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Corey’s Full 2016 Bracket

First Four

Florida Gulf Coast over Fairleigh Dickinson – Dunk City is back in the NCAA tournament but while they won’t make another incredible run to the Sweet 16 they have a huge size advantage over a Fairleigh Dickinson squad with no seniors.

Wichita State over Vanderbilt – It’s hard to pick against Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. The Shockers have been great since VanVleet return from an early season injury. They’ll have a hard time against Vanderbilt’s 7-footers, but guards usually dominate March.

Southern over Holy Cross – Holy Cross’ zone defense can be a problem for teams and Malachi Alexander is legit, but I’ve covered this team and have no clue how they went on that run to win the Patriot League. Southern get the win.

Michigan over Tulsa – It’s hard to see why Tulsa is in the tournament, but at least Michigan has some decent wins and John Beilein is a coach you always like to pick. The Wolverines can shoot the three and will do that to advance past Tulsa.

First Round

South Region

#1 Kansas over #16 Austin Peay – Kansas is a very experienced and deep team that have legitimate championship aspirations.

#9 Connecticut over #8 Colorado – Connecticut is flying high after their miracle shot and their AAC title. They keep the run going past the Buffaloes. Plus Kevin Ollie is a great coach with a week to prepare for a team. That’s hard to pick against.

#5 Maryland over #13 South Dakota State – Something is wrong with Maryland but they have too much talent to lose to the Jackrabbits. Once again the Tortoise beats the Hare.

#4 California over #13 Hawai’i – Hawai’i is a very interesting team but they have too tough of a matchup against a Cal team that even without Tyrone Wallace is loaded with NBA talent.

#11 Wichita State over #6 Arizona – The Wildcats certainly could win with a very balanced offense and a lot of experience, but their overall body of work is disappointing. Their offense won’t be as effective against against the Shocker’s great defense.

#3 Miami over #14 Buffalo – Jim Larranaga is doing great things in Coral Gables and has the Hurricanes playing very good basketball.

#10 Temple over #7 Iowa – Iowa was once viewed as a No. 1 seed but are sinking very fast. Temple is a tough team with a very good group of forwards who can rebound and give the Owls extra possessions.

#2 Villanova over #15 NC-Asheville – The Wildcats had a history of issues in the NCAA Tournament, but they won’t have any issues against the Big South Champions that was only fourth in their conference.

West Region

#1 Oregon over #16 Southern – The Pac-12 Champions will have a great chance to show right away how great and athletic of a team they are to a national audience that probably missed them much of the season.

#9 Cincinnati over #8 St. Joseph’s – St. Joseph’s has a very talented forward in Isaiah Miles, but the Bearcats are playing the best they have all season after beating SMU late in the season and then going to quadruple overtime against eventual AAC Champion Connecticut in the semifinals. Their defense will be the difference.

#5 Baylor over #12 Yale – Yale is in the tournament for the first time since 1962 and have a senior-laden team with a great defense, but while they would normally be a popular upset pick Baylor will prove to be too tough for them.

#4 Duke over #13 NC Wilmington – This is nowhere near one of the best Duke teams they’ve had, but they are still a good team with a great offense that should overwhelm NC Wilmington.

#11 Northern Iowa over #6 Texas – Shaka Smart is a great coach but the Longhorns are not playing well heading into the tournament after losing five of their last nine games. Northern Iowa is always a dangerous team because they control the tempo and great extra possessions with their rebounding.

#3 Texas A&M over #14 Green Bay – TAMU struggled down the stretch but have plenty of offense out on the wings to get past Green Bay.

#10 VCU over #7 Oregon State – While Shaka Smart is gone, the Havoc defense remains and that will be tough for Oregon State, which primarily relies on their point guard Gary Payton II.

#2 Oklahoma over #15 CSU Bakersfield – Buddy Hield is way too good for Oklahoma to be upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

East Region

#1 North Carolina over #16 Florida Gulf Coast – North Carolina has a lot of depth and a great defense that will shut down Florida Gulf Coast.

#8 USC over #9 Providence – The tough part of picking this game is that Providence has by far the best player on the court but USC is a very balanced team with plenty of guy who can score. In the end the Trojans variety of weapons that average over 80 points a game advance over a Friar squad that will be done if Kris Dunn struggles at all, with all due respect to Ben Bentil.

#5 Indiana over #12 Chattanooga – Yogi Ferrell and the Big Ten regular season champion Hoosier will take out their anger for being under-seeded on the Mocs.

