The ink on the Southeast Region bracket was barely dry when CBS analyst Seth Davis pronounced that the University of Wisconsin's stay in the NCAA men's basketball tournament will be a short one.
"I think Belmont runs it," Davis said.
No, Davis wasn't picking the Bruins to run the table, a.k.a. win the national title.
But he does like the small Nashville school to upset the Badgers in the teams' NCAA tournament opener Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz., and the reason is Belmont's up-tempo style.
The Bruins average 80.4 points per game, are second nationally in forcing turnovers at 19.2 per game and come at you in waves, with 11 players averaging double-digit minutes.
On the other end of the stick you have the Badgers, who are coming off a pair of ugly losses — a 28-point setback at top-ranked Ohio State to end the regular season, and a 33-point effort against Penn State in the Big Ten quarterfinals that was the program's worst output in 12 years.
Combine that with the uncertainty surrounding the availability of sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz (sprained right knee) — whose absence would severely hamper already lackluster depth — and Wisconsin's track record of NCAA tourney punchouts against lower seeds (three in the last four years) and UW makes itself an easy target.
Take Davis' pick with a grain of salt if you like, because the avowed risk-taker predicted a slew of upsets in Wisconsin's portion of the region, including ninth-seeded Old Dominion over eighth-seeded Butler and 12th-seeded Utah State over fifth-seeded Kansas State.
Cautioned Davis: "I always tell people, don't use my brackets, because I like t pick upsets. I don't play it safe. But this is a year not to play it safe. There are a lot of good basketball teams in this tournament."
Davis wasn't alone in predicting problems for the Badgers. ESPN's Jay Bilas said Wisconsin wasn't "done any favors" by the assignment, noting that the Bruins can score in the paint, and fellow ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb also called the upset.
"The fact that Wisconsin inverts its offense I don’t think will bother them too much," Gottlieb said.
Last but far from least, John Feinstein of the Washington Post — the author of several college basketball books, including the classic "Season on the Brink" that chronicled Indiana's 1987 NCAA championship team — calls Wisconsin vs. Belmont "http://www.washingtonpost.com/southeast-pitt-had-best-beware-odu-butler-winner/2011/03/12/ABqfRBU_story.html" target="_blank">the really dangerous opening game" of the Southeast Region.