I know people love upsets, but other than a few in the early rounds, the cream of the crop will fill out the Elite Eight and Final Four this season. Sorry Cinderella lovers; there won't be a George Mason, Butler or VCU this season.
In my bracket above, I made a last-minute change which might or might not hurt my chances in my pool. I initially had Michigan State beating Syracuse for the title for a few reasons:
- While I think the Orange are extremely flawed, I've never seen the second No. 1 seed get so little love. The East bracket isn't that tough as Ohio State has shown its vulnerability many times this season, Florida State is hit-or-miss if the opponent isn't UNC or Duke this year, and does anyone really trust Vanderbilt to make a deep run?
- No one else would likely have that finals matchup (I was right in that prediction).
Nevertheless, when Fab Melo was ruled academically ineligible for the NCAA Tournament, I had to fix the pick. I went with the Buckeyes to come out of the right side of the bracket beating a vulnerable in the Elite Eight. I think both Vanderbilt and Wisconsin have the kind of teams that match up well with Syracuse so even the Sweet 16 could be the end of the road. That said, let's not forget Syracuse isn't a one-man team and Melo's absence will only hurt so much; it's not like he's Carmelo.
So, that left me with a Big Ten Championship rematch for the national title. It would be the fourth time this year the Spartans and Buckeyes battled, with MSU holding a 2-1 edge in the season series (MSU won at OSU 53-44; OSU won at MSU 72-70; MSU won the Big Ten Tournament Championship over OSU 68-64). The Spartans match up very well with the Buckeyes and, if the matchup happens, will surely give Tom Izzo his second championship.
BEST NON-TITLE GAME TO WATCH: Michigan State vs. Kentucky (Final Four). Based on the way the teams have played all season, this could very well be the title game. I like both teams' abilities to play at various speeds. Kentucky, no doubt, has more talent, but the Spartans have arguably the MVP in all of college basketball in Draymond Green. If there is one player who can will his team to a title, it will be Green. If this Final Four matchup indeed happens, the winner of this game will be your national champion.