Tuesday Question - The Tourney Picks

Posted Mar 17, 2008

Picking the Final Four, the national championship, and the biggest upset in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Past TQs
- What can college football learn from March Madness?
- Three Big Spring Storylines
- The Combines are missing ...
- Best & Curious Coaching Hires

- 2008 Wish List
- The 3 Big Bowl Questions

- What are you most looking forward to from the bowls?
- Did the BCS get it right?
- Who deserves a spot more, OSU or WVU?

- What BCS matchups do you want?
- LSU, Oregon or Kansas
- The leading 5 for the Heisman
- Early Pick It: LSU vs. Ohio State
- Three BCS sleepers
- Midseason Bests
- 3 Big Calls for the Second Half
- The biggest disappointment
- 5 most overrated teams
- I was dead/on right/wrong about ...
- USC, LSU or Oklahoma?
- Was the App St win good or bad for college football?
- 3 Sleeper Teams

- Predicting the Season
- 3 things we're sure of
- What to look for on Signing Day
- Bears or Colts?

- Early bowl surprises and trends
- 3 things to look for from the bowls
- Do you want the Alabama job?
- What are the 3 best non-BCS bowls?
- Who's 2nd in the Heisman race?
- Michigan-OSU rematch?
- Michigan or Ohio State?
- Should Louisville be No. 3?
- The nat'l title game will be ...
- The best one-loss team
- Rule changes to help the flow
- The Midseason Stuff
- The real top five ranking
- The early coach of the year is ...?
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak     

Q: The Final Four and national champion will be ...

A: East Regional: Tennessee – After coming so painfully close to the big show last year with the heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, the Vols and their high-octane offense will roll through a not-that-bad part of their bracket and will miss North Carolina (more on that in minute). Even if the Tar Heels make the Regional Final I'm still taking the Vols.

Midwest Regional: Kansas – While the run is never as easy as it appears, Kansas should roll through the Midwest. I'm not sold that Georgetown can get by Wisconsin, and I'm certain the Badgers can't keep up with the Jayhawks.

South Regional: Texas – Memphis will fold once it plays a real team again, like Pitt, Stanford's a weak three-seed, and Michigan State is an awful five-seed. The Longhorn guards will own the South getting Rick Barnes back to another Final Four.

West Regional: UCLA - But I'm nervous. The Bruins needed some big calls to go their way to beat some mediocre teams late in the year. I would've liked to have seen them dominate more down the stretch and blow everyone away, sort of like Kansas did, but all the pieces are there.  

National Championship: Kansas over UCLA. Alright, I have to admit it; I'm going with Kansas by default. I could tell you why and how Davidson and Western Kentucky are sleepers to watch out for, and why the Big Ten will do better than expected, and why St. Mary's really is dangerous, but I'm not seeing the national championship. Kansas is playing too well right now and is too easy a pick ... it's too obvious. So, of course, it's not going to happen. With that in mind, my alternative universe non-wussy national title call is Texas over Wisconsin. 

Biggest Upset: No. 8 Indiana over No. 1 North Carolina in the second round.  I'm also going with West Virginia over Duke in the second round, Western Kentucky over Drake, and I think UNLV could make life very, very interesting for Kansas before losing, but my call of the tournament is the Hoosiers over the Tar Heels. UNC would've lost the ACC title if Clemson actually believed it could win, and Virginia Tech should've won the semi-final game. This is a team just begging to get tagged, and I'm guessing D.J. White and the inside game for IU will be control things, while Eric Gordon will be the best player on the floor.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: The Final Four and national champion will be ...

: East Regional: North Carolina – While it’s certainly up for debate this season, the Tar Heels are the most complete team in the tournament, with a 32-2 mark to back that up.  F Tyler Hansbrough is a 6-9 beast capable of carrying a team on either end of the court.  

Midwest Regional: Vanderbilt – The ‘Dores sort of disappeared late in the season, but for a few weeks when it matters will look like the team that started the season 16-0.  They’re a veteran bunch that shoots well from the stripe, and has a nice inside-outside scoring punch with SEC player of the year Shan Foster and 6-11 C A.J. Oglivy, respectively.

South Regional: Memphis – Yeah, the Tigers can’t shoot free throws and play in a one-bid league, but underestimate them at your own peril.  Memphis has the depth, defensive pressure, and athletic ability to overcome its shortcomings at the line and run the rest of an average South bracket off the court.

West Regional: UCLA: C Kevin Love and G Darren Collison may not be 100%, but don’t buy into the notion that their injuries will keep the Bruins from winning four games, none of which will be a painful road trip.  UCLA is poised to make it to a third straight Final Four, playing in a bracket that has a lot of good programs, but no true heavyweight to knock out the top seed.  

National Championship: UCLA over North Carolina.  Coming out of the toughest conference in the country, the Bruins are battle-tested with the right mix of backcourt and frontcourt talent to navigate the 65-team field and win six games.  After coming close the last two years, UCLA is ready to break through and win its first title in 13 years. 

Biggest Upset: No. 14 Cornell over No. 3 Stanford.  One of the only teams in the tournament with as many future CEOs as Stanford, the Big Red is also pretty good at putting the ball in the basket.  Cornell comes in white hot, winners of 16 straight games, and has a slew of players capable of logging important minutes.  It’ll get killed on the boards against the Cardinal, but it’ll also shoot well enough from the field and the free throw line to deliver the biggest upset of the first day of the tournament. 

Matthew Zemek

: The Final Four and national champion will be ...

A: Final Four: North Carolina (East); Kansas (Midwest); Texas (South); UCLA (West).
The South is the toughest region, with the regionals being in Houston, the reason why Texas will have a huge, crucial edge. Otherwise, the 1 seeds got favorable draws, with Kansas getting a potential challenge from Georgetown.
National Semifinals: Kansas over UNC, UCLA over Texas. Kansas plays better defense. UCLA will have the advantage of seeking revenge against Texas.
National Championship: Kansas over UCLA. The Jayhawks are hungry, deep, and healthy. UCLA--who received a cake draw in the West--won't be as healthy if the Bruins reach the title game.
Biggest Upset: No real big upset. Teams that occupy the 8-12 seed lines are more mediocre than in past years. Temple (12) over Michigan St. (5) is the biggest (technical) seed-based upset, but the Spartans have lacked a pulse away from home this season, so it wouldn't be a huge shock.

John Harris

Q: The Final Four and national champion will be ...

Memphis (South) – third time is a charm

Tennessee (East) – I still think that the athleticism and ability to press and create chaos will give UNC, in particular, all kinds of problems

UCLA (West) – best chameleon in this tournament, the one team with the ability to adapt styles and tempos better than any other

USC (Midwest) – the one underdog I have here – not sure that I’m sold on anyone from the Midwest and think USC could ride OJ Mayo for four games, at a minimum

National Championship – Tennessee vs. UCLA – Tennessee’s depth shoots down USC, while UCLA’s multi-faceted attack wears down Memphis in the final minutes.

National Champion – UCLA – The Bruins’ discipline and Kevin Love are too much for Tennessee.

Biggest Upset – Western Kentucky over Drake.  The Bulldogs run has been improbable this season, but they haven’t played since two Sundays ago.  WKU has been strong all season long and will take advantage of an inexperienced tournament team in Drake.