Sweet Emotions: Part II

Well, we can all breath a sigh of relief. At least two of those unbearable B1G teams can’t hurt our eyes anymore.

Thankfully, yesterday saw Syracuse pull out a close one over Wisconsin and those filthy Cards mercy-killed Michigan State. Now we’re left with an Ohio State team that does at least try to score and… Indiana. I feel better, don’t you?

Some sweet hot mama with a face like a gent
Said my get up and go musta got up and went
Well I got good news, she’s a real good liar
Cause the backstage boogie’ll set your pants on fire

Mr. Tyler is talking to you, UNC and UK fans. I think. Let’s move on to today’s games:

10 Xavier vs. 3 Baylor
This would seem like a match-up nightmare on paper for the X-Men. Baylor has a plethora of athletic lottery picks and dead-eye Brady Heslip, who can’t seem to miss when it matters. Thankfully for Xavier, games aren’t played on paper. While Baylor has top 3 talent, they seem to have a bottom 3 motor at times. When the Bears have lost, it’s been to tougher teams that have weathered the storm and delivered the kill shot. Xavier is a team that has been hammered by distractions and disappointments, and has seemed to come out stronger for it. Look for this game to be a lot closer than you might think.

The hat doesn't help, Steven.

13 Ohio vs. 1 UNC
With Wrist-Gate still in full force for the Heels, they must still feel kind of fortunate to draw an over-matched Ohio squad in the round of 16. Even without KM, UNC has an enormous talent advantage at nearly every position. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio is a good team, who has had a great run. There’s just no conceivable reason they should beat North Carolina. You could have said that about VCU and Kansas last year too, though…

4 Indiana vs. 1 Kentucky
As you all know, Indiana delivered the Wildcats one of their two losses on the season in dramatic, buzzer-beater fashion in Bloomington. The shot has been played over and over (and over and over) on ESPN all season long. While Indiana fans might cling to that game as proof that they will arise victorious once again, reality suggests this might be a bloodbath.  Anthony Davis, who played his fewest minutes of the season against IU, has grown into the (likely) player of the year. Marquis Teague, who started the season as a turn-over waiting to happen, has been molded into the poised floor leader that Calipari’s offense thrives on. Outside of the SEC tournament, Kentucky has looked nigh invincible. If teams focus on clogging the middle, then they shoot over them and beat them by double-digits. If opponents play them straight up, the Wildcats dish and dunk to double-digit wins. Add to that the revenge factor that Kentucky players have openly discussed, and you have to like their chances on a neutral floor.

11 NC State vs. 2 Kansas
The Wolfpack is back, or so it would seem. Mark Gottfried, who used to play a coach on TV, has ignited NC State from the last team in to a Sweet 16 success story. Just as admirable, Bill Self has taken a squad with little expectations going into the season and transformed them into a legit Final Four threat. From the outside, this game appears to be a strength on strength match-up of C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell versus Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. If that equates to anything close to a stale-mate, look for the guards to be the difference, as Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson use their new-found assertiveness to put away the Pack.

While not quite as sweet as yesterday’s match-ups, there’s still plenty to watch for with the  ultimate national champion probably emerging from this group.

Elitist Jerk Classics: “John Calipari Recruiting Muhammad Ali”

Editor’s Note: The following is a re-post from a while back. We’ll be posting a couple of these every weekend as a way of letting a new audience see some great posts they might have missed.

John Calipari with Muhammad Ali

In a peculiar twist, it seems that John Calipari is now recruiting Muhammad Ali as a 2009 player for the Kentucky Wildcats.

When asked why Ali and why now, Calipari responded, “If you want to be the greatest, you’ve got to recruit the greatest. Who’s greater than the Greatest of All-Time?”

“Plus, we have an open scholarship that I’d rather not use on Mark Krebs. I don’t really like white people as basketball players.”

When pressed about the obvious issues of Ali’s advanced age, Parkinson’s Syndrome and inability to dribble a basketball, Calipari retorted, “Look, I’ve been told my whole life that I couldn’t do this or that and look where I am now.”

“Did you know the New Jersey Nets fired me? Life is about Bouncing Back, afterall. If I can do it, so can The Greatest. Have you read my book yet?”

Calipari continued, “Muhammad will be a great fit for the dribble-drive motion offense. In fact, there’s not a single player on the planet that can’t thrive in this system. By the way, will you be pasting my Twitter URL in this story? They love me on Twitter.”

When asked for his thoughts on Kentucky and whether or not they were the current leader for his services, Mr. Ali mumbled, “Who is this white man touching me? Did I just buy a car?”

