Bracket madness: Here it is, pick by pick

This blog entry will be simple: You read along as I make my March Madness picks. It may be exciting, it may not be. Hey, nobody forced you to click the link.. The rules are simple: This is the first time I’ve picked a bracket this year. I’m going straight through, picking game-by-game. None of this “I’ll pass and come back to that game later” tomfoolery. Also, a few years ago, the NCAA added play-in games, thus the first round became the second round, the second round became the third round. Not here. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Here we go.



First Round

1 Florida vs. 16 Somebody Tech – No matter who wins the play-in game, this will be a romp for the country’s best team. FLORIDA

8 Colorado vs. 9 Pittsburgh – Two teams with terrible color schemes. I’ll take Pitt because of the Big East memories they gave me. PITTSBURGH

5 VCU vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin – Tough one because SFA assistant Erik Pastrana was at Northwest Florida State last year and he told me “we’re real good.” But way too many people are picking the upset. I believe in avoiding the fashionable 12/5 upset. Doesn’t matter, I’ll pick Stephen F. Austin. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

4 UCLA vs. 13 Tulsa – Almost yearly now, there’s at least one second-round matchup of double-digit teams. That’s what I’m going for here. Tulsa is the pick. I am beginning to hate this bracket, and we are four games in. TULSA

6 Ohio State vs. 11 Dayton – I bet Dayton would love to knock off the in-state team that thinks they are so high and mighty. Then again, I’d love to be a millionaire. Ohio State. OHIO STATE

3 Syracusevs. 14 Western Michigan – Fun fact: I pick either Florida or Syracuse to go to Final Four nearly every single year. You’d be surprised how effective that can be. Now they are in the same bracket, and I sense trouble ahead…Syracuse. SYRACUSE

7 New Mexico vs. 10 Stanford – The girl who won our office pool last year is a diehard New Mexico fan. So yes, I am picking Stanford purely out of spite. Don’t judge me. STANFORD

2 Kansas vs. Eastern Kentucky – Not much to say here. Kansas rolls. KANSAS


Second Round

1 Florida vs. 9 Pittsburgh – I am nowhere near a Gator fan, but I seriously have picked Florida to the Final Four every year since their back-to-back titles. It kills me every time. This could be the year. FLORIDA

12 Stephen F. Austin vs. 13 Tulsa – I immediately regret picking these two teams. Stephen F. Austin to the Sweet 16. I hate this bracket so much. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

6 Ohio State vs. 3 Syracuse – Ohio State seems to be the trendy pick here. Judging by my Reebok pump-up shoes, I’m not a trendy guy. Cuse. SYRACUSE

10 Stanford vs. 2 Kansas – I feel like Kansas is the most overlooked team in this tournament. I’m not sure why. Kansas. KANSAS


Sweet 16

1 Florida vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin – I have really enjoyed this ride, Stephen F. Austin. But it’s over. FLORIDA

3 Syracuse vs. 2 Kansas – Syracuse started 25-0, then struggled. I think that has caused people to sleep on the Orange. Never doubt Boeheim in March. SYRACUSE


Elite 8

1 Florida vs. 3 Syracuse – I knew it would come down to this. It’s like picking between my kids, except these two teams aren’t currently urinating on my houseplants. Long story. I’ll miss you, Gators. SYRACUSE


Final Four




1 Virginia vs. 16 Coastal Carolina – After the brutal South bracket, the East looks like the Over-30 league at the YMCA. Virginia wins. VIRGINIA

8 Memphis vs. 9 George Washington – I could spend 20 minutes breaking this game down analytically, or I could just rely on the fact I once saw Derek Rose at the Memphis airport. Memphis wins. MEMPHIS

5 Cincinnati vs. 12 Harvard – I love 12/5 games so much. They are always the perfect matchup. Cincy is under-valued though. CINCINNATI

4 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Delaware – Never doubt Tom Izzo in March, either. MICHIGAN STATE

6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Providence – Both times I have ever won bracket challenges, UNC has won the national title. That does not bode well for either of us. NORTH CAROLINA

3 Iowa State vs. 14 N.C. Central – I spent the weekend in Jacksonville, and once I ran out of money 36 hours into my trip, I holed myself in the room to watch hoops. I saw Iowa State and I liked it. IOWA STATE

7 Connecticutvs. 10 Saint Joe’s – This bracket is such child’s play compared to the South and Midwest. UConn here. CONNECTICUT

2 Villanova vs. 15 UW-Milwaukee – Villanova might be the quietest 2 seed I’ve ever seen. No matter against UW-M though. VILLANOVA


Second Round

1 Virginia vs. 8 Memphis – Virginia is really good. I don’t know how far I can advance a team that calls themselves the ‘Hoos though. VIRGINIA

5 Cincinnati vs. 4 Michigan State – I am gonna regret this one. Gut feeling though says Cincinnati. CINCINNATI

6 North Carolina vs. 3 Iowa State – I feel the Iowa State train picking up steam. IOWA STATE

7 Connecticut vs. 2 Villanova – I work in sports for a living and I am only 75 percent confident I can name which conference these two teams play in. Sad for such a great old Big East rivalry. Nova is the first 2 seed out. CONNECTICUT


Sweet 16

1 Virginia vs. 5 Cincinnati – I want to pull the trigger here. Too risky. VIRGINIA

3 Iowa State vs. 7 Connecticut – I’m about to be driving the Iowa State bandwagon…IOWA STATE


Elite 8

1 Virginia vs. 3 Iowa State – And there it is. Iowa State to the Final Four. IOWA STATE


Final Four

Iowa State



1 Arizona vs. 16 Weber State – I think it’s crazy how easy ‘Zona’s road is compared to other No. 1 seeds. ARIZONA

8 Gonzaga vs. 9 Oklahoma State – Am I the only one who has a strong dislike for Gonzaga? I legitimately can’t explain it though. OSU. OKLAHOMA STATE

