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How Boop Wants The Bracket to Play Out ...

We don't know which schools are going to win every game in the NCAA Tournament, but we do know which schools we WANT to win in every game.

Everywhere you turn over the next couple of days you will find someone telling you how they filled out their NCAA Bracket based on which school they think will win each game.

Not here. This is our bracket based solely on which team we WANT to win in each matchup. And why.



Dayton (11) over Boise St. (11): Dayton will always have a place in our hearts for being where Saint Joseph's beat top-ranked DePaul in a 1981 second-round game.

Villanova (1) over Lafayette (16): If only its name had appeared on any of the other 66 team lines in this bracket, we would have gone with Fran O'Hanlon's club. But here, we'll have to go with his alma mater.

North Carolina State (8) over Louisiana State (9): The Wolfpack will need to advance to get what's coming to them next ...

Northern Iowa (5) over Wyoming (12): Wyoming's upset of San Diego State in the Mountain West final was the nail in the Temple Owls' NCAA coffin.

UC Irvine (13) over Louisville (4): How often do you get to see a 7-foot-6 player (Mamadou Ndiaye) in the NCAA Tournament? About once every 24 years. Does the name Shawn Bradley (Brigham Young, 1991) ring a bell?

Dayton (11) over Providence (6): Dayton will always have a place in our hearts for being where Villanova began its 1985 title trek with a last-second win over Flyers.

Albany (14) over Oklahoma (3): If you don't know who Peter Hooley is and why his America East title-winning three-pointer Saturday may be the most heart-warming triple in basketball history, google him. But first, grab a box of tissues.

Michigan State (7) over Georgia (10): Year-in and year-out (20 of them, as a matter of fact), Tom Izzo does as good a job coaching his team as anybody in the country.

Belmont (15) over Virginia (2): The Bruins ended Murray State's 25-game winning streak with an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer of the Ohio Valley Conference title game. Good enough for us!


Robert Morris (16) over North Florida (16): Head coach Andy Toole went to two NCAA Tournaments as a player at Penn.

Robert Morris (16) over Duke (1): We don't hate the ACC just for hating it, but does Duke really need another trophy. And have we mentioned Andy Toole recently.

San Diego State (8) over St. John's (9): Normally, we would lean toward the Red Storm because of Philadelphia's Rysheed Jordan. But, we will be in Charlotte for these games and I have a feeling that the San Diego State cheerleaders will have a greater impact on our enjoyment there than Jordan will.

Stephen F. Austin (12) over Utah (5): Cool nickname (Lumberjacks), cool location (Nacogdoches, Texas) and not a half-bad team (28-4).

Georgetown (4) over Eastern Washington (13): The Eagles have six players born outside the United States. And they open up with a school that is located in the our nation's capital. Someone on the Selection Committee really did their homework.

Southern Methodist (6) over UCLA (11): Former Sixers coach Larry Brown hasn't lost an NCAA Tournament game since 1987. Why start now?

UAB (14) over Iowa State (3): The Blazers took down top-ranked Kentucky in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, which could have been a key hurdle toward a possible Saint Joseph's national championship.

Iowa (7) over Davidson (10): Hard to believe La Salle High's Fran McCaffery has been guiding hoopsters in the Corn Belt for five years already.

North Dakota State (15) over Gonzaga (2): The Bison upset Oklahoma in last year's tournament, lost three starters, and still made it back.


Manhattan (16) over Hampton (16): We were rooting for Dover's Delaware State in the MEAC title game, which Hampton won, so the Pirates are dead to us.

Manhattan (16) over Kentucky (1): Listen, a No. 1 seed is going to lose to a No. 16 seed one of these years. Why not in a year where the No. 1 seed is 34-0! And Manhattan coach Steve Masiello played at Kentucky. There's that research again.

Cincinnati (8) over Purdue (9): Always like to see a BCS conference school go down early.

Buffalo (12) over West Virginia (5): The coaching matchup is Bobby Hurley vs. Bob Huggins. Next.

Valparaiso (13) over Maryland (4): Who doesn't remember head coach Bryce Drew's 1998 game-winner against Mississippi.

Butler (6) over Texas (11): The Butler program was supposed to shrivel up and die after Brad Stevens left to coach the Celtics, right?

Notre Dame (3) over Northeastern (14): Never much of a Fightin' Irish fan, but SJ Prep's Steve Vasturia has got us turned around.

Indiana (10) over Wichita State (7): Former Blue Jay Joe Carter went to Wichita State.

New Mexico State (15) over Kansas (2): Former NFL quarterback Joe Pisarcik learned how to hand off the ball properly while a player at NMSU.


Brigham Young (11) over Mississippi (11): Kyle Collinsworth tied an NCAA Division I record with six triple-doubles this season. (Big deal! Cabrini's Aaron Walton-Moss had nine.)

Wisconsin (1) over Coastal Carolina (16): Chester's Bo Ryan has built himself a powerful program up there in Cheese Country.

Oregon (8) over Oklahoma State (9): It will be a long time before we forgive the Cowboys and John Lucas III for nipping Saint Joseph's at the buzzer in the 2004 East Regional final.

Wofford (12) over Arkansas (5): It's just fun to say ... "Wofford."

Harvard (13) over North Carolina (4): Ivy over the ACC ... We get goosebumps, circa 1979.

