Midwest Kentucky Region
The Favorite - Kentucky
The obvious favorite here is Kentucky. This bracket sets up wonderfully for UK to laugh their way to the Final Four. First they will get to play in Louisville, followed by Cleveland, and eventually in Indianapolis for the FInal Four. Big Blue will be in attendance, folks.
The Contender - Notre Dame
The only team I could perhaps, possibly, mayyyybe see giving Kentucky a hard time is Notre Dame. I don't see KU even getting a chance to play UK. I think they fall to either Wichita State or Notre Dame - HA. But Notre Dame has seen the light and started playing its own version of Hoiball. They play four three-point shooters at all times, and can light it up with and against the best of them. If the Catholics got it going from deep they could topple the Cats. Then again, there is that whole playing defense thing. And this is where the "Cinderella" comes into play.
The Cinderella - Texas
The "Cinderella" term only fits Texas in the sense of its seed. Texas certainly wouldn't be considered a Cinderella in the classic sense, because you know, it's Texas. And yes, we know Texas has underperformed to the max this year, but they were able to stumble their way into the tourney. So, good job? But if Texas remembers how to play Roundball again (which it looked like until the last 4 minutes against ISU), look out. This is the only other team in the nation that can legitimately matchup with Kentucky. They lead the nation in blocks - ahead of Kentucky - and as we Cyclone fans have seen, can get stupid hot from deep. If it all came together for Texas, this team is scary. But will it come together?
The Favorite - Wisconsin
I could have wrote Arizona up here as the favorite, but Wisconsin gets the nod because it is the 1 seed. And at the moment, Vegas agrees. Wisconsin is currently 13/2 odds, while Arizona is 12/1. If these two conference champions got to play each other, it would be a slugfest with the winner probably being the first one to 50. Basketball is fun.
The Contender - Arizona
Arizona is big and strong and sometimes struggles to score and see above because I'm lazy.
The Cinderella - Wofford
I'm a big fan of the Terriers. First off, they are called the Terriers. Second off, they have some great numbers. They are 28-6, with a win over NC State. They sport an RPI of 48 - which is only five spots below Iowa, one spot above UCLA, and 10 (!) spots above Indiana. Feel free to change your brackets accordingly.
The Favorite - Villanova
Some might be more inclined to pick Virginia, but the odds favor Villanova at 8/1 vs. 17/1. But even despite this, a lot of people seem to think 'Nova is the 1 seed they would like to play. I don't agree. 'Nova ran rough-shed through a good conference that got six teams into the tourney. Don't sleep on the Wildcats.
The Contender - Michigan State
Some might call me crazy, but I don't think Virginia gets past Michigan State for the second year in a row. We all know the old adage of, "Tom Izzo has his team playing its best in March". And I love old adages. They had Wisconsin dead to rights in the Big Ten final but managed to blow it. Not very Tom Izzo Adage like, but I think they will figure it out.
The Cinderella - Dayton
I'm not just riding the coattails of Dayton's run last year, but things could possibly be shaping up for them again. Dayton gets their play-in game in, well, Dayton. If they don't win that game I'll probably lose a few bucks. So don't do that Dayton. Then they would go to Columbus if they win that game. Columbus isn't all that far from Dayton, you know. Dayton could get some hometown cooking all the way to the Sweet Sixteen again.
For a more in-depth analysis of the South Region, check out our preview here.
The Favorite - Duke
Many of the all-knowing pundits have the Dukies getting to the Final Four. Duke has some of the more impressive wins in the country with road wins at Wisconsin and Virginia. They have the best player and future #1 overall draft pick in Jahlil Okafor. Having the most dominate player can mean an awful lot in the NCAA Tournament (Kemba and Shabazz anyone??).
The Contender - Iowa State
You all knew who this was gonna be if you read the summary at the top. Iowa State is on something of a hot-streak you might say. They seemingly come out drunk in the first half, and chalked up on PCP in the second. It's maddening, crazy, stupid, exhilarating, upsetting, and wonderful. It's all the emotions you feel over the course of an entire season crammed into two hours. This is what makes them a contender. Even if they do get down, the will mount a comeback. We can all be certain of that. Hope for an Iowa State/Duke Elite Eight matchup that might be the most entertaining game of the tournament. My nipples.
The Cinderella - Eastern Washington
Everyone and their mother has been on the SF Austin train since the brackets were revealed. But I'm not sold. I think Utah is underseeded and Georgetown is overseeded. Utah spent most of the year right around the top ten in the rankings but have lost some momentum of late. I think Utah shows up and gets it done. But here's where I make everyone question their brackets, lives, and place in the universe. Eastern Washington played in a poor conference but could get some of that home cookin' I love so much. The first two rounds are being played in Portland, OR. That's a bit closer to Eastern Washington than Georgetown. And plus, Georgetown always loses early.
Let us know your picks and thoughts on the NCAA Tournament. And by the way, your bracket is already in shambles. Cheers!