I am going to share my picks on this years tourney. If you are looking for an expert opinion stop reading. I spend most of my sports attention on the Brown's, Indians, and Cav's plus OSU football. Every March though I enjoy filling out the bracket and while I don't see many games I usually do pretty good with the brackets. Last year I only had 2 of the final four but still picked Kentucky to win it all, I know that was a tough one to call. I did miss Uconn two years ago but after that I would have to go back to 07 for the last time I missed picking the champ and that was one where I picked more with my heart then my head. I still had an incredibly tough time this year and probably would have been better off throwing darts or letting my wife pick the favorite uniform but here we go. By the way I still count the Tuesday/Wednesday games as play ins and round one starts on Thursday.
In the south region I have compete chalk for round one, which if that happens I guess would be an upset of it's own. The MAC usually causes trouble but I could not have Akron beating their old coach without their starting point guard. I did have VCU knocking off Michigan to get to the sweet 16 and UCLA knocking off Florida but that is where the "upsets" end. I have Kansas and Georgetown in the elite 8 with Kansas winning the region. There was a small part of me almost picking UNC to upset Kansas, but I don't think Roy Williams will be able to pull off that feat with an inferior team.
In the East region is where nearly all my upsets lie. I have the 9,10,12, and 13 seed all pulling off upsets in the first round. When picking brackets you almost always have to pick two 12 seeds to win and here is the first of my two. No doubt Syracuse is the better then Montana but is there a team that has to travel farther? I picked Cal and Butler to join Indiana and Miami in the sweet 16. I have the streaky Miami going down to Butler who is going to upset the Hoosiers to punch their ticket to yet another final four. I have become a huge fan of Brad Stevens over the last few years and if Thad ever left the Buckeyes he would be number one on my wishlist.
The Midwest region has the overall number 1 seed in Louisville and much like my Buckeyes a few years ago seem to be punished for that by being in the toughest region. In my opinion they have the strongest 2 seed, 3 seed, and I have seen quite a few predictions of St Louis winning the region. Well I do have Mizzou winning one game before bowing out to Louisville. I went back and forth on the Oregon game before selecting my second 12 seed to advance although I really see that game going either way. The next upset in this bracket will be Creighton knocking off Duke, we all know illogical reasons are sometimes right and history shows Duke seems to really struggle as a 2 seed. By the way two weeks ago Duke was who I was leaning towards winning the whole thing , I know completely illogical. I do have another double digit seed in the sweet 16 with Oregon knocking off St Louis. All said and done thought I have Michigan State coming out of the region outlasting Louisville in the regional final.
Lastly my Buckeyes region, the west. I really did not anticipate being a homer pick, even last week I was thinking elite 8 at best for OSU. Until they knocked off Indiana a few weeks ago I would not have been surprised to see them miss the sweet 16. They have a great coach though and have been playing well with 8 straight wins. In the first round the only upset I have is Belmont winning, actually I have them beating New Mexico as well and I think they will give OSU all they can handle, if Thomas has an off game the buckeyes can be in trouble. but I do have OSU winning not just against Belmont but also getting past the 4 seed Kansas St who will provide the only other upset in the West when they knock off Gonzaga.
The Final four is Kansas, Michigan State, Butler and Ohio State. In this year where no team really separated itself as a clear cut favorite to win it all I think the experience of these teams head coaches will make the difference. I would love to pick my Buckeyes to advance to the title game and while I think it will go down to the wire I don't see them knocking off Tom Izzo's team for a third time this season. On the other side I would love to see Brad Stevens get his team back to the championship game, but I do think Kansas will end the Bull dogs run this year. So in this year of unpredictability who do I have cutting down the nets April 8th? That would be Kansas, a team that lost it's regular season finale, and had a horrible week to start February. Other then that they were nearly flawless, as a matter of fact their only other loss to tarnish their resume was back in November on a neutral site, the Georgia Dome, their opponent, yep you guessed it, Michigan State.