Providing insight into (perhaps) the real motivation in this situation, Calipari whispered, “Off the record… I saw him wearing that red shirt, so I figured he was a Louisville lean. I can’t let Rick Pitino sign a native Kentuckian. These people will burn me at the stake.”

As I turned to walk away, Calipari stopped me, “Hey, be sure you post a link so they can buy my DVD’s too.”

Selection Sunday: Small-Armed Reaction

The NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last night.  Thank God Charles Barkley was there, because his lack of professionalism and preparation made the committee look a little closer to competent by comparison.  Look,  I know TNT and TBS are carrying some games this week – and I’m happy about the additional coverage – but why do we need Chuck talking about “that Jimmer kid out west” and making it painfully obvious that he did zero prepwork for his One Shining Moment?  I don’t have a problem with Ted Turner wedging himself into the March Madness mix.  Just swap Chuck out for Ernie Johnson and things might be okay.  He was turr’ble last night.

Anyway, on to the field itself.  Obviously, there are some much-discussed head-scratchers like UAB and VCU.  Maybe you can make a case to say Colorado deserved a spot.  But I don’t get too hung up on “who’s in, who’s out” because the bubble was simply awful, so trying to field a group of 68 teams this year must have been a real challenge.  This was clearly not the year for expansion.  If anything, last night made the case for contraction.

The bigger problem I have with the committee is similar to what we saw last year.   Teams continue to be poorly seeded (this year more than last) and regions are wildly unbalanced (not quite as bad as last year).  Last year, you’ll recall the outrage about the supposed third 1-seed Duke being given a very advantageous bracket, while overall 1-seed Kansas received the most challenging region.  When Duke cut down the nets in Indianapolis after squeaking by a feisty Butler team, many pointed to their relatively easy path as being a major reason for their title run.  Similarly, Pittsburgh (again, the third 1-seed) seems to have received the rock-star treatment this season.  Pitt’s draw may not be quite as ridiculous as what 2010 Duke received, but it’s still pretty remarkable when you look at it beside the other three regions.

Seeding was the real story this year.  Kentucky trounced their opponents in the SEC tournament and finished their season on a very strong note.  Their struggles on the road during the heart of the season were well-documented, but it seemed the Wildcats were putting it together at the right time, closing the season at a very high level.  The committee saw it differently, as Kentucky received a 4-seed in the toughest region of all, the East.   (Oh, and as a bonus, they face the Ivy League again, so get your “hicks vs. pricks” jokes ready, my fellow Elitist Jerks!)

To make it to the Final Four, Kentucky would have to go through #1 overall seed Ohio State and possibly Syracuse or North Carolina.  Compare that to Florida, the team Kentucky boatraced Sunday afternoon to take the SEC tournament title.  The Gators received a 2-seed in the aforementioned and relatively soft Southeast region.  Kentucky ended the season #7 in the Pomeroy ratings, while Florida was #19.  Both are quality teams, but the seeding gap (especially factoring in regional strength, location, etc.) is hard to overlook.

Texas is another team who ended up a 4-seed despite having a very strong season.  Granted, they may be the anti-Kentucky, peaking in the middle of the season and closing meekly.  But still, they had a quality resume and finished #4 in the Pomeroy ratings.  Their path?  A match-up with Duke in the Sweet 16, followed by (if chalk holds up) San Diego State or UConn.

Or how about Washington?  They end the season #15 in the Pomeroy ratings and draw a 7 seed, potentially playing recently-red-hot-but-now-entirely-uncertain North Carolina in Charlotte in the second round.  It almost makes you believe that “east coast bias” crap those crunchy hippie nutjobs talk about.  Almost.

Oh, and while we’re in the East, how about the reward Ohio State received for being the best and most complete team in college basketball all season.  32-2, #1 in Pomeroy, and they get North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky.  And let’s not overlook a potential matchup with a legit George Mason team in the second round.  If the Buckeyes make the Final Four, they will look back and know they fought for it.

