A View From the Zoo: March Madness Picks and Predictions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13: John 'Big Nut' Peters, fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes holds up a sign which reads "March Madness" after they won 71-60 against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the championship game of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

As a college freshman, when March Madness comes around, I am like a little kid in a candy store.  Especially in the early rounds when there is three to five games playing at the same time and you are flipping around trying to watch every second of every game, it just does not get any better than the NCAA tournament. 

With the tournament technically already underway, some of the azdesertswarm writers got together and decided to post some of their picks including sleeper pick, Final Four selections, tourney MVP and the National Champion.  Also, a little recap of how we think the selection committee did this year.

So away we go!



Sleeper Pick: Washington Huskies-Even though I do not have them beating North Carolina, they have the ability to beat every team in the tournament.  With Isaiah Thomas playing like a mad 'dawg', along with a team that can put up 90 points in a jiffy, all teams need to be on the lookout.

Final Four:  I am prepared to get yelled at, discriminated against or even more, but I have done my bracket three times and each time I end up with four number one seeds.  For those that have not had their brackets etched in their brain, the top seeds are Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, Pitt.  This year, the top seeds I feel are at a different level and/or lower seeded teams are just in the wrong bracket (ie: Uconn).

Tourney MVP: Nolan Smith- If you cannot decipher who my champ is from this pick, at date with ESPN may be needed.  Smith is a First-Team All American and the best player on the Blue Devils.  Smith will lead Duke to their second championship in as many years by being the clutch and dominant player he has been the entire season.

National Championship: Duke University-  In my first bracket, I had Ohio State, then I had Pittsburgh, then I finally settled on Duke after hearing Kyrie Irving will be back.  (It should be noted I had Duke in the Finals, losing to Pitt, before the Irving news came out).  Duke will be vulnerable early on just like every team, but once Kyrie Irving gets comfortable playing for the first time in around three months, Duke will be a completely different team.  And one that I think will repeat at National Champs.

Selection Analysis: This was arguably the hardest year that I had making my picks.  Early on, I did not like any team to win the National Championship, which is why I kept changing teams, because a different one looked better everyday.  If Uconn was in any other bracket but the West, they would be in my Final Four.  As upsets go, I have nine upsets, not counting the 8/9 match-ups.  They span from four to seven seeds losing.  Because I want people to make their own picks and not base their selections off of mine, even though I would feel special, I will not name those upsets. 

Overall, I feel the committee did a good job, but if one looks closely, the two teams who many thought were not on the bubble got left out completely.  Those two teams are the Colorado Buffaloes and Virginia Tech Hokies.  Both teams has good wins including Texas and Duke respectively, as well as resumes that many felt should have easily gotten them in.  We will never know why those two teams were left out and frankly, once the tournament gets going in full force, not many people will care.

So with these picks, I hope I have given a little insight into how my brain functions, but remember; no one really knows what will happen here, so go with your gut over almost everything, because you will usually be right in your selection.

Good luck with your selections and in less than 24 hours, the games will begin.

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