#4 Kentucky over #12 Stony Brook – It’s not crazy to think that Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney will be the best player on the court, but the Wildcats are too deep and too talented for Stony Brook.

#6 Notre Dame over #11 Michigan – Notre Dame will be susceptible to Michigan’s outside shooting but at the end of the day the Fighting Irish have a bevvy of guys who can score and a very athletic center Zach Auguste who can shut down the already limited Wolverines frontcourt.

#14 Stephen F. Austin over #3 West Virginia – This is a very risky upset pick because Bob Huggins is so great and West Virginia is so talented, but the Lumberjacks are in their fourth-straight NCAA Tournament. They are a mid-major who won’t fall to the pressure or be in awe of being there. They are coaches by a former Huggins assistant and force turnovers, which is something West Virginia does a lot.

#7 Wisconsin over #10 Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh has talent but are very unproven. Wisconsin has been able to overcome an abrupt retirement of their coach Bo Ryan and a 1-4 start to Big Ten play for a fin overall season. Their slow tempo makes them a tough team the beat.

#2 Xavier over #15 Weber State – The old darlings are now one of the top teams in the country. Xavier has a great offense with plenty of options on the offensive end that should roll past Weber State. But congrats to Weber State for winning both the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles.

Midwest Region

#1 Virginia over #16 Hampton – Virginia’s defense is just way too good for a team lacking elite athleticism to break.

#8 Texas Tech over #9 Butler – Tubby Smith with a week to prepare gives Texas Tech a strong chance to win this won. They excelled against one of the toughest schedules in the country and have a load of guys who can score. Butler needs outside shots to fall and that’s always a worry in March.

#5 Purdue over #12 Arkansas Little Rock – The Trojans can control tempo, play defense and hit three’s, which is always a recipe for a great upset. But Purdue has too much inside to beat up on Arkansas Little Rock. And besides, a slower-paced game might benefit Purdue’s bigs so they aren’t forced to spring up and down the court the entire time.

#4 Iowa State over #13 Iona – Georges Niang might be the most impossible player in the country to defend, so there is little reason to believe that a team that isn’t great defensively anyway would be able to stop him.

#11 Gonzaga over #6 Seton Hall – The Bulldogs don’t have the pressure on them this time and can go back to being the favorite darlings. They struggled this year but still have loads of talent back from a team that went to the Elite 8 last year.

#3 Utah over #14 Fresno State – Utah has one of the best big men in the country, a very efficient offense and plenty of shooters. Fresno State is no cake-walk but they have to depend on one guy, Marvell Harris. He’s great, but dependence on one player is not a good thing.

#10 Syracuse over #7 Dayton – Syracuse knew they deserved to be in the tournament so getting in will only focus them more. Jim Boeheim is going to be on a mission to win this game.

#2 Michigan State over #15 Middle Tennessee State – The Spartans are under-seeded as a No. 2 seed and have the best player in the country in Denzel Valentine. They are set for a deep run.

Second Round

South Region

#1 Kansas over #9 Connecticut – Connecticut always gets hot in March and Kansas generally struggle to get out of the opening weekend when they are a No. 1 seed, but not this year. Kansas is very deep and experienced and that will help them advance through tough matchups.

#5 Maryland over #4 California – Okay, I’m changing this pick before the tournament starts. They are still incredibly talented, but Maryland is too so if California doesn’t have Tyrone Wallace as he just broke his hand in practice, they are going to have a tough time getting past a team with one of the elite players in the country, Melo Trimble.

#3 Miami over #11 Wichita State – Gregg Marshall gets two wins but won’t advance any farther. Miami is very deep and can win in a variety of ways.

#10 Temple over #2 Villanova – Sorry Nova fans, the struggles continue in the tournament against a very tough Philadelphia 5 rival. The Owls have a great trio leading their team and that group can really rebound.

West Region

#1 Oregon over #9 Cincinnati – The Bearcats play a tough defense, but the Ducks depth and weapons will be too much for it.

#4 Duke over #5 Baylor – There is a lot of reasons to hate Duke, but they match up well against Baylor and their 1-3-1 zone that is 295th in the nation in perimeter defense. Duke can take advantage of that on the outside.

#3 Texas A&M over #11 Northern Iowa – Texas A&M has a lot of size and that could be a matchup problem for Northern Iowa.

#2 Oklahoma over #10 VCU – Oklahoma is turnover prone and that is very bad against a team like VCU, but their offensive ability will help them edge an opponent they might not matchup well against.

