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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

March 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Need bracket help? Here are our picks to win it all

Like almost everyone else, many of us are filling out our NCAA tournament brackets and hoping for the best. Since many of you are doing the same thing, I thought I’d share some of our “expertise” – and I use that word loosely.

I asked a dozen of our Seattle Times staffers to share their picks for the Final Four and for winning it all. Our pick?

Well, first let me share each person’s picks and comments, then I’ll reveal our consensus choices.

Our Big Dance poll includes some familiar names – Bud Withers, Percy Allen and Bob Condotta – and some others you may not be so familiar with. I included several  online producers who sometimes need to be heavily sedated in the hours leading up to the Thursday’s opening tipoffs. They’re pretty into it. I also included myself, deputy sports editor Bill Reader, baseball writer Larry Stone, Sounders reporter Joshua Mayers, Seahawks reporter Danny O’Neil and high-school coordinator Jayson Jenks.

Experts? I’ll let you be the judge.

So here goes.

Bud Withers, college basketball reporter

Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Michigan, Miami.

Winner: Louisville over Miami.

Comment: ‘Ville will triumph over the team everybody seems to be forgetting, Miami.

Percy Allen, Husky reporter

Final Four: Michigan State, New Mexico, Georgetown, Indiana.

Winner: Georgetown over Michigan State.

Bob Condotta, Husky and Seattle U reporter

Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana.

Winner: Louisville over Indiana

Comment: While it’s been a season of parity in college basketball, and a year in which the committee sent a message of its increasing belief in the rise of the mid-major, expect the power schools to ultimately rule the day. It’ll be a tradition-filled Final Four, in my view, with Louisville and Kansas surfacing on one side of the bracket, and Ohio State and Indiana on the other. And when it’s over, Seattle native Peyton Siva will be celebrating a national title in his final game with Louisville.

Larry Stone, baseball reporter

Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, VCU, Miami.

Winner: Miami over Louisville.

Comment: Got to go with the baseball angle, of course – Miami’s Shane Larkin is the son of Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. And he happens to be playing better than just about any guard in the country.

Evan Bush, associate news producer

Final Four: Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana.

Winner: Indiana over Ohio State.

Comment: Looks like a Big Ten heavy Final Four from my perspective. In a down year for talent across the board, I’m looking to good coaching and a steady crew of upperclassmen to keep me afloat.   Indiana, 78 – 69.

Joshua Mayers, Sounders reporter

Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, Indiana.

Winner: Indiana over Louisville.

Comment: I haven’t filled out a bracket, and it’s very likely Barack Obama paid more attention to the national college basketball scene than I did this season, so I’ll copy the President’s picks.

Bill Reader, deputy sports editor

Final Four: Michigan State, Gonzaga, Florida, Indiana.

Winner: Indiana over Michigan State

Don Shelton, sports editor

Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, Miami.

Winner: Louisville over Miami.

Comment: I’d love to pick Gonzaga. It’s such a great story. But I’m going to go with another local angle, former Franklin star Peyton Siva’s Louisville Cardinals over highly motivated Miami.

Bob Wickwire, senior sports producer

Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, Miami.

Winner: Louisville over Miami.

Comment: Cards play winning hand all the way to Atlanta :)

Jayson Jenks, high-school coordinator

Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Florida, Syracuse.

Winner: Louisville.

Bob Payne, editor for partnerships and reader engagement

Final Four: Duke, Ohio State, Georgetown, Miami.

Champion: Ohio State over Miami.

Comment: I’m not just picking OSU because it’s my alma mater. The Buckeyes are on an eight-game winning streak  and have held their opponents to an average of 53 points during that stretch. They have the kind of sharp guard play and tenacious defense that can win you a championship.

Danny O’Neil, Seahawks reporter

Final Four: Louisville, Indiana, Georgetown, Arizona.

Winner: Louisville

Comment: There isn’t a team from Seattle in the field of 64, but there’s a player the city can get behind: Peyton Siva, Franklin High graduate turned the Big East Tournament into his own personal showcase. This tournament could be the sequel.

So I promised you the final tally. Here it is:

Consensus picks

Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana.

And the winner is: Louisville.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s here your picks – and criticisms of ours – in comments for this blog post.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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