the top 75 on Draft Express' senior rankings.What gives? Thankfully in five years it won't be very hard to track him down since he'll be running a Fortune 500 company.
  • Dan: Louisville's Preston Knowles. Knowles is a shooter in the Chris Lofton or AJ Abrams mold. He's the kind of player you need to guard when he steps in the gym, the guy opponents don't want to have the ball at the end of a "white knuckler." But, when the buzzer sounds on his collegiate athletic career, Preston's name certainly won't be called by David Stern, or even the assistant commissioner for that matter. Buenas Suerte, Senor Knowles  

Best possible story line

  • Nick: Following a salacious extortion trial, Rick Pitino either played the media or really didn't think his kids had the talent to compete in the Big East. At the conference's media day, he was telling everyone within an ear shot that they would be playing a much more uptempo style of play to get as many shots as possible and force opponents into making quick decisions. Well, actually it worked, and it would be nice to see them March to at least a regional final.
  • Dave: Vanderbilt being on the verge of its third opening round loss in four years. The crazy thing about the Commodores is that they keep on unleashing possible Cinderellas (fell to No. 13 Siena in '08, and No. 13 Murray State last year) as they proceed to crush brackets across the country. I fully expect Richmond to complete the hat trick and shake up the region from the get-go.
  • Dan: Two key players, Chris Wright (Georgetown) and Chris Singleton (Florida St.) will likely make their long-awaited return in the tournament opener. Hoyas' point guard Wright broke his left hand in February and Georgetown stumbled down the stretch. Singleton suffered a broken foot in February, but was itching to get on the court in the ACC Tournament saying he felt ready to go. Keep an eye on how the Hoyas and Seminoles fare with the return of their star players.

Why Kansas won’t prevail

  • Nick: Because they almost never do! Kidding aside, if the Jayhawks do win the Southwest it will likely mean they downed a pair of Big East clubs. Aside from Ohio State, this is the most complete team in the tournament, but we said that last year and they couldn't even get past Northern Iowa. Much like the Buckeyes, you can't pinpoint a glaring deficiency, but foul trouble and a hot shooting team could doom Bill Self's club.
  • Dave: An emotional meltdown by one of the Morris twins might help. Or, if Purdue and Louisville show up big. These are the only two teams in the region that can beat Kansas on a neutral floor in my opinion. The Jayhawks drew the most desirable 8/9 opponent of any 1-seed too, so they have a pretty simple road to the Sweet 16. I'm not sure anyone can beat these guys...
  • Dan: The Jayhawks are loaded and 10-deep if Self chooses to go that far down his bench. With so many weapons the only thing that can bring this Kansas team down is a Jacob Pullen like 38-point effort. Guys in the Southwest Region that could do that? E'Twaun Moore. Austin Freeman. Ben Hansbrough. Khris Middleton.

So who we got?

  • Nick: Louisville over Georgetown
  • Dave: Kansas over Purdue
  • Dan: Notre Dame over Kansas

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