(1) Ohio State vs. (16) Winner of Texas-San Antonio/Alabama State
This will be worse than when Team USA played Iceland for the first time in D2: The Mighty Ducks Are Back. Winner: Ohio State.
(8) George Mason vs. (9) Villanova
Doubting George Mason has never proven wrong in the past. Winner: Villanova.
(5) West Virginia vs. (12) Winner of UAB/Clemson
I don’t know how these hillbillies got so good at basketball, but damn it, you can’t pick against West Virginia. Winner: West Virginia.
(4) Kentucky vs. (13) Princeton
It’s not that you want bad things to happen to Terrence Jones, but…you know…well…actually you kinda do. That said… Winner: Kentucky.
(6) Xavier vs. (11) Marquette
For some reason, I’ve always thought of these two schools as virtually the same. Like Jewel and Ricky Martin. Winner: Marquette.
(3) Syracuse vs. (14) Indiana State
The only way Syracuse loses is if Gerry McNamara goes cold from beyond the arc. Winner: Syracuse.
(7) Washington vs. (10) Georgia
Georgia hasn’t been cool since Terrell Davis was their stud running back. And even then they weren’t that cool. Real Dawgs wear purple. Winner: Washington.
(2) North Carolina vs. (15) Long Island
Let’s pray for Long Island. Winner: North Carolina.
(1) Duke vs. (16) Hampton
I really like their hotels, but this is gonna be a tough one for Hampton. Winner: Duke.
(8) Michigan vs. (9) Tennessee
Team That Cheated A Lot During The Nineties versus Team That Cheats A Lot Now. Let’s go with the retro cheaters. Winner: Michigan.
(5) Arizona vs. (12) Memphis
A lot of intrigue here with a) the 12-5 matchup, b) the fact that Memphis is farther east than Arizona (and by geographic default, better), and c) the fact that Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is a former Arizona player and assistant coach. But come on. Arizona is way better. Right? Winner: Arizona.
(4) Texas vs. (13) Oakland
Oakland: Not from California. Winner: Texas.
(6) Cincinnati vs. (11) Missouri
When I was a kid, I honestly thought Cincinnati was a major athletic powerhouse because their basketball team was that good. The last decade has been a real eye-opener for me. Winner: Cincinnati.
(3) UConn vs. (14) Bucknell
UConn’s star player has survived a murderous uncle named Scar and been named king of all the lions. That’s resilience. Wait, what? Kemba? Not Simba? My bad. Winner: UConn.
(7) Temple vs. (10) Penn State
I have a good friend named John who’s as big a Temple fan as they come. We used to compare Washington’s pro talent with Temple’s. He’d throw Aaron McKie and Eddie Jones at me. I’d counter with Todd MacCulloch and Detlef Schrempf. The real ball-buster was Rick Brunson, who happened to be playing for the Sonics at the time. Every time I joked about Brunson, the conversation would end. Brunson was that bad. The ultimate 10-day guy. This story related in no way to anything. I just wanted to tell it. Winner: Temple.
(2) San Diego State vs. (15) Northern Colorado
Raise your hand if you had this as your 2-15 matchup before the season began. Liar. Winner: San Diego State.
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Boston University
Not to be confused with Boston College. Or even Tufts, for that matter. Winner: Kansas.
(8) UNLV vs. (9) Illinois
I’d like to think that because it’s not 1990, Illinois is perfectly capable of winning this game. But at the same time, teams from the Big Ten have trouble putting up scores that would be seen as respectable in girls’ rec leagues. Winner: UNLV.
(5) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Richmond
This is the 12-5 upset that everyone will be picking. Richmond is always sexy and Vanderbilt just isn’t. Knowing this, I feel obligated to go against the grain. Winner: Vanderbilt.
(4) Louisville vs. (13) Morehead State
Rick Pitino probably knows enough about Morehead to get out of an extortion attempt if he had to. Winner: Louisville.
(6) Georgetown vs. (11) Winner of USC/VCU
First of all, USC will beat the entire commonwealth of Virginia. That’s a given. But two games in that short amount of time does not bode well for the Trojans. Winner: Georgetown.
(3) Purdue vs. (14) Saint Peter’s
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks. I absolutely love this team. I kind of wish they were playing Morehead State. Can you imagine? Saint Peter’s Peacocks versus Morehead State? My God. It’s like a writer’s dream come true. Unfortunately, though, they’re playing Purdue. And as a result, they will likely lose. Winner: Purdue.
(7) Texas A&M vs. (10) Florida State
I was enamored with Florida State when they were all about the TDT, Toney Douglas Time. Douglas is gone now, though. And A&M has the power of the 12th Man. Which they apparently copyrighted or something. Dicks. Winner: Texas A&M.
(2) Notre Dame vs. (15) Akron
I think I speak for everybody when I say that no one thought the less-retarded-looking Hansbrough would get this good. Winner: Notre Dame.
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (16) Winner of UNC-Asheville/Arkansas-Little Rock
Let’s not waste any typeface. Winner: Pittsburgh.
(8) Butler vs. (9) Old Dominion
Back in the day, Sprite used to have this under-the-cap contest where beneath every bottle lid you received the name of a college team. If your team ended up winning the NCAA Tournament, you took home this wonderful assortment of prizes that every kid my age couldn’t help but dream about. Needless to say, I never won. Nor did I even have the good fortune of pulling a cap with the name of a top-tier program on it. Who did I always end up with? You guessed it: Old Dominion. Winner: Butler.
(5) Kansas State vs. (12) Utah State
Every year, Utah State screws me. Two years ago they were my big upset pick and lost in the first round. Last year, I picked them yet again…and they screwed me yet again. Now I’m at the point where I feel like if I don’t pick them, they will likely win and reverse screw me. I’d rather get screwed from the front than the back. So, please Aggies. Make this the year. Winner (reluctantly): Utah State.
(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Belmont
In their most recent game, Wisconsin scored a total of 33 points. Just based on principle alone, they deserve to get their asses handed to them. Winner: Belmont.
(6) St. John’s vs. (11) Gonzaga
As many of you may know, I hate Gonzaga. At the same time, I absolutely love St. John’s, and specifically their coach, Steve Lavin. In addition to being ejected (along with Baron Davis) from the very first UW basketball game I ever went to, Lavin was the first ESPN commentator to jump on the Huskies’ bandwagon in 2004 when we were desperately making a late-season bid for a trip to the Bigger Dance. Ever since then, that dude has been one of my favorite people on the planet. Go Red Storm. Go Lav. Winner: St. John’s.
(3) BYU vs. (14) Wofford
If BYU loses, we can righteously assume that God is cool with premarital sex, right? I mean, it would sure be nice to have that validation. But Jimmer is above the heavens at this point, so it’s really up to him. Winner: BYU.
(7) UCLA vs. (10) Michigan State
If there’s any Pac-10 squad that can play like a Big 10 style of ball, it’s UCLA. Ben Howland’s teams are always dangerous in the tournament. Mostly because Ben Howland is an ornery, anal-retentive prick. Or so I hear. Winner: UCLA.
(2) Florida vs. (15) UCSB
How the hell is Florida a two-seed? Winner: Florida.