This year's NCAA Division I Men's basketball may be the most unpredictable ever! Just look at the national tournaments going on now and have just finished. In the NAIA tournaments, the women's #1 seed was downed in the Sweet 16, and the third place team in the Mid-Central Conference ended up winning the National Championship. As I saw in the NCCAA Women's tournament last week, the rankings aren't always right as the #2 seed finished in eighth place and the #7 seed was the national runner-up.
So who's it going to be this year? Here are my thoughts on each of the four regionals.
St. Louis: The best game in this bracket will be the second round matchup in Providence between Tennessee and Georgetown. Both teams have beaten very good competition this year. In fact, Tennessee has beaten Kentucky AND Kansas! But, I like Georgetown in a familiar setting. That's not the only game I like Georgetown in; I like Greg Monroe and the Hoyas as Regional Champions! That's right, coach Thompson III will be in the Final Four.
Salt Lake City: Upset alert- Butler is going down. I like UTEP as the Cinderella of this year's tournament. I was high on Butler earlier this year, but not playing top competition at the end of the year may hurt them. I'll take the Miners all the way to the Sweet 16. In the Regional Final, I like Syracuse over Pittsburgh, with the Orange getting revenge on the team that downed them in the Big East tourney.
Houston: Last year, my bold and brave pick that took me towards the top of the leader board in my pool was Villanova. They made me look really good. This year, I see them falling in the Regional title game to Duke. As a Blue Devil backer, this is the team everyone has been waiting for with John Scheyer and Kyle Singler more mature and leading the team in scoring. Brian Zoubeck has been a nice compliment in the low post. What about Purdue? The Boilers might be the biggest question mark in the entire tournament. With a healthy Rob Hummel, they are likely a #1 seed, and I have no reservations about putting them on the last line. Which one of Purdue's 11 first half points against Minnesota did you enjoy the most? There's no way Matt Painter allows that to happen again. Purdue will make the Sweet 16 after Painter conveys to Chris Kramer and JaJuan Johnson they need to take this team over.
Syracuse: Saving the best for last. My biggest upset of all: Give me Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns in the Final Four. A #8 seed in the Final Four? Yes. Kentucky is good, but I like the Horns' resume. They've seen good competition all season long (Baylor, Kansas, Pitt, Michigan State, Kansas State), and they have a great coaching staff to adjust to tourney play. I also have Clemson downing #2 West Virginia in the round of 32. They've battled through a tough ACC schedule and West Virginia has looked sluggish at times.
Indianapolis (Final Four): Syracuse downs Georgetown and Duke takes out Texas on Saturday. In Monday's championship, Coach K gets his hands back on that National Championship trophy as the Blue Devils down the Orange 77-69.