I did this a year ago and thought it was pretty interesting, though I didn't do a very good job of getting back to check the results. I'm not picking on anyone in particular here, just looking at the major sports websites and looking for some predictions. Maybe in the future we'll have a couple of go-to experts for helping to accurately predict your bracket. And to be fair, I'll insert my bold predictions at the bottom.
President Obama - I haven't seen his 2013 bracket predictions yet but typically he picks all of the #1 seeds to go to the Final Four (way to go out on a limb Mr. President). This year I bet he doesn't pick all #1s, he'll have Duke going out of the Midwest, he loves those pesky underdog teams like Duke. Outside of that he'll probably have Wisconsin winning a few games because he spent some time with them last fall and then look for swing states to get some love from the President. (Please don't freak out about mixing politics on a sports blog, nothing said here is disparaging nor am I making a political statement here. You may think I'm kidding but some people are hyper-sensitive to this kind of stuff).
Now for the real "experts".
Myron Medcalf - ESPN - 10 bold predictions
I'll try to keep this one short, since there are 10 here.
- Kansas will not make the Final Four - MM has them losing to VCU or Michigan.
- Big Ten will not win the title - Big Ten is good and will get several teams far, but he does not have a Big Ten team winning it all. I might agree with this assessment.
- Ole Miss's Marshall Henderson will really struggle against Wisconsin. - interesting take and again, I think I'd agree.
- Middle Tennessee State will reach Sweet 16 - Now we are getting bold here. The Blue Raiders will have to win 3 games to get there (St. Mary's, Memphis and then likely Michigan St).
- North Carolina vs. Kansas will not happen - UNC will lose to Nova in Myron's eyes.
- Pac-12 will go 0-5 in the first round - I guess that means the Gophers will win. That also means Belmont over Arizona.
- Michigan will lose first weekend - He gives South Dakota State some props and then likes VCU.
- Florida Gulf Coast will push Georgetown to the brink of an upset. - now that is getting crazy. FGC lost to VCU by 23, Duke by 21 and Iowa State by 11. Maybe they'll make a game of it, but I doubt it.
- Indiana will win first four games by double-digits - Hoosier's path to Final Four is the easiest, according to Myron, but they will lose once they get to Atlanta.
- We'll see multiple 40-point performances in the opening rounds - he likes Doug McDermott, Ryan Kelly, Shane Larkin, Nate Wolters and James Southerland to name a few. He forgot Andre Hollins!
It tend to agree with Myron more this year than I did last year (when I was suggesting to do the opposite). These predictions are less crazy.
Brad Evans - Yahoo!'s The Dagger - 6 teams to avoid
- Michigan - Their defense just isn't quite good enough. "However, defensively, Michigan is more ferret than Wolverine, a harbinger of future disappointment to come. VCU, in 2011, is the only tournament team since 2000 to advance to the Final Four sporting a defensive efficiency rank north of No. 40. Currently, Michigan checks in at No. 57 in that category. Spanked on the glass, vulnerable in transition and generally generous, it's simply too accommodating."
- Gonzaga - They haven't played a challenging game since January and will lose to Wisconsin. "Again, the Bulldogs are extremely talented and very well could leave egg on this prognosticator's face. When Gary Bell and Kevin Pangos scorch the cylinder, they are near to impossible to beat. However, the extended layoff from playing against meaningful competition may lead to the 'Zags undoing. Wisconsin, with its comparable interior brawn and suffocating perimeter defense, is a team Gonzaga doesn't want to see in the Sweet 16. That matchup occurs, and it could be adios amigo for the No. 1."
- New Mexico - Too inconsistent offensively. "If the offensive momentum gained over its final five games carries over into the Dance, the MWC champs will inflict serious damage. However, if shots aren't falling, yet another early exit is possible. Despite winning 81 games since 2010, it has yet to escape the first weekend unscathed."
- Marquette - They suffer from the same issues as Minnesota. Turnovers, can't shoot the three and defensive rebounding. "But their underlying profile is loaded with black-eyes. On offense, they are atrocious from three. Only 18.5 percent of their points scored come from beyond the arc. Worst yet, they often shoot themselves in the foot, serving opponents the ball on a silver platter. On the season, they've committed turnovers 21 percent of the time. Defensively, Marquette is above average, but often loses battles on the defensive glass."
- Florida - The Gators lack toughness and have trouble finishing out close games. "Drive the cup, draw contact and sink shots, and the Gators are beatable. Worst yet, they've downright choked in tight games. In tilts decided by nine points or less, they're 0-6, largely because they've converted a lowly 68.7 percent from the free-throw line. If it lasts until the Round of 16, expect Georgetown to have its ways against them."
- Arizona - Tough to win in the dance when you are inconsistent and consistently play to your opponent's level. "But the Pac-12 season exposed 'Zona. Even bland enemies, like USC, eviscerated it along the perimeter and at the charity stripe, causing the 'Cats to limp to a 5-5 record over their final 10 games. During that stretch they allowed an uninspiring 1.04 points per possession."
I actually really like Florida, so this analysis makes me a bit nervous for my bracket but he could be dead wrong.
