KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09: Thomas Robinson of the Kansas Jayhawks drives past Perry Jones III of the Baylor Bears.
The madness is officially upon us. This week, we discuss our Final Four picks, what upsets we're banking on, and how the Big 12 will fare. Today and tomorrow are some of the least productive work days in American offices — so do your part and leave your answers in the comments. The questions are below.
1. Who are your FInal Four picks?
2. Who are your upsets?
3. How far do you have each Big 12 team going?
4. Our any teams grossly over- or under-seeded?
5. If a genie granted you one wish (which, of course, you plan to use on the tournament — come on, now), what would it be?
Our answers, after the jump.
1. Who are your Final Four and National Champion?
Evan Pfaff: I literally cannot figure out the East Region. Syracuse? Ohio State? Vandy? I have no idea, so I guess I'll think about it and take a stab at the end of the question. On the left side I have Kentucky over Mizzou and on the right side I have UNC over... Ohio State. UNC over the baby Wildcats in the finals.
Nathan Kotisso: I may seem a little biased by my picks but they do make sense, to me anyway. I've got Baylor from the South, Missouri from the West, Ohio State from the East and North Carolina from the Midwest. I have UNC's size and experience overtaking the Tigers for the National Championship.
Joe Loyd: I have Kentucky, Missouri, Florida State & North Carolina in the Final Four. Then I have North Carolina taking down Kentucky in the finals.
E. Carnes: I have Mizzou, Kentucky, Florida State, and Kansas — with Mizzou over Kansas in final. Boring? Yes, but I'm repping the Big 12 like a good conference blogger should.
2. Who are your upsets?
EP: Long Beach State is everyone's 5/12 upset, but I think New Mexico will not only beat them, but take out Louisville before falling to Michigan State. Not a reach, you say? Well if the national trend is LBSU to beat New Mexico then fall to Louisville, my prediction might very well help you win your bracket.
NK: Check it. Iona, the team nobody wanted in, will not only win their First Four game vs BYU but will beat Marquette in the second round as well. But that's not even the biggest shocker in my bracket. I see the South spitting out a Kentucky-Wichita State regional semifinal with the Shockers shocking America and upsetting the Wildcats. HOW BOUT THAT!
JL: I want to pull the trigger on K-State taking out Syracuse now with Fab Melo being ineligible but I still don't see it happening. No crazy major upsets in my bracket but I do have Murray State taking out Marquette, little stuff like that but I am horrible at trying to guess major upsets.
EC: I'm also horrible at it. And it upsets me every year when someone's significant other or child who made their picks based on mascots or team color beats me in the pool. But this year I'm going with Harvard over Vandy (I know, I know, that's crazy and someone's kid will probably beat me again) and Texas over Cincy (mostly because I can't bring myself to put my team out in the first round).
3. How far do you have each Big 12 team going?
EP: It'll be tough for half the Big 12 teams to get out of the first weekend. I think Texas is out-muscled by Cincy, bt I do think K-State and ISU will both win their opening games, before falling to top seeds.
Baylor should be able to roll into the Elite Eight with a win over Duke in the Sweet 16, but Kentucky is more athletic than the most athletic team in the conference and should knock them out in the 8. KU and Mizzou both have legit shots at the Final Four, but I think UNC beats KU, while Mizzou advances to their first ever Final Four.
NK: I'm with Evan. Texas is running into a super hot Bearcats team while K-State and ISU should take care of a reeling Southern Miss team and inconsistent UConn squad respectively. As I said before, Baylor and Mizzou are in my Final Four while Kansas will lose to UNC in the Regional Final in...St. Louis? Odd but yeah.
EC: I have a little more conference loyalty than I probably should in my bracket. But what I think will actually happen is Texas will lose to Cincy; Iowa State and Baylor will lose to Kentucky and Duke, respectively, in the second round; K-State won't be able to upset a Melo-less Syracuse (because, man, nothing seems to rattle that 'Cuse team); and I think Kansas and Mizzou should head to the final four — if Kansas can make it past UNC.
4. Are any teams grossly over- or under-seeded?
EP: Am I allowed to say Mizzou is grossly under-rated? The tourney chair said they were the 4th 2-seed, meaning they were the 8th highest seed. Having beaten KU -- and controlled most of the game the second time -- plus winning the Big 12 tourney, and suffering only 4 losses, Mizzou should have been rewarded with the 2 seed in the St Louis region. As it is, I think their region is more winnable than the StL region, so they shouldn't scoff too much, but playing a virtual home game would really have made life easier for the Tigers.
NK: Other than Missouri, the other five Big 12 teams look fine to me. It's pretty much a national consensus that Murray State was under-seeded. They lose 1 game and somehow that warrants them a 6 seed? Otherwise, the Committee did a great job.
JL: Sorry Evan, but have to totally disagree with you on Missouri. They split with KU this year and lost the regular season race by two games and were swept by a #8 seed K-State team, think KU deserved the higher consideration. They got a #2 seed and that is what they deserved plus they got a pretty nice draw with maybe an exception of having to take on a very good Florida team in 2nd round. Now a Big 12 team that got no favors is Iowa State in my opinion, they finished the year third in the Big 12 and swept K-State and they get the same seed as the Wildcats and are rewarded with UConn and then Kentucky, that just isn't cool. Other than Iowa State I really have no issues with the tournament seeds.
EC: For the first year in, well, forever, I don't have any major gripes with the seeding. I do agree that Mizzou and Iowa State could have each been a little higher, though. And I would have liked to see Washington get an at-large bid.
5. If a genie granted you one wish (which, of course, you plan to use on the tournament - come on, now), what would it be?
EP: I'm an unabashed Mizzou alumni, so I'll let you come to your own conclusion.
NK: Please, PLEASE, let Wichita State beat Kentucky in the Sweet 16. If I'm the only guy in my pool to see that coming, that would make the tournament for me.
JL: A Final Four that consists of KU & K-State on one side and Wichita State out of the South taking on any team from the West region except Missouri.
EC: Texas winning everything, obviously. But I have a feeling the genie would say, "Sheesh, I'm only a genie not a miracle worker — pick a more feasible wish." So I would settle for a Mizzou-Kansas final.