My favorite college basketball team, the Syracuse University Orange, is back in the NCAA tournament after a two year absence, which shouldn’t have happened to begin with but I’m going to let bygones be bygones only because the team got some real love this time from the tournament committee by awarding Syracuse the #3 seed in the South Regional, after a phenomenal run in the Big East tournament last weekend.

Since my team is back in, this is once again my favorite time of the year. I have picked my bracket, although, since I work alone and I don’t have a crew to “play with’, my bracket is only for myself, but I’m sharing parts of it here. And I’m an unabashed fan, so I’ll tell you now that I’ve picked my team to win it all. I figure that if I don’t believe in my team, then why should I expect anyone else to believe in my team. The other side of this is, when Syracuse has played well this year, they’ve been able to beat anyone, and when they had their one bad period this year, two of the major players had injuries. So, they’re easily as capable as any other team to go all the way.

Since President Obama has given his top eight picks, including picking North Carolina to beat Syracuse to make it into the final four (well, no one’s perfect), I’m going to give mine. If you don’t follow basketball, this isn’t for you, so stop reading now. If you do, and of course you want to debate it, I’m ready for a great sports conversation.

Here we are:

Midwest Regional – Louisville and Michigan St.

West Regional – Connecticut and Missouri

East Regional – Xavier and Duke

South Regional – North Carolina and Syracuse

Final Four – Louisville, Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse

Championship Game – Louisville and Syracuse

Champs – Syracuse!!! Go Orange!!!

That’s the easy part. Let me explain my final four. First, Louisville is the hottest team in basketball right now, with a press and enough players to wear almost anyone down in the second half who’s not used to it. The only team in their bracket who’s seen that kind of pressure is West Virginia, and I have them losing to Michigan State. No matter; Louisville won’t lose this game.

Next, Connecticut not only has a pretty deep team, but they have a 7’3″ monster in the middle that very few teams know how to play against. It took Syracuse six overtimes to knock them out of the Big East Tournament, and that was finally after Thabeet fouled out. I have Memphis losing to Missouri, which is a good thing because I think Missouri is the only team that would have a legitimate shot at knocking off Connecticut in the regional finals; just not gonna happen, though.

Duke won the ACC tournament, which means they’re on a roll, as usual, at the right time of the year. Pittsburgh is the heavy favorite here, but they seem to run as well as Blair stays out of foul trouble; I give it the first two games, and they tank in the final sixteen against Xavier. Duke beats Xavier if they make it to the regional final, but they’ll have to see if they can stop Villanova, which can put points up on almost anyone. I think Duke plays enough defense to do it, but if they don’t, Villanova and Xavier could be fun to watch.

Syracuse wins; enough said. 🙂

Let the games begin, but at least my picks are out there, so no one can say I didn’t have the guts to make these predictions ahead of time. And if you happen to like Syracuse, and you see all those links above (no lines, but the colors), click on some; you might like what you see. 😉