You can watch as much of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology as possible, study your match-ups and build your Excel spreadsheets, but the office secretary who picked her teams based on mascots will still beat you.
Yes, it is that time of the year again: March Madness.
And luckily for us college hoops fans here in Phoenix, the West Regional will be landing at the US Airways Center March 22 and 24.
Tickets through Ticketmaster already are sold out, but they are currently on sale on StubHub. Get them now before the tournament gets started and before fans make plans to come to Phoenix to support their teams.
If rankings play out, there could be some high-profile programs coming through town.
From Big 10 Tournament champion Michigan State (27-7) to Big East Tournament champion Louisville (26-9), the best of the best have the opportunity to play in the building Barkley built.
That’s only if they can get past some of the dark horses hidden within the West Regional.
And what would March Madness be without some of the tournament-defining upsets?
So here we go. My predictions. Because what kind of March Madness article would this be without them?
While I’ve been doing March Madness brackets for more than 10 years now, I am in no way an expert. Because, truthfully, no one is thanks to past teams like Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason.
I’m going to break this down region by region.
In the South Regional, there aren’t too many teams that will get the upper hand in the earlier rounds. And picking VCU in the 5-12 matchup versus Wichita St. is not going to give you the edge on any of your friends or co-workers, as they are likely to pick after the runs they’ve made in the past.
But watch out for Indiana. Even though they are a four seed, they still have a tough road ahead facing the No. 1 overall Kentucky in the Sweet 16 (if both make it there). And don’t forget about Indiana’s year-defining win over Kentucky earlier this season.
I expect to see Indiana taking out Baylor in the Elite 8 and representing the South Region in the Final Four.
My end result of the West Regional may be a little conventional, but leading up to that I took some risks with my picks.
And while this may not be a shocker due to their amazing record (30-1), Murray State is going to face Michigan State in the Elite 8.
Also, watch the Lobos from New Mexico as a I predict them taking out Louisville in the round of 32. I don’t see them getting past Michigan State, which will eventually head to the Final Four in New Orleans out of the West.
Like the West Regional, my end results here are not very unconventional.
While Syracuse and Ohio State sat in the top 10 rankings all year long, it’s the Florida State Seminoles who you need to watch out for. Coming off their ACC Tournament championship, and beating Duke and UNC both twice this year, they are my pick to come out of the East Regional.
With experienced guards and an athletic inside game, this is the year the usually-disappointing Seminoles make a run in the tournament.
And riding off alumni’s Linsanity, watch Harvard to win the 5-12 matchup against Vanderbilt, and then upset No. 4 seed Wisconsin.
And finally, the Midwest.
We’ll start with the upsets. After San Diego State takes out NC State in the first round, look for them to end No. 3 Georgetown’s championship dreams.
Also, Cal., coming off the play-in game vs. South Florida will follow my trend of 5-12 upsets taking out Temple. And if Cal doesn’t beat South Florida in the play-in game, look to see the athletic USF team create the 5-12 upset on their terms.
Every year I seem to end up picking Kansas to make a nice run in the tournament, and it’s the same this year. I don’t know what it is about the Jayhawks and coach Bill Self, but they impress me every year. And this year is no different.
On the left bracket we’re going to see Indiana and Michigan State meet in New Orleans. While Michigan State should be the obvious victor in this matchup, Indiana will be riding a string of huge victories that will carry them into the championship.
And on the right, the Seminoles and the Jayhawks will also be meeting in New Orleans. The inside play of Robinson will be too much for the Seminoles to handle, propelling Jayhawks into the NCAA championship tournament for the first time since 2008.
On April 2, Indiana’s amazing tournament run will end. Kansas has too many weapons inside and out and will win the university’s fourth national championship.
To see all my March Madness bracket picks, click here.