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NCAA March Madness 2014: Picks, Predictions and Upset Alerts

by Jason Radowitz | Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014

It’s that time of the year. It only happens once a year, but when NCAA’s March Madness finally comes around, we skip school/work, skip eating, and watch our brackets, although most of the teams you picked to win, you’ve never watched before in your life.

Don’t worry; I’ve watched these teams play. I’ve made my picks. I’m just waiting to win $1,000,000,000 on April 7th.

OK, I won’t take it that far. The chances of a perfect bracket are basically impossible. There are 9.2 quintillion different combinations in a 64-team bracket.

But I do hope to help you out in getting the most correct picks in your pool so you can win some money.

SOUTH:

(1) FLORIDA vs. (16) ALBANY: Numbers don’t lie. Well, sometimes they do. But not this time. A one-seed has never lost to a 16-seed in this tournament. College basketball fans would love to see that happen soon, however, the Florida Gators, who swept the SEC during the season (18-0), will easily defeat a hot Albany team that won the America East Conference to make the tournament. After they became AEC Champions, they won against Mt. Saint Mary’s in a play-in game for the 16 seed. Albany is tired. Florida’s efficiency in every category will outdo Albany for the easy victory.

(8) COLORADO vs. (9) PITTSBURGH: I’m not calling this an upset, but in bracket numbers, it’s going to be an upset. Early on, I loved Colorado. But they’re just 9-9 in their last 18 games. They’re sub-par play began when Spencer Dinwiddle tore his ACL, ending his season early. He led the team in points and assists on the year. All of Colorado’s major wins came early in the season, against Kansas and Oregon, helping their resume for a higher seed. Pittsburgh on the other hand, keeps every game close. But unfortunately, they can’t always close out their games. Big wins for their resume include no wins against top 25 teams during the season. Looking at their schedule, they’ve lost very close games to Syracuse and Virginia. It’s going to be a close game. But give me Pittsburgh. Hopefully they could close this game against a Colorado team that has struggled as of late.

(5) VCU vs. (12) STEPHEN F. AUSTIN: VCU has been there and done that. But that was when they were a lower seed playing against the higher seed, fishing for an upset. Now Stephen F. Austin is looking to do what VCU has done in the recent years. And this will potentially be the first major upset that could take place. On their resume, VCU beat Virgina in their second game of the season and split two games with Saint Louis. On the other hand, Stephen F. Austin have won 28 straight games, but their strength of schedule was nothing to be proud of. VCU could play reckless at times, on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. That turns into many steals on defense, but also many turnovers on offense as well. Stephen F. Austin play smart basketball on offense, dishing until they find an open shooter. On defense, they create 16 turnovers on the opposition. VCU might hit a rock here. Give me Stephen F. Austin for the upset in the second round.

(4) UCLA vs. (13) TULSA: UCLA is fresh off a Pac-12 Championship, beating Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona with some real impressive play by Kyle Anderson. UCLA might have the most “NBA talent” on their roster which could really strengthen UCLA in this tournament. Tulsa won the C-USA tournament, winning their last 11 games. However, their games against the major teams in the NCAA were all lost. UCLA is a major team this year. A team that could really do some damage this year, especially if Anderson continues his rampage. Give me UCLA here. Don’t even think twice.

(6) OHIO STATE vs. (11) DAYTON: I think many people believed that Ohio State would have a better season than they did. The Buckeyes began playing stellar winning every game in 2013, but they faltered after an overtime loss to Michigan State. Losses continued to pour in against Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. But after that Ohio State was able to beat Wisconsin, Iowa (split), and Michigan State. Ohio State is very capable competing against any powerhouse team. But their inconsistent play might prevent them from going far. Dayton is deep, but it’s possible they could be too deep. They’re only major wins are against Gonzaga and St. Louis as they were just one point away from defeating Baylor. Dayton sees basically their entire team contribute. But in the tournament, having that one go-to guy is key for victory. While this game will be close. I’ll give it an upset alert. But I would still take Ohio State. Just know it’s possible. Don’t be surprised if the Dayton Flyers upset the Buckeyes.

