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NCAA Tournament: Give us your best bracket-buster through the first few days [Updated]

March 16, 2011 |  9:00 am

Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

Question-harper_250 Richmond has won 11 of its last 12 games, including a victory over a tough Temple team en route to the Atlantic-10 tournament title. Under-the-radar point guard Kevin Anderson leads a group of seniors, averaging 16.5 points and shooting 42.7% on three-pointers.

Forward Justin Harper’s 17.9 points and seven rebounds could offset second-round opponent Vanderbilt’s impressive frontcourt. In the third round, the Spiders' defensive schemes could go toe-to-toe with defensive-minded Louisville.

Don’t forget: The Spiders had the talent to beat Purdue back in November. Not much has changed.

[Updated at 10:18 a.m.:

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Bracket-busting 101: Let's start in the Southeast Regional, with No. 13 Belmont over No. 4 Wisconsin? Belmont has sort of a Butler "look" this year. The Bruins are 30-4 and play an up-tempo style that utilizes waves of players. Belmont plays 11 players, none who average more than 25 minutes. Wisconsin seems ripe for an upset after scoring 33 points in a Big Ten Tournament loss to Penn State.

Belmont_300 I also like, slightly less, in the same region, No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 St. John's. The Zags are playing their best ball of the year while St. John's enters the tournament wounded without D.J. Kennedy, who tore his ACL in the Big East Tournament.

I also like the first-round winner, USC or Virginia Commonwealth, over No. 5 Georgetown in the Southwest. Georgetown is living off its Big East reputation but the Hoyas have lost four straight entering play and are hoping guard Chris Wright can return from a wrist injury.

If you really want to go bold, go No. 13 Princeton over No. 4 Kentucky. That was Princeton's seeding in 1996 when they shocked UCLA.]

[Updated at 12:07 p.m.:

Mike Anthony, Hartford Courant

The season began with such high hopes for Michigan State, which just about fell out of the national picture and managed to crawl into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed in the Southeast Regional.

The Spartans open against No. 7 UCLA, and a victory in the 7-10 game would hardly be much of an upset.

But if the Spartans suddenly click and keep rolling, as so many expected them to months ago, they could shake up the bracket. A potential second-round matchup against Jimmer Fredette and BYU, which lost Brandon Davies to suspension, is manageable. So too would be a Sweet 16 meeting with Florida.

Isn't Tom Izzo in the Final Four every year? And doesn't Pittsburgh fail to get their every year? Pitt's road to Houston is said to be an easy one, and a 10-seed is supposed to be an easy opponent. But is there anyone who wouldn't fear Michigan State just a little?

If Izzo and company get on a roll, it wouldn't be the equivalent of, say, George Mason's run in 2006, but it would run counter to the way they played in getting here, and to the setup of the bracket.]


VCU freshman D.J. Haley, a Palmdale native, has a family allegiance torn between Trojans and Bruins

USC basketball: Quick turnaround for "First Four" game fits into Trojans' schedule

Top photo: Richmond's Justin Harper. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, center, celebrates with his team after their Atlantic Sun Conference championship victory over North Florida on March 5. Credit: Jason Vorhees / Associated Press