Nobody likes a chalk bracket. For those that may not know, a chalk bracket is one in which the higher seed wins every matchup. You can see it every March when President Obama fills out his bracket on ESPN with Andy Katz. (That's right, the Boom Roasted store is open for business even for the president).
When putting together this little tourney, the staff here at Big East Coast Bias did not want to have a predictable run of matchups. So, this is where we must thank Ben Bentil or, more accurately, the rabid goon squad known as the Friars faitfhul who voted the sophomore center and No. 11 seed past Xavier's Trevon Bluiett. The rest of the first round went according to plan with top seed Kris Dunn cruising past Myke Henry, Roosevelt Jones jostling ahead of Billy Garrett, Henry Ellenson overpowering Kellen Dunham, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera sending Edmond Sumner packing and Isaiah Whitehead making quick work of Kelan Martin.
With the dust settled, feast your eyes upon the updated bracket:
No. 1 Kris Dunn vs. No. 8 Roosevelt Jones
You have to feel for Henry. It wasn't his fault he was the first sacrificial victim at the altar of Dunn. With an astounding 97 percent of the vote, Providence's point guard ripped DePaul's scoring dynamo apart. Meanwhile, Jones used his steady hand to keep Garrett from keeping DePaul's dreams alive. Each of these contestants has bested a Blue Demon. Now a Bulldog and Friar will have to duke it out.
Why Dunn would win
Even if Providence has been reeling of late, Dunn remains the best all-around player in the league. He can shoot, pass and defend like few others. His ability to get down the floor rivals the likes of the Flash and Quicksilver. That speed will be a big help against Jones, who may be on his heels a bit as Dunn dazzles with his crossover arsenal. Dunn also has the ability to shoot off the bounce meaning Jones will be twisted in knots trying to figure out what''s coming next.
Why Jones would win
The easy answer is he wouldn't, but don't undersell the 6-foot-4 swingman. Jones may not be a range shooter, but, as discussed last week, he is a crafty mother--shut your mouth. The senior doesn't turn the ball over all that often, with 63 total this season and he can give Dunn a run for his money in the devastating ankle-breaker category.
Who will win?
If you'd like to be the first person to doubt the power of Dunn, be my guest. I won't be that fool. Dunn's superior all-around game, particularly his ability to make a shot from mid to long range makes him too dangerous to be upset before the semifinals.
No. 4 Henry Ellenson vs. No. 5 Josh Hart
Even if Dunn locked up the Big East Player of the Year award in October just by being back with Providence, a few guys have made legitimate claims at the title. Ellenson and Hart are two such players. The double-double machine from Milwaukee has not helped Marquette be a NCAA Tournament team, but he has been outstanding. Hart is the best overall player on a team that is currently ranked No. 1 in the country, although that will change come Monday. Eh, Xavier?
Why Ellenson would win
When voting began in Ellenson's matchup with Butler's Dunham, the Bulldogs' guard started out on top. As the week wore on, Ellenson eventually pulled ahead and held on. That's exactly what he would need to do in a matchup with Hart. Just keep pounding down low and keep the Villanova star from getting intro a groove.
Why Hart would win
When you can shoot from 3-point range and don't miss many shots from in close, it becomes pretty tough to slow you down. Hart can do both things and if he can just keep the ball away from Ellenson he would have the energy to keep taking shot after shot, burying the Marquette big man in a pile of triples. However, while Dunham was hurt by his lack of driving ability, Hart can shift gears and start slashing into the key to get buckets if the threes don't fall.
Who will win?
Hart's blend of 3-point shooting and finishing at the rim make him a much more versatile threat than Ellenson dealt with last week. While Hart may not be able to move Ellenson off the block, he can certainly tire the Golden Eagle out and score in too many ways for the freshman phenom to move on.
No. 2 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera vs. No. 7 Maurice Watson
Even as the No. 2 seed, it was DSR that had to sweat out his first round matchup, winning by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent against Xavier's Edmond Sumner. Watson mo'ed down (see what I did there?) Durand Johnson and his standing as a potential first-team Big Easter makes him much scarier than his seventh seed would indicate.
Why DSR would win
Efficiency. Efficiency. Efficiency. Who else in the league can lay claim to three-straight seasons with a PER of at least 20? Who else has had an effective field goal percentage of at least 50 percent in his last three seasons? DSR is a scorer and even if his field goal percentage doesn't always make it clear, he is an efficient and consistent one.
Why Watson would win
In head-to-head matchups, Watson has gotten the better of DSR. When Creighton put a 79-66 whooping on the Hoyas in the beginning of January, Watson scored 27 points to DSR's 17. When Georgetown got some revenge later in the month, Watson still had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while keeping DSR to a 5-of-12 rate from the field.
Who would win
Its tough to say. On one hand, you have a guy that's been doing it for years. On the other, a guy who has been playing better than just about anyone in the conference. I lean towards the hot hand.
No. 3 Isaiah Whitehead vs. No. 11 Ben Bentil
Cinderella thy name is Bentil. Sure, he's on the shortlist for Big East POTY, but the second part of Providence's dynamic duo is an underdog in this event. He already pushed past Bluiett, now he sets his sights on Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead. Fittingly, the two will actually square off tonight in a game that matters infinitely more.
Why Whitehead would in
He's a devastating one-on-one player who is comfortable with the rock in his hands at all times. He has improved his 3-point shooting and has the speed to turn the corner on Bentil. What else do you need?
Why Bentil would win
Height. Strength. Rebounding. Those are your reasons. Bentil's height would give Whitehead some trouble around the rim and would keep the Seton Hall guard from being able to back down into the post or muscle his way to the basket. Then there's the fact that most balls that clang off the rim would go Bentil's way, giving him a major edge.
Who would win
It all depends on how well Whitehead is shooting. If he can make some jumpers early and force Bentil to cheat up, he can then burn past his opponent and get some easy buckets. If not, Bentil will just eat up rebounds, post up and score via hook shots and up and unders. I still lean Whitehead but only for the fact that being able to handle the ball is an important strength and one Bentil doesn't really have.
Now that I've had my say, its time for you to go out a vote. Fill out your ballot below and tune in next week for the third installment.