(3) SYRACUSE vs. (14) WESTERN MICHIGAN: Syracuse was on a roll in the beginning of the season. No one ever thought they would lose. But someone turned the switch off on the Orange and they weren’t able to get that switch fully back to on. It took Syracuse until February 19th against Boston College to lose (in overtime). But ever since that loss, Syracuse has just two wins in their last seven games. We won’t take away their wins against Baylor, Villanova, Duke, and Pittsburgh. They had an impressive run going. If Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair get back to their consistent ways, Cuse could be deadly. WMU won the MAC tournament, leading their way into March Madness, however, they have no incredible wins to point out. The Orange know they need to get back on track. And they will.

(7) NEW MEXICO vs. (10) STANFORD: This year might be the year of the Pac-12, but it won’t be because of Stanford. The New Mexico Lobos have won 20 of their last 23 games with help from Cameron Bairstow, who is averaging more than 20 points per game. After defeating San Diego State to win the Mountain West trophy, it was clear that New Mexico could be the largest underdog in this tournament. However, early losses to Massachusetts, Kansas, and New Mexico State won’t help my case at all. Stanford has played tougher competition this season, beating UCONN, Oregon, and UCLA. The Stanford crew is experienced and with play against major teams, that could call for the upset. But with a trio of scorers for New Mexico, I’ll go with the hot and ready Lobos.

(2) KANSAS vs. (15) EASTERN KENTUCKY: Joel Embiid. I would end it right there, however, the rising super-star will be out of their first few rounds due to injury. But the exciting thing is that the Jayhawks are so deep that they also have top-prospect Andrew Wiggins to carry the load as they wait for the thrilling duo to return. Eastern Kentucky has proved that they could score…against bad defenses. Don’t fall in to the trap. EKU isn’t who you think they are. They can’t beat the top guns. Give me Kansas all day.

THIRD ROUND:

(1) FLORIDA vs. (9) PITTSBURGH: Remember when I said Pittsburgh can’t close out against good team? Well, Florida is not just a good team. They are considered to be the best team in the nation. Pittsburgh might keep it close, but Florida and SEC conference player of the year Scottie Wilbekin will not allow an upset this early.

(12) STEPHEN F. AUSTIN vs. (4) UCLA: If Stephen F. Austin pulls out the upset against VCU, that would be enough for the overachievers. Like I wrote above, UCLA has NBA talent that only a couple of teams in the nation have. UCLA has this one in the books. Kyle Anderson will be the name to remember after the tournament.

(6) OHIO STATE vs. (3) SYRACUSE: I would say, sit down, grab a beer and watch a thrilling game…but I know that you’ll instead be on the edge of your seat hoping that whoever you picked in this game will win. This is a tough game to decide. The Buckeyes could play with anyone. But which Buckeye team comes alive? Better yet, which Syracuse are we going to see in the tournament? This is a toss-up. This is hard. But I’m going to play it safe and say Syracuse will continue on their way to the Sweet Sixteen of the tourny.

(7) NEW MEXICO vs. (2) KANSAS: New Mexico has a trio of scorers that get the job done. Kansas has plenty of scorers that get the job done as well. While I could also label this as an “upset alert”, I believe in Jayhawks head coach Bill Self to pull his talented team together in this tournament. Once Kansas leaves St. Louis and onto the Sweet Sixteen, Joel Embiid could be back in the starting lineup. Then Kansas would be a serious threat.

SWEET SIXTEEN:

(1) FLORIDA vs. (4) UCLA: I’ve heard many analysts say that not one number one seed will make the final four. This year is most definitely possible. I know you can tell I’m high on UCLA. They’re a major threat to Florida. Will the defense of the Gators be enough to stop UCLA’s high powered offense? Look, if UCLA can steal 8-10 times in this game and score consistently, UCLA has a legitimate chance at winning this game. But Florida has three seniors that don’t want their seasons ending just yet. Those seniors can’t get fouls on their shoulders early, especially Patric Young. It’s Florida’s defense against UCLA’s offense. Just remember: Kyle Anderson. UCLA and their offense will upset Florida to move onto the Elite Eight.

(3) SYRACUSE vs. (2) KANSAS: I can’t tell the future. But I can tell you this. If Joel Embiid is back and healthy, the Jayhawks will have it easy against a Syracuse team that is nothing like before. If Embiid isn’t back, the (2-3) Kansas team might surrender a loss to a possibly hot Syracuse team. I believe Embiid will be back, allowing Kansas to move onto the Elite Eight against Florida.

