Fear not, friends: your pals at Anonymous Eagle are here to inject some half-baked, homespun "insight" into the proceedings, with our annual region-by-region tour, as we go Anonymously Through the Brackets.
For each region, we'll give you our patented Anonymous Eagle Half-Arsed Analysis with: a gutless pick to win the region; a sleeper regional champ; a CRUSH YOUR MAN upset special; a player we'd pay to watch; and something you're not going to want to see.
Without further ado:
GUTLESS WONDER PICK TO WIN
One year into the Steve Wojciechowski era at Marquette, and we get to use his connection to his alma mater to be completely guilt free about being gutless and picking the Blue Devils to come out of the South Region. Yes, they're a bit shorthanded, with only eight scholarship players. But one of them is Jahlil Okafor, and he is AWESOME. The Blue Devils have won 15 of their last 17 games heading into the NCAA tournament, and their last two losses have both been to Notre Dame. In fact, Duke has only lost to ACC teams this season and guess what? There are zero other ACC teams in this region. If you still haven't gotten comfortable with the Blue Devils, then how about this: They won AT Wisconsin and AT Virginia this season. There is literally no other team in the country that's done either one of those things this season.
CHEX BOLD PARTY MIX BOLD PICK TO WIN
Hey, watch as I talk myself into using the #2 seed as the bold pick to win.
Gonzaga's the #2 seed here. Gonzaga hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since 2009. Gonzaga hasn't been to an Elite Eight since 1999, which, by the way, was before they hired Mark Few to coach the team. Yes, I know that previous tournaments have no impact on this year's tournaments. Yes, I know that Gonzaga's really good according to the fancy math (#6 offense, #21 defense on KenPom). But after the Zags flamed out as a #1 seed a year ago, there is not going to be ANYONE who picks Gonzaga to win this year's region. If you believe in what they're doing out there in Spokane, you can have a chance to cause some damage in your bracket by picking the Bulldogs.
CRUSH YOUR MAN UPSET SPECIAL
It's fun to pick a team nicknamed the Lumberjacks. I mean, it just is. Plus, on top of that Stephen F. Austin has a record of 71-7 under second year head coach Brad Underwood. This is their second straight NCAA appearance with him patrolling the sidelines, and they swung the upset against VCU last season. They've been here before, they know what the experience is like, and they win like crazy. They're going to CRUSH Utah, and the Utes are favored by six points according to KenPom. Get in on the bandwagon early.
HIDE YOUR EYES WHEN
It's not going to be pretty on Friday night when San Diego State dismantles St. John's. Yes, it's not one of Steve Fisher's best Aztecs teams. But as you probably know by now, St. John's suspended starting center Chris Obekpa on Sunday afternoon. They're essentially only going to be playing five guys, and the Red Storm got absolutely destroyed in their last two games: a 105-68 thrashing at the hands of Villanova and then, in the Big East tournament, a 74-57 beatdown from Providence. They probably didn't have much chance in the first place, and without Obekpa, you can use a nice big permanent marker to put SDSU advancing to the round of 32.
Don't forget to sign up for The 2015 Anonymous Eagle Bracket Challenge! It's free, and there will be prizes!