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March 19, 2008 at 4:19 PM

My bracket

Due to overwhelming popular demand (okay, the two of you who asked) here is my NCAA Tournament bracket.
These are, in fact, the picks I submitted for the tourney challenge on ESPN.com set up by reader Matty Simone (click here for details).
First, though, I must point out to the holder of the contest entry named “I just wanna beat Bob” that you must have some serious self-esteem issues. If you set your sights any lower you’d be Spud Webb.
Last time I came close to winning an NCAA tourney pool, Cameron Dollar was a player (in fact, I won it all in 1995, though it was a pretty small office I worked in at the time — it was more like a cubicle pool ).
Beating me in an a tourney pool is like beating Oregon State on the court — and I won’t even come to your house and talk smack as you are filling out your bracket.
So I promise nothing and expect less.
That said, here are my picks.
EAST
I’ve got North Carolina beating Tennessee in the regional final. Boring, I know, but other than Louisville, I don’t see any team capable of getting to the regional final.
My first-round winners are: UNC, Indiana, Notre Dame, WSU, St. Joe’s, Louisville, South Alabama and Tennessee.
South Alabama’s my only upset pick there, and it’s not much of one. But I’m not very sold on Butler this year.
Second-round winners are: UNC, WSU, Louisville and Tennessee. Yes, I like the Cougs to get to the Sweet 16. They are a senior-laden, experienced team with a style that should wear well in the tournament. And they are battle-tested after a long Pac-10 season. If there’s a worry about the Cougars in my mind it’s the fact that they don’t necessarily just steamroll opponents, and close games down the stretch could favor the underdogs in the first two rounds.
Regional finalists: UNC and Tennessee.
MIDWEST
First-round winners: Kansas, Kent State, Clemson, Vanderbilt, USC, Wisconsin, Davidson, Georgetown.
Davidson is an upset in terms of the seeding, though Gonzaga is actually a two-point underdog according to the Vegas line. I really like Stephen Curry and Davidson just seems ready to finally get a tournament win. But if Josh Heytvelt shows up, this may not look like a good pick.
Second-round winners: Kansas, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Georgetown.
Boring, by-the-book picks there, but that’s the way I see it.
Reginal finals: Kansas over Georgetown, as a member of the Stewart family gets to the Final Four.
SOUTH
First-round winners: Memphis, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Pitt, Marquette, Stanford, Miami-Fla., Texas.
Again, no real upsets, which I didn’t realize as I did it. Oregon’s the only Pac-10 team I don’t have getting out of the first round. But if the threes fall, Oregon could even give Memphis fits in the second round.
Second-round winners: Memphis, MSU, Stanford, Texas.
Regional finals: Texas over Memphis. Memphis will miss a bunch of free throws down the stretch to allow the Longhorns to get to the Final Four in front of a friendly crowd in Houston.
WEST
First-round winners: UCLA, Texas A&M, Western Kentucky, UConn, Baylor, Xavier, Arizona, Duke.
A couple of upsets here with No. 11 Baylor and No. 12 WKU. Just not sold on Drake that high, and I see Baylor-Purdue as a relative tossup and went with the Bears, who will emerge as the feel-good story of the first round.
Second-round winners: UCLA, UConn, Xavier, Duke.
Really tempted to go with Arizona here over the Blue Devils, but the Wildcats are just too inconsistent to envision them going real far.
Regional final: UCLA over Duke.
FINAL FOUR
UNC over Kansas (and we’ll all get sick of reading and hearing about Roy Williams in the prelude to this one); and UCLA over Texas (as the Bruins get revenge for a loss at to the Longhorns in December).
NATIONAL TITLE GAME
UCLA over UNC.
In the 40-year anniversary of UCLA’s win over UNC for the 1968 title, the Bruins will again reign supreme.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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