ELITE EIGHT:

(4) UCLA vs. (2) KANSAS: Both of these teams have potential to go all the way. Usually the Pac-12 lets you down during March Madness. That’s going to happen again here. Kansas and their super-team will outplay UCLA moving them to the Final Four and the winners of the South bracket.

EAST:

(1) VIRGINIA vs. (16) COASTAL CAROLINA: I never expected this. Virginia, out of the ACC, is a one-seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. They deserve it. Their slow-pace play has led them to a great deal of success winning the ACC tournament for only the second time in school history. Although Coastal Carolina won the Big South, any major competition they played, they lost to. An upset is not going to happen. Virginia will win this one easily.

(8) MEMPHIS vs. (9) GEORGE WASHINGTON: This year Memphis has scored with absolute ease…but in their last five games, they’ve had issues with turnovers and foul shots losing four of their last five games. However, during the season, Memphis beat Louisville (twice), Gonzaga, and only lost to Florida by two points. George Washington has had a tough time beating top tier teams. Wins against Creighton, St Joe’s and splits with VCU and UMass aren’t exactly the resume George Washington was looking for. Memphis has stuck with the best of the best. Look for Memphis to take this one.

(5): CINCINNATI vs. (12) HARVARD: Cincinnati is the largest puzzle to solve in this nation. They’re defense is great and they have one of the best scorers in Sean Kilpatrick. But he’s basically their only scorer. Harvard doesn’t lack anything. They’re average in just about every category. Then against, Harvard hasn’t really played against a big-time school like Cincinnati. With two losses to Colorado and UConn, it’s really hard to measure if Harvard could be up for the task. But today, I feel smart. But I’m too tired to solve a 1,000 piece puzzle. I’m calling upset alert here. Harvard over Cincy.

(4) MICHIGAN STATE vs. (13) DELAWARE: At the beginning of the year, Michigan State was the team to beat. Now at the end of the year, Michigan State is still the team to beat, according to many analysts from popular media outlets. And rightfully so. Michigan State is heating up, finally playing to their full potential, after winning the Big Ten conference in a rivalry showdown against Michigan. Now fully healthy, it’s going to be very tough to stop a tough Michigan State team that has many players who played in the tournament last year, including Keith Appling, Adrain Payne, Gary Harris, and Brandon Dawson. I just named four players on one team. Now you know how good this Michigan State team is. But if you may know, Delaware won the CAA conference tournament to dance. Their resume has no large wins against big time teams. And Michigan State is most likely the biggest team. Good luck Delaware. It’s needed.

(6) UNC vs. (11) PROVIDENCE: What happened to the UNC we know? North Carolina has been nothing but inconsistent this year. They’re no powerhouse anymore. They’re just streaky. UNC has lost their last two games. I think their losing streak will continue against a hot and confident Providence team. UNC has much more talent compared to Providence. But with a three game sweep in the Big East tournament, I think Providence will be able to pull this game out. Give me the upset here. I’ll take a hot team over a cold team any day, even if the hot team has the less talented players.

(3) IOWA STATE vs (14) NC CENTRAL: I love Iowa State. Their high-powered offense is very fun to watch. I also love winning streaks. Iowa State just won the Big 12, which was ranked as the number one college basketball division this year. The Cyclones have beat Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor twice. DeAndre Kane does just about everything on the floor while Melvin Ejim works the glass. I also love NC Central. You may not have heard of them, but they’ve had an outstanding season. They went 15-1 in the MEAC with help from Jeremy Ingram who averages 20.6 points per game. While they don’t have a win against a top team, they’ve come close against Wichita State and Cincinnati. They did however get a win against NC State this year. There’s just no way I can take NC Central here though. Iowa State is too good.

(7) CONNECTICUT vs. (10) ST. JOE’S: This will be one fairly matched, even, exciting, down to the wire game. We get it, UCONN can’t beat Louisville. But they could beat everyone else. If it weren’t for Louisville, UCONN would be a higher seed and in better position in the tournament. They are led by Shabazz Napier who has emerged as one of the best guards in the nation. St Joe’s on the other hand has impressed with their shooting. But because UCONN is so efficient with their defense as well, UCONN is just the better team. St. Joe’s after winning the A-10 conference tournament will go home, but we will always remember how St. Joe’s basketball got back on the map for good after this year.