Pat Forde - Yahoo! - Forde Minutes, Big Dance Edition
He has 68 items in here so I'm going to pick out some of the more bold predictions...
- The 8 best teams in the bracket. i.e. most likely to win it all, not the actual Elite 8 teams. Louisville, Duke, Indiana, Ohio State, Kansas, Michigan State, Georgetown and Miami. The Zags were his only 1 or 2 seed left off, not very bold.
- Bracket Wreckers - VCU, Iowa State (what?), Davidson, Belmont and Colorado State.
- Fraudulent Five - Memphis, Michigan, Arizona, Missouri and Pitt.
Jay Bilas - ESPN - Bracket Game by Game Predictions
Bilas is like Obama in that he loves to pick chalk. He picked 3 (only 3) upsets in the entire first round. Here are some highlights...
- Minnesota over UCLA - OK, tell me more..."Because of Minnesota's work on the backboards, Minnesota will move on."
- VCU in the Final Four - "Turnovers are devastating to the Hoyas, given their deliberate tempo, and that's precisely how VCU will win. The Hoyas are the better team, but this matchup will give them fits. VCU will advance -- by forcing turnovers and hitting 3s -- to the Final Four."
There really is nothing exciting to see here. These predictions are really only "crazy" because they are so vanilla. In the first two rounds (48 games) there are exactly 5 upsets. Last year there were 10 in the first round alone!
Jeff Borzello - CBS Sports - West Region Preview
- West Region Bold Prediction - LaSalle over Kansas State for biggest round 1 upset
- Wisconsin to the Sweet 16.
- Gonzaga over Ohio State in the regional final.
Jeff Goodman - CBS Sports - South Region Preview
- South Region Bold Prediction - North Carolina over Kansas in round 2.
- Biggest upset will be Minnesota over UCLA! "The Gophers have struggled lately, but Ben Howland's team has to adjust on the fly after losing freshman starter Jordan Adams -- who was the team's most versatile scorer. Tubby Smith's team has lost 11 of its last 16 games, but they are well-prepared after playing in the Big Ten."
- Florida over Michigan for the region final.
Gary Parrish - CBS Sports - Midwest Region Preview
- Midwest Region Bold Prediction - Oregon over Oklahoma State
Nothing else exciting here. Parrish believes this region will be the top 4 seeds advancing with Louisville winning it.
Matt Norlander - CBS Sports - East Region Preview
- East Region Bold Prediction - Davidson over Marquette, then Davidson will go on to the Sweet 16!
- Best players in the Region - Top 2 listed are both from Indiana, BUT he does not have IU making it out of the region!
- Miami over Syracuse to win the region.
This will be the region with the most upsets and the "weirdest Sweet 16."
Gopher Nation - The Daily Gopher - My bold predictions
- Biggest Upset - I know that Oregon is the sexy 1st round upset pick but I think this might be the region without any big upsets. There is always one bracket that is chalk and I'm going with Midwest.
- Region Final - Louisville over Michigan State - I'm a big believer in Louisville after watching them in the Big East tourney. Great guards, rebounding big men and they play great defense.
- Biggest Upset - Belmont over Arizona. The Bruins lead the nation in 2 pt FG%, which I'm going to assume is very closely related to the fact that they also 9th nationally in forcing turnovers, which they convert to easy baskets. Belmont beat SDSU by 27 and Middle Tennessee State by 15, both teams that are considered to be potential first round party crashers. Arizona should have a rebounding advantage, but I'm going with Belmont in this one.
- Regional Final - Ohio State over Gonzaga - this is OSU's bracket for the taking I think, I just pray Wisconsin doesn't make it to the Regional title.
- Biggest Upset - Minnesota over UCLA (DUH!). The last time we won an NCAA Tournament game was the regional final over UCLA in 1997. Time to get that monkey off our back with UCLA the opponent again.
- Regional Final -
Minnesota overFlorida over VCU - I like Florida (or Georgetown) to come out of this bracket and I picked VCU as their opponent for the drama of Shaka Smart (who will be coaching his last game at VCU before he comes to Minnesota) facing his old boss.
- Biggest Upset - I agree with Norlander above that this could be the region with a bunch of double-digit winners. Officially I'll go with Bucknell over Butler (go Mike Muscala). But I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Colorado beat Illinois or Cal over UNLV.
- Regional Final - Indiana over anybody, I don't have a good feel for who will come from the bottom of this bracket but Indiana should make it to the Final Four.
Indiana over Florida
Louisville over Ohio State
Louisville over Indiana - not very sexy but if Louisville can get out of their bracket (Duke and Mich St and Saint Louis) then I think Pitino wins it all keeping the NCAA Title in the state of Kentucky.
- Gauranteed Upset Special (GUS) - (besides Minnesota over UCLA) Belmont over Arizona.
- First round game most looking forward to - (besides Minnesota over UCLA) Middle Tennessee State vs. Memphis there will be like 9 players from Memphis on these rosters. Also, Oregon vs. Oklahoma State.
- 15 or 16 seed who make things the most interesting - Pacific
- Upset I'm desperately hoping for - Ole Miss over Wisconsin (DUH!)