5 Oklahoma vs. 12 North Dakota State – Every tournament has at least one 12 over 5 upset. I’m picking two this year. NORTH DAKOTA STATE

4 San Diego State vs. 13 New Mexico State – My general rule is never trust a State that isn’t really a state. Or something. I don’t know. I’m getting loopy. SDSU. SAN DIEGO STATE

6 Baylor vs. 11 Nebraska – It may be a sign that I haven’t watched as much college bball as I needed to this year, but I had to double-check that Nebraska was really in the tournament. Yep, that’s them. Not for long, though. BAYLOR

3 Creighton vs. 14 UL-Lafayette – Watch, way too many people are going to hop on the Creighton bandwagon. They win here, though. CREIGHTON

7 Oregon vs. 10 BYU – Another example of my NWF State bias. Oregon’s Elgin Cook was an All-American here, so that’s my pick. OREGON

2 Wisconsin vs. 15 American – Back to my kids. My son washed my iPad with shaving cream and soap two weeks ago. If he does it again, I’m punishing him by making him watch an entire Wisconsin basketball game. WISCONSIN


Second Round

1 Arizona vs. 9 Oklahoma State – This is probably Arizona’s toughest matchup in the entire region. They’ll win, but barely. ARIZONA

12 North Dakota State vs. San Diego State – I once spent a week in Fargo. It was 82 degrees in June and the locals kept apologizing for how hot it was. Irrelevant, but I liked it. NDSU to the Sweet 16. NORTH DAKOTA STATE

6 Baylor vs. 3 Creighton – Remember that Creighton bandwagon? Let me off here, please. BAYLOR

No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 Wisconsin – I just can’t pick Wisconsin. Ever. I don’t know why, but watching UW basketball depresses me. OREGON


Sweet 16

1 Arizona vs. No. 12 North Dakota State – Fargo was also a very interesting movie. Then again, so was Raising Arizona. Don’t look at me like that, it’s all I’ve got at this point. ARIZONA

6 Baylor vs. 7 Oregon – Well, as far as color schemes go, this game would be disgusting. Oh well. Oregon to the Elite 8. OREGON


Elite 8

1 Arizona vs. 7 Oregon – I’m a sucker for conference matchups in the Elite 8. Arizona is my second 1 seed to Final Four. ARIZONA


Final Four




1 Wichita State vs. play-in winner – Unbeaten, and WSU got the toughest bracket that I can remember in a long time. Oh well, them’s the breaks. WICHITA STATE

8 Kentucky vs. 9 Kansas State – People say Wichita State got a raw deal because they’ll get a talented Kentucky team in the second round. No they won’t. KANSAS STATE

5 Saint Louis vs. 12 NC State/Xavier – I don’t like any of these three teams to make a run I’ll stick with seeds at pick Saint Louis. SAINT LOUIS

4 Louisvillevs. 13 Manhattan – Former NWF State all-american Chris Jones is at Louisville, and he retweets me at least twice a week. I’m sold. LOUISVILLE

6 UMass vs. 11 Tennessee/Iowa – I am an SEC fan, diehard. So far I’ve picked Cuse to beat Florida and I have Kentucky going out early. I’ll make up for it with Tennessee advancing here. TENNESSEE

3 Duke vs. 14 Mercer – How well would you do on a test of which state each tourney team comes from? I think I’d do fine, but I’d whiff on Mercer. DUKE

7 Texas vs. 10 Arizona State – Texas is another team that I pick irrationally each March. TEXAS

2 Michigan vs. 15 Wofford – Wofford. The Terriers. Is that right? Are they the terriers? Either way, Michigan wins. MICHIGAN


Second Round

1 Wichita State vs. 9 Kansas State – Hard to believe that Wichita State’s reward is either Kentucky or an in-state rival in the second round. I like Shockers so much though. WICHITA STATE

5 Saint Louis vs. 4 Louisville – Louisville had a guy break his leg in half and still won the title last year. What have you done today? Slacker. LOUISVILLE

11 Tennessee vs. 3 Duke – I want to pick Tennessee here, I do. But this bracket is so loaded, I want to keep the top 4 seeds intact. DUKE

7 Texas vs. 2 Michigan – And to do that, Michigan has to win here. MICHIGAN


Sweet 16

1 Wichita State vs. 4 Louisville – Steve Forbes was 62-6 in two years at NWF State with Chris Jones as his star guard. Now, Forbes is an assistant at Wichita State, Jones is at Louisville. The student beats the teacher. LOUISVILLE

3 Duke vs. 2 Michigan – A rematch of last year’s fantastic national title game in the Elite 8? Yes, please. MICHIGAN


Elite 8

4 Louisville vs. 2 Michigan – And Louisville wins the rematch. LOUISVILLE


Final Four



National Semifinals

3 Syracuse vs. 3 Iowa State – Iowa State’s run ends, Syracuse plays for another national title. SYRACUSE

1 Arizonavs. 4 Louisville – The defending national champs are taken out by the most complete team in the tournament. ARIZONA


National Championship

3 Syracuse vs. 1 Arizona – For the first time since 1997, the Arizona Wildcats will become the national champions. Or maybe not. Who knows? Man, this is going to be fun. ARIZONA

By BRANDON WALKER / Daily News Published: March 17 22:34, 2014

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