Xavier (6) over Brigham Young (11): We're not sure, but we think Xavier is still in one of the Big 5 teams' conferences, so we'll go with them.

Georgia State (14) over Baylor (3): Head coach Ron Hunter tore his Achilles' celebrating just seconds after the Panthers' won the Sun Belt League. He had us at Achilles'.

VCU (7) over Ohio State (10): Does any coach in the country prepare his team for March as well as Shaka Smart?

Arizona (2) over Texas Southern (15): Chester's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has found a home out in the desert.



Villanova over NC State: Finally, payback for the 1951 round-of-32 game in Raleigh, where the Wolfpack outlasted the Wildcats, 67-62.

Northern Iowa over UC Irvine: The last name of UNI's best player is Tuttle, but we're not sure he even exists.

Albany over Dayton: Nine years later, we are still grateful to the Great Danes for hanging with second-ranked Connecticut for so long in a first-round game at whatever the Wells Fargo Center was called then.

Belmont over Michigan State: Say it with me slow, "Starting at forward for Belmont, 6-8 freshman Amanze Egekeze."


San Diego State over Robert Morris: If the cheerleaders are still on the bandwagion, so are we.

Georgetown over S.F. Austin: The sons of Reggie Williams and Alonzo Mourning are deep subs for the Hoyas, but we love any father/son story in March.

SMU over UAB: I guess the deeper the Mustangs advance the less painful Temple's three losses to them appears.

Iowa over North Dakota State: At this time last year, McCaffery's son Patrick was in a battle with thyroid cancer. He is now cancer-free. Kinda puts it all in perspective.


Manhattan over Cincinnati: Did you know Manhattan College is actually in Riverdale N.Y. Did you care?

Valparaiso over Buffalo: If the game is tied after regulation, Drew and Hurley can shoot three-pointers to advance. And there is no Christian Laetner to rebound for Hurley ...

Notre Dame over Butler: Just checked the Notre Dame roster and Digger Phelps is no longer the coach, so we root for them to go on.

Indiana over New Mexico State: Why not have an intrastate battle as regional semifinal?


Wisconsin over Oregon: Most of the Oregon players will be caught looking ahead to their tryout with the Eagles.

Harvard over Wofford: Dr. Seuss would have to be the sideline reporter.

Georgia State over Xavier: Remember Kevin Ware, who suffered that horrifying injury during Louisville's title run a few years ago. He comes off the bench for the Panthers ... very carefully.

Arizona over VCU: Okay ... Now we are tired of hearing about Shaka Smart and March.


Villanova over Northern Iowa: By the time the regionals are over, Ryan Arcidiacono may have committed another turnover. He enters the tourney with just two over his last 152 minutes on the court.

Albany over Belmont: ESPN showed tweets from Hooley's sister Pam Saturday. You can follow her at @emhooley ... I do.


Georgetown over San Diego State: The cheerleaders are still there, but I'll be home, so let's get the Hoyas through.

Iowa over SMU: McCaffery, who transferred to Penn after a year at Wake Forest (freshmen were ineligible in the Ivy League at the time), was nicknamed "White Magic" ... Try seeing a player getting away with that these days.


Manhattan over Valparaiso: Drew is exhausted after his two-hour, tie-breaking three-point contest with Hurley and his team's performance shows it.

Notre Dame over Indiana: If Kentucky were still alive at the top of the regional, we might want Indiana (last undefeated team in 1976) to get a shot at the Wildcats in the regional final. If not, "Let's Go, Irish."


Wisconsin over Harvard: If the Crimson actually made it to a regional final, it might go to the kids' heads and their studies might suffer. What would happen to the law profession then?

Arizona over Wisconsin: Setting up a Chester player (Hollis-Jefferson) against a Chester coach (Ryan) for the right to go to Indianapolis.



Villanova over Albany: How about an 80-33 run to close out the region, like the Wildcats did to close out their regular season against St. John's.


Iowa over Georgetown: This would be a repeat of the 1980 Eastern Regional at the Spectrum. The Hawkeyes duplicate the 81-80 victory, which means a bunch of Delaware Valley sporyts writers will get to sneak into the Final Four using a side door and a friendly usher ...


Notre Dame over Manhattan: It would be nice to see Mike Brey, who cut his head-coaching teeth at the University of Delaware, get to the Final Four.


Arizona over Wisconsin: Bo Ryan got to represent Chester at the Final Four last year. Hollis-Jefferson's turn in 2015.


Villanova over Iowa: It's a can't-lose contest, but Jay Wright finally gets to the Last Monday of the Season. McCaffery will get there another day.

Notre Dame over Arizona: Holy crap! We have the first all-Catholic title game in 30 years.


Villanova over Notre Dame

When both schools were independents in the 1970s, they would play each other every year, alternating home sites. One year, the story goes, when the Irish came to town, Villanova's students wore T-shirts that said "Villanova: Notre Dame of the East," a homage to ND's hoop heritage ... Two successful years later, the students wore T-shirts again, but these said: "Notre Dame: Villanova of the East."

Arcidiacono won a share of the Big East's Player of the Year Award ... Sixth man Josh Hart took home the MVP of the Big East Tournament Award ... The four-letter tourney is time for the seniors: JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard. One gets the East Regional Most Outstanding Player and the other gets the MOP of the Final Four.

The only questions left is: Which player wins his award in Syracuse and which captures his in Indianapolis?