DENVER (CBS4) – Even though the University of Denver Pioneers basketball team is done for the season, coach Joe Scott was still thinking hoops when he stopped in to be the guest on Xfinity Monday Live! to talk about the NCAA tournament.
Upsets are always the talk of the tourney and one that stood out for Scott was Mercer knocking Duke out in the first round.
“We played (Mercer). We had them beat down there and we lost by one in overtime … very good team, starts five seniors,” Scott said. “When you look at mid-majors that do well, you usually find teams with tons of senior starters with tons of experience.”
Tennessee was too tough for Mercer in the second round. But another team that DU played that has made it out of the second round is Stanford, who will play another underdog in Dayton Thursday afternoon.
Stanford struggled a little to get through the Pac-12 schedule but made it to the Big Dance and upset Kansas in the second round. CBS4’s Vic Lombardi asked Scott if it’s really an upset if a team from a big conference beats another from a big conference.
“Stanford goes to the Rose Bowl in football, they’re in the Pac-12, and their conference gets six at-large bids. It’s just an upset in the seeding purposes of this tournament, but I don’t know how much of an upset it is in terms of big conference versus big conference,” Scott said.
Of the remaining 16 teams, Scott said he likes Florida, Arizona, Louisville and Michigan State.
“As you get to this point, and it’s been a crazy tournament … I think two teams, even at the beginning of the year, Michigan State and Louisville … I mean they’re playing some of the best basketball … I think those would be your Final Four picks right now,” Scott said.
Lombardi asked Scott what he looks for when he picks his bracket.
“I really think, when you get down to it, it’s matchups this time of year. Matchups in the postseason are the big first thing. What’s the strength of this team, who are you playing?” Scott said. “Another big thing is, were there other upsets along the way where you might be a No. 1 or No. 2, but you know what? No. 7 lost and you’re playing a lower-seeded team because of the other upsets,” Scott said. “That’s a big thing in tournament basketball.”
But when asked if he had to pick a winner, Scott said he’s going with Michigan State.
“I’m going Michigan State. I’ve had them from the beginning of the tournament and I just think (they have) really, really good players, a lot of pros, well-coached, healthy, finally coming together, playing well,” Scott said. “But I think … there are some other teams in here … it’s going to be another battle.”
Watch more of the video with Joe Scott in the Xfinity Monday Live! section.
– By Matthew J. Buettner, CBSDenver.com