East Region

#1 North Carolina over #8 USC –Both teams have a group that collectively gets the job done but North Carolina’s group is simply more talented.

#4 Kentucky over #5 Indiana – Thank you selection committee for setting up this game and it should be a dandy for fans, but John Calipari actually has some experienced player to work with this time.

#6 Notre Dame over #14 Stephen F. Austin – Let’s not get crazy and fall in love with the Lumberjacks because they won’t have much to combat the Fighting Irish inside.

#2 Villanova over #7 Wisconsin – The Musketeers offense against Wisconsin’s defense will be a very interesting one, but the question is does Wisconsin have enough offense on their end. My guess is no.

Midwest Region

#1 Virginia over #8 Texas Tech – Without one guy who could step up and break a defense, Texas Tech has little chance to advance past Virginia.

#5 Purdue over #4 Iowa State – Iowa State has a very good offense but they rely a lot on shooting. Purdue can pound their way inside for higher-quality shots and that will be the difference.

#11 Gonzaga over #3 Utah – Utah has size, but so does Gonzaga with Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis. Those two make up one of the best frontcourts in the country.

#2 Michigan State over #10 Syracuse – What an incredible coaching matchup in the second round of the tournament but Michigan State has more talent and the best player on the court by a long way in this one.

Sweet 16

South Region

#1 Kansas over #5 Maryland – Maryland has the ability to beat any team in this tournament, but it’s a matter of will they play well. Down the stretch of the season they’ve shown their problems while Kansas is a talented senior-laden team capable of making a very deep run.

#3 Miami over #10 Temple – The Owls run ends as they fall to a talented and very efficient Miami team. Temple has struggled away from home this year. Winning a third-straight game at a neutral sight would be a very tough task.

West Region

#1 Oregon over #4 Duke – It Duke gets into a matchup that runs up and down the floor their lack of depth is going to prove to be an issue. Well, there you go Oregon.

#2 Oklahoma over #3 Texas A&M – The Sooners are going to get in trouble if their outside shots don’t fall and Texas A&M will challenge them defensively, but this squad lost in the Sweet 16 last year and Lon Kruger will make adjustments to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

East Region

#1 North Carolina over #4 Kentucky – Another epic Blue Blood matchup, what a treat. Kentucky is always dangerous but North Carolina’s defense has to get some credit. They’ll make things difficult for the Wildcats.

#6 Notre Dame over #2 Xavier – Xavier is a fantastic team but the Fighting Irish had a lot of success last year so they know what it takes to get there. All five starters averaged double figures and they have tremendous depth.

Midwest Region

#1 Virginia over #5 Purdue – The Cavaliers defense will put a lot of pressure on Purdue’s guards and will force turnovers when they try to force the ball inside to their big men.

#2 Michigan State over #11 Gonzaga – Alright, Gonzaga showed why they only made the tournament because they won the WCC tournament. They have flaws and after four days to prepare Tom Izzo will take advantage of them.

Elite 8

South Region

#1 Kansas over #3 Miami – The depth and experience continues to give the Jayhawks an edge, this time against a Hurricanes team that is pretty new to the scene.

West Region

#2 Oklahoma over #1 Oregon – I’ve been saying that if Oklahoma struggles to hit outside shots they’ll lose, but somebody is going to have to stop them. Oregon likes to push the pace and that will play to the favor of a very good Sooners offense.

East Region

#1 North Carolina over #6 Notre Dame – North Carolina’s just beat Notre Dame by 31 points for a reason. The Tar Heels has a great defense and Notre Dame turns the ball over a lot.

Midwest Region

#2 Michigan State over #1 Virginia – The Spartans can prove they deserved the No. 1 seed as their offense is able to do enough against Virginia’s defense as Tom Izzo gets to a very familiar place – The Final Four.

Final Four

#1 Kansas over #2 Oklahoma – Kansas beat Oklahoma twice this year. Granted, both were very close games and one went into triple overtime, but Bill Self will get the job done as his defense that is fifth in overall adjusted defense slows down Oklahoma’s outside shooting.

#1 North Carolina over #2 Michigan – A tremendous Final Four game, but North Carolina has been due for this. North Carolina’s depth, defense and experience help them win a very close game.

NCAA Championship Game

#1 North Carolina over #2 Kansas – I said North Carolina was the favorite in the beginning of the season and I’m sticking with them because of their deep group of players, defense and stars like Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige that are hard to match up with. And what a story would it be for Roy Williams to go up against his old team in the championship game and get a win with what may be his last great team in Chapel Hill.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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