It's that time of year again, folks! March Madness is one of the truly great things about being an American, in my opinion, and while we aren't going to be playing for money, I highly encourage you all to join our ATVS Bracket Challenge. Let's take a quick look at how the draw fared for our SEC brethren, and what each of their prospects are in the tournament.
Vanderbilt v. Wichita State (play-in game, 11 seed in the South Region)
This actually has some potential to be a great game. Either of these teams at their best could hang with Arizona in the round of 64, but both have under-performed throughout the season. Vanderbilt has been a bit of a wildcard all year, and that normally doesn't bode well come tournament time. Wichita feels under-seeded, and I can more easily envision a scenario where the Shockers win comfortably against the Commodores before going on a mini-little run and upsetting Arizona. I'm going with Wichita here, but if Vandy does some how pull it off, they'll likely get stomped by Arizona in the next round.
Kentucky (4) (somehow getting a lower seed than A&M after beating them in the SEC championship game) v. Stony Brook (13), East Region
This should be easy work for a Wildcat team that is peaking at exactly the right time. Stony Brook has the makings of a Cinderella team (quality three-point shooting, stingy defense), but I'm certainly not picking them in my bracket. Kentucky is the play here. They've got a tough path, though; UNC getting placed in the East is extremely fortuitous for the Tar Heels, they've got easily the best 8/9 match-up in Providence-UNC, not to mention legit threats in Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Xavier. If Cal can continue to get strides of improvement from Skal, and as long as Ulis is playing out of his mind, I have Kentucky making a run to the final weekend, especially if my upset pick of the tournament comes through, USC over the Heels in the round of 32.
Texas A&M (3) against Green Bay (14), West Region
Another likely blow-out in the making, this A&M team is good enough to go on a run in it's own right. Green Bay scored well in their own league, but have little shot of putting up good numbers against the Aggie D made up of much bigger, stronger defenders. Depending on match-ups, as long as they Aggies can control pace and keep slow, they' should coast comfortable into the sweet sixteen. It's there that they'll likely run into the Sooners and Buddy Hield, which will be a considerable challenge, to say the least. Outside of OU, though, the West is a soft region, and Texas A&M can find a way to slay the Sooner beast, they have a real shot at making a Final Four.