Monday, March 12, 2012

03/12 (NCAA Picks) Quickie

My annual Wall Street Journal column is live at Give it a read. Now, let's discuss:

Final Four: Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida State, UNC.
Champ: Kentucky (over UNC).

South: I nearly picked Duke to lose to Xavier in the Round of 32; it doesn't matter -- I picked Duke to lose to UNLV in the Sweet 16.

West: I really respect Mizzou and fully intended to take them far -- maybe even the Final Four. Then they were slated to match up with Florida, a team that has enough guards to match up with the Tigers' four-guard offense. (Bradley Beal at power forward? Yes, please.) Taking Florida to beat Mizzou is bold; picking the Gators to then get past Marquette is dumb. I did both. It is unclear I would be picking either if I wasn't a Gators fan. That's a terrible situation.

East: I'm sick of picking Syracuse to go deep then having them choke. I'm a sucker for Wisconsin in the tournament (even though they might not get past Vandy in the Round of 32). My favorite pick -- which barely rises beyond conventional wisdom, I'm seeing -- is Florida State over Ohio State, a team that can barely function offensively, let alone matched up against college hoops' toughest D.

Midwest: UNC over KU in the regional final is my only chalky 1-2 pairing of the Elite Eight. But the Midwest region also includes my only double-digit seed to make the Sweet 16: 14-seed Belmont, which will finally be the team we all thought they would be a year ago.

In the end, my bracket is boring and safe (although it's not like I went against my judgment simply to be safe -- for example, I was prepared to take Wichita State to the Final Four, as long as they didn't play in Kentucky's region. Whoops.) I have just a handful of upsets, and an entirely conventional Final Four, right down to Kentucky over UNC, which most of the country will be predicting. That means we're either all going to be right -- so the early rounds matter a lot more -- or we're all going to be wrong, and that dude in your pool who picked Anyone But Kentucky is going to clean up.

What did you pick? Any crazy upsets? (If so, why?)

Don't forget to sign up for the Quickish group of's Tournament Challenge.

-- D.S.

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