You're probably filling out brackets today! You're probably taking a special interest in the Midwest Region because FIVE INDIANA TEAMS! Since no one knows basketball in the state of Indiana better than your friends at crimson quarry dot com, we're here to help. Here's our HASTILY WRITTEN NCAA TOURNAMENT MIDWEST REGIONAL PREVIEW:
(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Manhattan/Hampton, Thursday, 9:40 PM, CBS
Can't say we won't have history made in this matchup if the Jaspers are able to take down Hampton in the First Four. Steve Masiello surely has to be the first guy to coach against his alma mater within twelve months of graduation! EXPERIENCE UNCOMMON SUCCESS WITH A DEGREE FROM KENTUCKY.
(8) Cincinnati vs. (9) Purdue, Thursday, 7:10 PM, CBS
Cincinnati is squarely in the how-the-hell-did-you-end-up-here category of teams this postseason. They beat SMU twice? Blew out Temple? Oh, cool. The American Conference is a catch-all wastebin of anonymity -- I completely forgot Cincinnati existed until about 10 days ago. Purdue wins, because I don't know a damn thing about Cincinnati.
(5) West Virginia vs. (12) Buffalo, Friday, 2:10 PM, TNT
Team Dan Dakich loves vs. Team Dan Dakich hates! Buffalo's the trendy upset pick, so DON'T TAKE THEM. Juwan Staten is kind of a dawg, and don't ever pick against high-scoring senior guards in the NCAA tournament -- even if they're coming off a knee injury. Also, Bobby Hurley looks like David Blatt. GO FIGHITIN' PITTSNOGLES.
(4) Maryland vs. (13) Valparaiso, Friday, 4:40 PM, TNT
Psssssssssst. Valpo's probably underseeded at 13. I'm struggling more with this game than any other in the first round. Win or lose, you're gonna know the name of 6-9 Valpo sophomore Alec Peters after this one. His matchup with Jake Layman should be fun to watch. As much as I can't imagine Dez Wells will let Maryland lose in the first round, I loooooooove this Valpo team that put an old-school beat down on Murray State in the non-con that likely kept the Racers out of the tournament. Bryce Drew also hasn't threatened to deport any players on Indiana's current roster, so I like him. Crusaders advance.
(6) Butler vs. (11) Texas, Thursday, 2:45 PM, CBS
Texas is the anti-Butler. Long, athletic, underachievers that find a way to lose close games at the end. Butler stumbles ass-backwards into winning close games through GRIT and HEART. And can we pleaaaaaase talk about Roosevelt Jones. Roosevelt Jones is the best bad basketball player in the history of the sport. "Well he's just GRITTY, he's a WINNER." He's BASKETBALL TEBOW. Can't shoot, isn't fast, isn't big enough to play the four. My brain says pick Texas, but I know this game will end in Roosevelt Jones tripping over his own damn feet and throwing up a miracle 28-footer from his backside that is inadvertently tipped-in by Myles Turner as time expires -- because Texas and Butler. Jon Rothstein will then tweet "THIS. IS. MARCH."
(3) Notre Dame vs. (14) Northeastern, Thursday, 12:15 PM, CBS
hey remember that time northeastern beat indiana at home
(7) Wichita State vs. (10) Indiana, Friday, 2:45 PM, CBS
Like, this is possible. Seriously. Really. Stop laughing. Indiana matches up fairly well -- almost even having a size advantage on the Shockers, and any team that shoots the three so well can be super dangerous in a given game in March. But, HYPO: If Indiana wins this game, will #IUTwitter and the message boards go into full on nuclear meltdown if Tom Crean OUTCOACHES Gregg Marshall? Hoosiers, because this a blog about Indiana and NO GUYS MOM SAID SANTA CLAUS IS REAL.
(2) Kansas vs. (15) New Mexico State, Friday, 12:15 PM, CBS
If there's gonna be a 2-15 upset this year, this just might be it. The WAC is a god-awful radioactive-wate landfill of a conference, but the Aggies have won 13 straight and 18 of 19 dating back to a one-point overtime loss at Colorado State in December. I'm still sticking with Kansas -- but don't be surprised if Bill Self's team is struggling late in this one.
ROUND OF 32
(1) Kentucky vs. (9) Purdue, Saturday
ALL HAIL TO OUR OLD GOLD AND BLACK
HAIL HAIL TO OLD PURDUE
OUR FRIENDSHIP MAY SHE NEVER LACK
EVER GRATEFUL, EVER TRUE
THUS WE RAISE OUR SONG ANEW
OF THE DAY WE'VE SPENT WITH YOU
ALL HAIL OUR OWN PURDUE.
(5) West Virginia vs. (13) Valparaiso, Sunday
I don't like either of these teams. They will both lose to Kentucky. Valparaiso, because they have a very nice dining hall.
(3) Notre Dame vs. (6) Butler, Saturday
Guuuuuuuuuh. This region is loaded with potentially insufferable matchups in the second round for Indiana fans. Could I see Butler continuing the ass-backward stumble into the Sweet 16 again? Absolutely. But Notre Dame is an actually-good team and water should finally reach its level agains a not-good-but-somehow-good Butler team.
(2) Kansas vs. (10) Indiana, Sunday
Hot-ass take: If Indiana gets by Wichita State, they'll beat Kansas by at least 10 points. NO I DON'T HAVE TO HAVE REASON, YOU SHUT UP.
(1) Kentucky vs. (13) Valparaiso
(3) Notre Dame vs. (10) Indiana
Please, please, please, please let this game happen, pleaaaaaaaase. I will be in basketball heaven, and terrible awful basketball FUNDAMENTALISTS will whine and complain as if they are college basketball Florio reincarnate. BOB KNIGHT WOULD'VE NEVER STOOD FOR THIS CRAP HERF DERF HIRE STEVE ALFORD. At one point in the season, both of these teams were in the Top 6 in the country in whatever KenPom stat measures scoring and tempo and whatever and BELOW 250 in defensive efficiency. It will be college basketball's answer to 7-on-7. 160-150 final score. Indiana will lose, and I won't care because it will be the game of the tournament/year/century/millennium or until whatever point two D-I schools both hire Grinnell assistants and they meet in the Sweet 16. Lots of points are good and fun, and if you do not like points, please go watch awful, terrible major league baseball.
(1) Kentucky vs. (3) Notre Dame
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY Y'ALL