(2) VILLANOVA vs. (15) MILWAUKEE: You’re going to think I’m crazy. I am. Villanova has not played well as of late. Milwaukee has caught fire winning the Horizon tournament to get into NCAA’s March Madness. Villanova chucks up too many threes per game. If they miss, Milwaukee will be in this game the entire 40 minutes. As long as Milwaukee slows the pace and makes smart plays on offense, I see an upset in the making. Villanova is not a two seed. I’m literally taking Milwaukee here. Upset city!

THIRD ROUND:

(1) VIRGINIA vs. (8) MEMPHIS: As long as Virginia plays their pace, they will win this game. The Cavaliers will need to stop Memphis from many scoring opportunities, keep the score down, and make smart plays. Virginia plays smart. Memphis hasn’t been good as of late. Give me Virginia here.

(12) HARVARD vs. (4) MICHIGAN STATE: Harvard hasn’t played much competition this year. Michigan State’s schedule is filled with high-end match-ups. It’s also filled with wins against many of those high-end teams and they’ve caught fire as of late with their healthy roster in full effect. This game will be too easy for the Spartans.

(11) PROVIDENCE vs. (3) IOWA STATE: The Cyclones’ journey won’t end here. Providence was on a run, but Iowa State was on a even larger run, against teams that have a much larger resume. As long as Iowa State doesn’t send Providence to the line, this game should be settled rather quickly. Iowa State’s moving on.

(7) CONNECTICUT vs. (15) MILWAUKEE: Like I said earlier, UCONN is much better than their rank shows. Milwaukee would be coming off a huge upset victory over Villanova. But with big-time player in Shabazz Napier and some brilliant outside shooting from DeAndre Daniels and Niels Giffey, Connecticut is a threat to many teams this year, despite their seven seed label. Milwaukee’s road ends after the second round. UCONN will ride to the Sweet 16.

SWEET SIXTEEN:

(1) VIRGINIA vs. (4) MICHIGAN STATE: This is going to be one exciting game. There’s no way to decide games like this but with your gut or with a random thought you had right before the brackets lock. My random thought to choose this game is that analysts will jinx Michigan State against Virginia and the Cavaliers will escape defeat from Michigan State. The Spartans have a team full of upperclassman and solid players. Virginia doesn’t have those star players, but they do have cohesiveness. Their defense is very admirable. I’m sticking with the one seed here. Not going to fall in the trap and lose Michigan State to all of these analysts jinxing them. After all, they are a four seed for a reason. Yes, they’re finally healthy. I get it. Virginia is healthy too.

(3) IOWA STATE vs. (7) CONNECTICUT: Both of these teams deserve to make it to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately, that can’t happen. Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane vs. UCONN’s Shabazz Napier. That’s going to be fun. Essentially, Kane does more on the court than Napier does if you combine all categories. The problem is that as a team, Connecticut’s defense is far more superior than Iowa State’s. But their offense will outdo UCONN’s and Iowa State will survive another day.

ELITE EIGHT:

(1) VIRGINIA vs. (3) IOWA STATE: Iowa State needs to run an up-tempo offense against Virginia. But how can they do that? Virginia has gotten their way all year, slowing down the pace of the game and finding their open shot while using the entire shot clock. Virginia has the ingredients to shut down a flaming hot Cyclone team. The Cavs will win this game, moving onto the Final Four.

 WEST:

(1) ARIZONA vs. (16) WEBER STATE: The Arizona Wildcats have some very impressive wins on their resume. They beat Duke, Michigan, San Diego State, and have split with UCLA and Oregon. While they fell just short against UCLA in the PAC-12 tournament, they are no joke. However, the loss of Brandon Ashley has hurt the Wildcats in the long run. Others have stepped up, but another body like Ashley would have been a big plus for the Wildcats to make a run. Although Weber State won the Big Sky conference title, they’ll have to reach for the sky if they even want a chance. It’s never happened before. And it still won’t. Arizona, the one seed, will move on.

(8) GONZAGA vs. (9) OKLAHOMA STATE: Let’s be real. Both of these teams under-performed. Gonzaga didn’t have the most pleasant season compared to their recent ones, but it was good enough to win the WCC Championship. On the other hand, Oklahoma State has been pretty fantastic since Marcus Smart came back from his three game suspension after his altercation with a fan. The problem with OK State is that they don’t have any big men down low. Gonzaga has a balanced squad that could hurt you all kinds of ways. Samuel Dower will need to play well down low if Gonzaga wants a chance to beat Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State. Gonzaga will take this one. But barely.

