It’s time to make a public fool of myself again, so I’ve decided to share my picks for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – and knowing how I am with picks, someone out there should probably be on their way to out Vegas to place some bets.
First, a few things to know. A 5 seed beats a 12 seed every year. I no longer consider this an upset. A 9 seed defeating an 8 seed is not an upset. My good friend Jodie will be pleased to see that, after years of being burned by picking Kansas to win it all, I’m not doing that this year. No, no more picking Kansas to be the National Champ – I will also continue to pick against North Carolina and Duke when it comes to winning the title. I am also sticking to past, hard-earned practices, so I will not be picking a Bob Huggins to win the tournament, nor will I be picking Arizona. I only wish Texas Tech and Syracuse would have made the tournament so that I could be guaranteed of picking at least two first-round games correctly by picking those two to lose.
So let’s get on with it.
THE EAST REGIONAL:
Number 1 seed North Carolina defeats the 16 seed, which will be the winner of the Tuesday night play-in game. Number 2 seed Tennessee will defeat 15 seed American. Three seed Louisville defeats 14 seed Boise State. Number 4 seed Washington State defeats 13 seed Winthrop. Twelve seed George Mason defeats 5 seed Notre Dame. In my first big upset of the first-round, 11 seed St. Joseph’s defeats 6 seed Oklahoma. Number 7 seed Butler takes care of 10 seed South Alabama. And 9 seed Arkansas defeats 8 seed Indiana.
Carolina will then defeat Arkansas. Washington State will get past George Mason. Tennessee will defeat Butler, and Louisville will beat up on St. Joseph. North Carolina will then beat Washington State and Louisville will defeat Tennessee. Louisville will then go the Final Four by upsetting North Carolina.
THE MIDWEST REGIONAL:
The Number 1 seed Kansas beats 16 seed Portland State. Two seed Georgetown takes out number 15 UMBC. Three seed Wisconsin beats 14 seed Cal State-Fullerton. Four seed Vanderbilt defeats 13 seed Siena. Five seed Clemson beats 12 seed Villanova. Six seed USC beats 11 seed Kansas State. Ten seed Davidson – in the midst of a 22-game winning streak – defeats 7 seed Gonzaga in a match of mid-major powers. And 9 seed Kent State beats 8 seed UNLV.
Kansas then defeats Kent State while Clemson defeats Vanderbilt. Georgetown takes out Davidson and USC upsets Wisconsin. Kansas beats Clemson and USC beats Georgetown. Kansas, however, defeats USC to make the Final Four.
THE WEST REGIONAL:
Number 1 UCLA takes out 16 Mississippi Valley State. Number 2 Duke handles 15 Belmont. Three Xavier hangs on again everyone’s favorite underdog Georgia – the Bulldogs may be only 17-16 on the season, but to qualify for the Tourney, they had to win four games in three days due to the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta on Friday night and screwed around with the SEC Tournament. Number 4 Connecticut beats 13 San Diego. The 5 seed Drake handles 12 Western Kentucky. In a mild upset, 11 seed Baylor defeats 6 seed Purdue. In another mild upset, 10 seed Arizona defeats 7 seed West Virginia – I refuse to pick Bob Huggins coached teams. And to finish out the first round, 8 seed BYU defeats 9 seed Texas A&M.
UCLA then defeats BYU. Drake upsets Connecticut. Duke handles Arizona, and Xavier easily dispatches Baylor. UCLA then gets rid of Drake and Duke gets rid of Xavier, but Duke is no match for UCLA, as UCLA heads for the Final Four.
THE SOUTH REGIONAL:
Hey kids, I don’t think it’s too late for you to get tickets to the Sweet Sixteen games for this regional that will be held out Reliant Stadium. Of course, the seats will probably suck, and you’ll probably be surrounded by Longhorn fans, so it might not be worth the ticket price. Anyway…
One seed Memphis easily handles 16 seed Texas-Arlington, just as 2 seed Texas handles 15 seed Austin Peay. Number 3 seed Stanford defeats 14 seed Cornell in a battle of the brains. Four seed Pittsburgh easily defeats 13 seed Oral Roberts. I’ll make my friend Jill happy and pick 5 seed Michigan State to beat 12 Temple. Number 6 Marquette will dispatch 11 Kentucky. Number 7 Miami will beat 12 St. Mary’s. And number 9 Oregon defeats 8 Mississippi State.
Memphis will defeat Oregon. Pittsburgh will defeat Michigan State. Texas will defeat Miami, and Stanford will defeat Marquette. Then in Houston, Memphis will beat Pittsburgh and Stanford will upset Texas. And the Final Four will be settled as Memphis defeats Stanford.
THE FINAL FOUR:
Louisville defeats Kansas.. And UCLA defeats Memphis. And with Jim Nantz and Billy Packer doing everything possible to make the game unwatchable, UCLA will defeat Louisville.
But just remember. I have been known to be wrong. And, as always, your picks are welcome. Just leave them in the comments box. – John Royal