March Madness is finally here. As usual, the
basketball tournament selection committee made its normal blunders by leaving out some teams that are better than the ones it chose as at-large selections. This year,
got the shaft while
, a team Alabama beat by 8 points in a regular-season game, was invited to the tournament.
The selection committee also erred by seeding
. We will find out in the first round whether my analysis is better than that of the selection committee.
Here is a list of the opening-round games on Thursday and Friday, in the order in which they appear in the Las Vegas sports books.
This chart can be used in all future rounds, since it has my power ratings for each team. For those of you who are filling out brackets for an office pool, the higher the power rating listed, the better the team.
Of course, in this tournament there are always upsets and the best teams do not always advance to the Final Four. But my choice for the Final Four teams this year are
not far behind.
In the first round, I like all teams where my theoretical point spread has more than a two-point differential than the official point spread. My best bet in the first round is
, receiving 7 1/2 points from
. Hawaii is a very good shooting team and should be able to keep the game close against the Orangemen, who exclusively play a 2-3 zone defense. I will go out on a limb and predict that the Warriors will defeat the Orangemen straight up.
As always, I appreciate any feedback from readers and can be reached at
Who will win the NCAA tournament?
Barry Lieberman was a litigator with the U.S. Department of Justice for nine years and is currently the general counsel for a company that operates four hotel/casinos in Las Vegas. He has been an amateur gambler for more than 20 years and successfully concluded last football season by winning on 55% of his college and pro selections posted on TheStreet.com. He welcomes your feedback at