(5) OKLAHOMA vs. (12) ND STATE: Do I hear upset? You think Oklahoma is good on offense, huh? Try them against the lock-down defense from North Dakota State. While North Dakota State doesn’t have a big win on their resume, the Sooners are just 1-4 against Top 25 teams this season. They’re nothing special either. I’ll risk it, roll the dice, and take the upset pick here.

(4) SAN DIEGO ST vs. (13) NM STATE: There’s upset alert written all over this game too. I know many people will have this one. But I’m not going to be so fast to pull the trigger. San Diego State hasn’t been shooting the ball well lately while New Mexico State has been able to shut down offenses during their previous five game winning streak. If San Diego State doesn’t find their rhythm, it’ll be an easy upset for NM State. But we can’t all forget that San Diego State went 29-4 on the season. SDSU had a huge win against Kansas during the season and lost to Arizona by just nine even earlier in the season. This team can play. Don’t try the upset here. It’s not going to happen.

(6) BAYLOR vs. (11) NEBRASKA: Both of these teams are red hot coming into the Madness. Baylor has been out-rebounding opponents every game. And that’s a huge problem for Nebraska, a team that doesn’t usually win the rebounding battle. Second chance opportunities will be given to Baylor. As long as they capitalize, Baylor should cruise past Nebraska.

(3) CREIGHTON vs. (14) LA-LAFAYETTE: Both of these teams have some great offenses. But it’s clear that Creighton has the better offense here as Doug McDermott has been basically unstoppable. His clutch shooting could bring these Bluejays far in the tournament. Their largest wins were against Villanova, a team I’m clearly not to fond about. But with a big offensive super-star, it’s easy to make this choice. Bluejays all the way. McDermott is ready to do big things for this program.

(7) OREGON vs (10) BYU: Oregon has proved that they could play against any team in the nation. They’ve split with Arizona, UCLA, and Arizona State, but also lost some close games including Colorado and Stanford. But BYU is just 1-5 against teams in the Top 25 this year, splitting with Gonzaga and beating Texas. With the loss of Kyle Collinsworth, who tore his ACL in the WCC tournament, it’s going to be hard for Tyler Haws and the BYU Cougers to move on past the second round. Oregon will win this one.

(2) WISCONSIN vs. (15) AMERICAN: American is known for their defense, but there’s no way Wisconsin will be stopped by American’s defense. Wisconsin has way too many weapons on offense to be stopped, plus with big wins against Florida and Virginia and splits against Michigan and Michigan State, it’s clear that Wisconsin will not be defeated by American. I already picked a 15 seed to beat a two seed. I won’t pick another one.

THIRD ROUND:

(1) ARIZONA vs. (8) GONZAGA: Arizona has played against tougher competition and has a lock-down defense to go along with Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon offensively. Gonzaga has been inconsistent all year. Who knows how they’ll play in this game. They have the talent to play with Arizona, but Arizona is most likely going to whip by Gonzaga and move onto the Sweet 16.

(12) ND STATE vs. (4) SAN DIEGO ST: I’m really hoping San Diego State is still playing in the third round. If their offense isn’t right, they won’t be here. But like I said, I’m hoping their offense gets back on track and they play like they used to. With that said, the Aztecs should be able to move on against North Dakota State, but be careful again. San Diego State will now have to face another tough defense. It’s going to be challenging, with SDSU should be able to move on against a North Dakota State team that has a slow paced offense.

(6) BAYLOR vs. (3) CREIGHTON: I’m a McDermott believer. Just like Stephen Curry, I’m almost positive Doug McDermott will carry Creighton through this tournament. He’s as clutch as they get. He’s as efficient as they get. There is no other prospect in this tournament that can do what Doug McDermott does. While both teams rebound well, I believe this game will go down to the wire. And if it goes down to the wire, I’m taking the best scorer in the nation; the most clutch player in the nation. That’s why I’ll take Creighton to move on to the Sweet Sixteen.

