NCAA hoops: Hereís picking the NCAA Tournament bracket
By Tom Sorensen
For 20 years Iíve finished my picks an hour after the NCAA tournament brackets were released, and weíve run them in Mondayís Observer.
We didnít do that this year. I chose to watch the CBS selection show with the Winthrop basketball team instead. I did this in part because I like Winthrop and in part because, after stunning success in the early days, Iíve slumped.
So this is an experiment. Instead of reacting, I took time to think. If the theory works, I might try it in other facets of my life.
First-round winners are Kansas, Nevada-Las Vegas, Michigan State, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Ohio State. Kansas beats UNLV, Michigan State mildly upsets Maryland, Georgetown handles Tennessee and, in the battle of the OSUs, Ohio State prevails. Kansas beats Michigan State and Ohio State beats Georgetown. The Jayhawks beat the Buckeyes by five and advance to the Final Four.
First-round winners are Syracuse, Gonzaga, Butler, Vanderbilt, Xavier ó problem with the team Xavier will beat, Minnesota, is that the academic standards of the Gophers are such that they might as well play in the Ivy League, and I would say that even if I hadnít gone to school there ó Pittsburgh, Brigham Young and Kansas State. Syracuse beats Gonzaga, Vanderbilt beats Butler, Xavier, a team that passes superbly, upsets Pittsburgh and Kansas State beats BYU. Syracuse trounces Vanderbilt and Kansas State beats Xavier by two. Syracuse beats Kansas State and advances to the Final Four.
I donít feel good about these picks. In both brackets, I have the top seed beating the No. 2 seed. If Iím going to be that safe, I might as well buy some khaki pants, an SUV and a membership to Firethorne Country Club.
First-round winners are Kentucky, Texas, Temple, Wofford ó Terriers 58, Wisconsin 56, like Davidson-Wisconsin all over again ó Marquette, New Mexico, Missouri and West Virginia. Kentucky beats Texas, Temple rallies to beat Wofford, New Mexico beats Marquette in two overtimes and West Virginia destroys Missouri. Kentucky beats Temple and West Virginia beats New Mexico. West Virginia beats up Kentucky to advance to the Final Four.
First-round winners are Duke, Louisville, Texas A&M, Siena, Notre Dame, Baylor, Richmond and Villanova. Duke beats overrated Louisville by 13, Texas A&M burns Siena, Baylor rallies to top Notre Dame and Villanova blows out Richmond. Texas A&M beats Duke (was the ACC even here?) and Villanova beats Baylor. Villanova beats Texas A&M to advance to the Final four.
Womenís Final Four
Connecticut beats Non-Connecticut. Non-Connecticut beats Non-Connecticut. Connecticut beats Non-Connecticut.
Menís Final Four
Kansas whips Syracuse by 17. I canít stand having Syracuse in my Final Four. But I couldnít find a substitute.
West Virginia and Villanova split during the season. This time Bob Huggins prevails.
Although West Virginia leads by four at the half, Kansas wins by six. The Jayhawks are your national champion.