2012 NCAA Tournament: Breaking down the bracket

Davis could very well be the NBA’s No. 1 lottery pick.

Midwest Region

Best player you probably know:
Harrison Barnes, UNC. The 6-foot-8 swingman is one of three projected lottery picks for the No. 1 Tar Heels. Barnes is the most NBA ready after leading UNC in points (17.4) and 3-point percentage (.377).

Best player you don’t know:
Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s. He’s the heart, soul and mind for the upstart Gaels. The Aussie import led the Gaels in points (15.6), assists (6) and carries a 3.61 GPA.

Second round matchup we want:
Temple vs. Michigan. The pace could be frenzied — so don’t blink — when two of the best backcourts in the country go at it, highlighted by Temple’s Juan Fernandez and Michigan’s Trey Burke.

Fun with names:
Staats Battle, NC State. The frosh guard probably won’t see any minutes but the name is legit. Plus, his bio tells us that his father and sister are UNC grads and his grandparents attended Duke. Awkward.

On upset alert:
Georgetown. The committee did them no favors with No. 14 (and trendy bracket-buster) Belmont. The Bruins enter on a 14-game winning streak and took Duke to the wire in a 77-76 defeat at Cameron Indoor.

South Region

Best player you probably know:
Anthony Davis, Kentucky.
Despite his unibrow, Davis is the leading candidate for Player of the Year. He’s a beast defensively and shows a nice face-up game for a 7-footer. If you’re an NBA fan, he’ll be this year’s top pick.

Best player you don’t know:
Nate Wolters, South Dakota St. He’s averaging 21 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. He’s gone for 30-plus six times this year, including 34 at Pac-12 regular season champs Washington. If you’re looking for this year’s Jimmer Fredette, Wolters is your man.

Second round matchup we want:
Kentucky vs. UConn.
UConn has to get by a game ISU squad, but Calipari and Calhoun in the second round is almost too much to handle. There are at least four NBA lottery picks in this game (Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Drummond, Lamb).

Fun with names:
Shabazz Napier, UConn. His name is just like his game — stylish, but a little clumsy. He’ll play a big role if UConn is going to advance.

On upset alert:
Wichita St. VCU isn’t your average No. 12 seed. Shaka Smart’s team brings tournament experience and the confidence to beat a fellow mid-major in the first round.

West Region

Best player you probably know:
Phil Pressey, Missouri. The son of NBA great Paul Pressey usually plays Robin to Kim English’s Batman, but his 23-point outburst vs. Texas in the Big 12 tournament may have been his coming-out party.

Best player you don’t know:
Casper Ware, Long Beach St. He might be the best mid-major guard in the entire country. Ware, who resembles the Energizer Bunny, went 8-of-16 from beyond the arc in the Big West championship game.

Second round matchup we want:
Murray State vs. Marquette. The Golden Eagles are dangerous with Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder, but the Racers (30-1) can shoot the lights out at 40.6 percent from
3-point land. Both these teams have Elite 8 potential.

Fun with names:
Trinity Fields, Iona. Senior guard can’t get any burn — played just 72 minutes all season — but this name has superstar written all over it. Leading man, perhaps?

On upset alert:
New Mexico. The Lobos are a defensive-minded bunch, something that doesn’t always turn out well in the NCAAs. They’ll face a streaking Long Beach team, led by four senior starters that put a scare into both Kansas and UNC.

East Region

Best player you probably know:
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. Sullinger may be a little undersized to be a star in the NBA, but enjoy his time in college. He’s a prototypical college post player. He carves out space with the best of them. He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season after averaging a double-double as a freshman in 2010-11.

Best player you don’t know:
Michael Snaer, Florida St.
You may know him from his game-winning 3-pointer in Cameron Indoor versus Duke. But he’s more than just a big-time shooter. His defense on Austin Rivers in the ACC tourney won them the game over Duke and he’s averaging 14.5 points per game this season.

Second round matchup we want:
Syracuse vs. Kansas St. Would you believe that the Orange haven’t advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2003 — the year they won it all. Kansas St. is a competent team, that beat Missouri twice and won at Baylor.

Fun with names:
Charlan Kloof, St. Bonaventure. Mr. Kloof is a guard for the Bonnies and native of Suriname. Can you name what continent Suriname is on? Fun fact: Kloof went by the alias Charli Klein in prep school.

On upset alert:
Vanderbilt. The Ivy Leaguers at Harvard are no cupcake this year. We know they are smarter than Vandy (though maybe not by much), but they’ve beaten ACC champion Florida St. in
Tallahassee already this year.


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