(7) OREGON vs. (2) WISCONSIN: I actually believe Oregon could pull this upset off. Like I said, It’s the PAC-12′s year. But Oregon’s defense needs to be a whole lot better and create some turnovers in this game. Problem there is that the Badgers don’t turn the ball over. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oregon beats this Wisconsin team. But I’m not going to put Oregon through on my bracket. It’s going to come down to if Wisconsin could make sure to rarely turn the ball over and take good shots. If they do that, Oregon doesn’t have a chance.

SWEET SIXTEEN:

(1) ARIZONA vs. (4) SAN DIEGO ST: You know how annoyed I am right now? I just put through the 1,2,3, and 4 seeds in this West side of the bracket. That essentially never happens. But this is the weakest side of the bracket. Anyway, Arizona already beat San Diego State this year by nine. But that was the second game of the season for SDSU and third for Arizona. I really can’t see Arizona losing to a team they already beat. Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon will need to step up and fill their box score. With the easiest road to the Elite Eight for a one seed this year, Arizona will get there safely.

(2) WISCONSIN vs. (3) CREIGHTON: High powered offense face-off. Doug McDermott will need to carry his team through this game. I just don’t see Creighton finishing this game with a win. Creighton’s defense isn’t too good and Wisconsin’s offense is almost unstoppable. Give me ‘Consin.

ELITE EIGHT:

(1) ARIZONA vs. (2) WISCONSIN: This one goes down to the wire. Wisconsin’s offense will be too much for Arizona to handle. Zona’s quest for the title comes to an end here and Wisconsin moves on to the final four, winning the West bracket.

MIDWEST:

(1) WICHITA STATE vs. (16) CAL POLY: Wichita State is undefeated. There’s really nothing else to say. Wichita State’s strength of schedule isn’t too appealing, but it’s enough to know that they will easily beat Cal Poly as Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker, and Fred VanVleet look to help Wichita State to a perfect season. Cal Poly has solid defense, but it won’t be solid enough to stop the Shockers.

(8) KENTUCKY vs. (9) KANSAS STATE: Kentucky is finally finding their groove with help from the Harrison twins and Julius Randle. While they’ve lost to Florida three times, their final time was only by one point, nearly winning the SEC and knocking Florida from the number one seed. A heartbreaker indeed, but I expect Kentucky to come back even more motivated to win this tournament. They’re very talented and capable of doing some damage in this tournament, although they are an eight seed. With Kansas State shooting poorly all season and Kentucky’s defense getting on point, it’s an easy one for me. Kentucky wins this one.

(5) ST. LOUIS vs. (12) NC STATE: St. Louis is filled with seniors as they return to the tournament for one last time. NC State has a great player in T.J. Warren but the rest of the team hasn’t proven they could score from anywhere on the court. St. Louis’ lockdown defense and above average offense should be enough to beat NC State.

(4) LOUISVILLE vs. (13) MANHATTAN: What better time to get hot than in March? That’s what Louisville has done and it’s paid off as they won the AAC conference tournament. However, they were given a very questionable four seed in the tournament. They’ve absolutely dominated opponents as of late. That won’t stop now. Manhattan shot well in the MAAC but they won’t nearly shoot well against the incredible Cardinal team.

(6) UMASS vs. (11) TENN: UMASS just got lucky. Tennessee just beat Iowa in overtime. Tired much? UMASS is 6-2 on neutral courts and don’t really struggle in any category. With wins against New Mexico, VCU, and Nebraska, it’s clear that UMASS deserves some credit. I know Tennessee has beat Virginia, but losses to Florida (three times), Wichita State, and Kentucky prove they aren’t elite enough. Give me UMass here.

(3) DUKE vs. (14) MERCER: Duke can shoot and they can shoot well. And if they don’t shoot well, leave it up to Jabari Parker to clean up the work down low. Although he’s been bad from the field, it’s March Madness, he’ll step up his game. Mercer has Ole Miss as their only major win on the year. They’re nothing for Duke. Nothing at all. Duke’s got this one.

(7) TEXAS vs. (10) ARIZONA STATE: Both of these teams have good wins and bad losses. Which games were better than the other? I’m not really sure. I do know that both teams play poorly on the road. But look, Texas has way more depth than Arizona. Depth is going to be key here. So give me Texas and their four players with double figures in points.

(2) MICHIGAN vs. (15) WOFFORD: Wofford is defensive minded. Michigan is offensive minded and defensive minded. Their offense is just going to be too much for Wofford. They’re losses include St. Louis, VCU, and Minnesota. If they can’t beat those teams, they’re not beating Michigan.

THIRD ROUND:

(1) WICHITA STATE vs. (8) KENTUCKY: I’m sorry Wichita State. I’m sorry. The streak is over. Kentucky is going to get hot during the tournament. I think Wichita State is a great team. I just think Kentucky’s going to be better. Kentucky has been inconsistent. But when they’re playing at the top of their level, they’re better than almost any team in the nation. Upset alert! I’m taking Kentucky over the number one-seeded Wichita State.

(5) ST. LOUIS vs. LOUISVILLE: Both of these teams are experienced. Louisville has more skill and they are coming off a destroying effort in the AAC. St. Louis couldn’t even make it to their conference championship in the A-10. St. Louis is slow paced, but with Russ Smith running the show, it’s going to be hard to make the game slow. That’s why it’s going to be Louisville taking this one.

(3) DUKE vs. (6) UMASS: Duke has all the tools to make a run to win this entire tournament. Duke has been just as inconsistent as the rest though. UMASS has shown they could play with the big mid-majors, but what about these big teams like Duke? Haven’t proved anything there yet. Let Duke go to work. They’ve got this.

(7) TEXAS vs. (2) MICHIGAN: Texas shoots poorly and Michigan shoots very well. Which way am I gonna go with this one? Michigan’s hungry to go further than what they achieved last year. Texas is basically no threat to Michigan, who when they want to poor it on, they poor it on. Michigan’s got this game in the books.

SWEET SIXTEEN:

(8) KENTUCKY vs. (4) LOUISVILLE: It’s happened once. Why not again? Kentucky beat Louisville earlier during this season. I hate jinx. I hate it. Michigan State and Louisville seem like they’ll be hit with the jinx this year by reporters. I’m riding with this Kentucky team. They’re going to roll pass Louisville in a close, close battle. It’s gonna be a good one. But upset alert!

(3) DUKE vs. (2) MICHIGAN: If Michigan has Mitch McGary, this would be a no brainer. It’s going to be tough for Michigan to contain Jabari Parker, but with all of their assets and solid perimeter defense, Duke will most likely be stopped. Duke loves that three-point ball. But when Michigan takes that away, all they will have is the paint. Duke hasn’t been too efficient in the paint this year. I want Michigan here.

ELITE EIGHT:

(8) KENTUCKY vs. (2) MICHIGAN: For good measure, Kentucky lost to Michigan State by just four points this season. Kentucky will work Michigan on defense, but in the end, clutch shooting and free throws from Nik Stauskas and Chris LeVert will slide Michigan past Kentucky ending Kentucky’s run in the Elite Eight. Michigan moves on to the final four.

FINAL FOUR:

(2) KANSAS vs. (1) VIRGINIA: As long as Virginia could settle down, take time off the clock and make Kansas turn the ball over like they’ve been doing lately, I don’t see why Virginia can’t move on to the Championship game. It’s going to be tough for Virginia, however, if Kansas’ Joel Embiid is back and playing at a high level. Whoever can make the game turn into their style of play will win this game. Virginia will make Kansas play their game.

(2) WISCONSIN vs. (2) MICHIGAN: I told you what Michigan wanted earlier. They wanted to get further than last year, improving on all sides of the ball. Determined to do so, they’re shooting will be uncanny from everywhere around the court. Wisconsin will be shooting the ball well, but it’s really the defense that turns into the X-factor. Michigan wins on the defensive end. Note: They split the season series.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:

(1) VIRGINIA vs. (2) MICHIGAN: Find someone else with this match-up! I dare you! Anyway, this game will be played one possession at a time. Virginia will make sure Michigan doesn’t get much of a opportunity to shoot their mistakes away.  With many scorers on both teams, shooting will need to be efficient. Michigan has more shooters but Virginia is more patient with their shots. That’s why the edge goes to Virginia, making them 2014 NCAA National Champions.

I hope you guys enjoyed. Good luck with your brackets!

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  1. Mike Harun says:

    Great article Jason! Gotta agree with most of your predictions, except I have Michigan edging out Florida for the National Championship…

    Once again, well done!

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