Speaking of Big Ten teams, how in the world did some of these squads receive such inflated seeding?   Penn State and Michigan State as 10 seeds?  Illinois as a 9?  I’m starting to wish Jim Tressel would fire Gordon Gee and Gene Smith.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to laugh at Seth Greenberg.  He routinely schedules  a quilted Northern® soft non-conference slate, hangs around .500 in the ACC, and then cries on the second Sunday night of March.  Back in the day, 8-8 or 9-7 in the ACC would be certainly good enough.  But that was when the ACC had more than three really good coaches.  Look, I know the Hokies had some really terrible injuries and without them Virginia Tech would probably be safely in the Big Dance.  But stuff happens, and you have to adapt.  His team fell short yet again, and we all expected Seth to complain.  The difference this year was that Greenberg didn’t stop at hoarse-voiced whining.  He essentially floated the theory of some sort of anti-Virginia Tech conspiracy.  Greenberg said:

“Just disappointed. You almost wonder if someone in that room has their own agenda and that agenda doesn’t include Virginia Tech. Just plain and simple. I totally wonder it, if someone in that room has an agenda. The explanation was so inconsistent with the result that it was almost mind-boggling. I guess they even brought up our non-conference schedule. Kansas State, Purdue, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Penn State, St. Bonaventure that was supposed to be big and Mississippi State that was projected to win the SEC. I’d say that’s a pretty significant slate and challenge. So they must not have looked at it very closely. But I guess they did. I feel for these kids. Doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year … but it’s extremely disheartening. You would hate to think that politics would be involved, but it makes you wonder.”

First of all, Seth, if you think the committee is capable of organizing and carrying out a conspiracy, you’re giving them too much credit.  Second, play somebody.  Third, get your guys motivated for games against teams NOT from the Triangle.  Fourth, there’s a phrase you need to become familiar with: “Man’s game, bitch.”

When play starts this week, most of what you have just read will no longer matter.  As I’ve said before, the NCAA tournament is the greatest event in sports, and no matter how hard they try, the committee just can’t ruin it.  So, call in sick Thursday and Friday, crack open a beer at 11 a.m., and root for your favorite team and your Cinderella pick.  And by all means, check in at EJSIC for more tourney coverage (from the other guys) and nonsensical, self-absorbed drivel (from me).


Bledsoe’s Transcript Leaked By An Opposing Coach?

One blogger has sources that seem to think so. Matt Jones posted the following tonight on KSR:

A source within the media tells me that a College Assistant Coach leaked Bledsoe’s transcripts to multiple media outlets, including his own.

While the Mr. Jones (and Me) won’t give us any names, he does narrow it down a bit.

However I dont believe I have enough solid information to put the name out there. Suffice to say that the number of suspects of who it could be is quite small. Eric Bledsoe’s Junior year transcripts were given to only three schools, Florida, Kentucky and Memphis.

If you have a vivid imagination (and your mom tells me that you do), then it won’t be too hard for you to fill in the blanks of the men in question.

If hard evidence comes out that a particular coach released Bledsoe’s transcripts, then you would have to think that coach may be finding another line of work.

Will that hard evidence surface? I doubt it. Like most college sports scandals this one is likely to have a greater impact on your friendly neighborhood message board than anywhere else.

Nevertheless, it has to be a welcomed shift from internet prey to predator for UK fans.

Fake Calipari Hits YouTube to Prove… Nothing?

I came across this video today from our favorite Louisville fan turned Fake Facebook John Calipari.

As we covered earlier, this alleged interaction between UK commitment Marquis Teague and Fake Calipari has had Kentucky fans scratching their heads and haters licking their chops since the screen shot hit the Interweb last week.

The supposed owner of the fake Cal account did contact us with an offer to prove the merit of the screen shot last week. After we e-mailed him a list of questions, however, he didn’t respond. You have to assume that he decided a blanket YouTube video was the way to go.

You have to give the guy props for at least trying to prove that the interaction is real. The reality is, though, it’s kind of a moot point. Nothing significant is revealed in the conversation. It’s great for message board fodder, but nothing more.

The lesson here, kiddos? If you’re going to try to trick a high school kid into indicting your least favorite coach, be sure to remember the specifics. Ask him if he likes the new car the coach bought him or if he’s enjoyed the “tutors” the coach sent to help him with his SAT. Alluding to vague misdealings won’t get you very far with the NCAA.

As always, the devil is in the details.

Fake John Calipari Coercing Recruits?

During my nightly sweep of all things UK (yes, I do need therapy), I came across this from a Maryland fan blog.

Obviously, that’s not the real John Calipari, but whether or not it’s the real Marquis Teague seems to be up for debate. Teague does have a Facebook account (it’s maxed out on friends so don’t bother) with the same profile pic up, but all we really have here is a screen shot. This sort of thing can be faked in about 5 minutes in Photoshop, so it’s not exactly concrete evidence.

Is that the real Marquis Teague confirming vague innuendo of dirty deeds with Calipari or is it a fake posting a fake screen shot to fake us all out?

Does it even matter? Considering nothing specific is mentioned by either party, probably not.

Still, the off-chance that Teague is actually the one confirming behind the scenes tomfoolery has to be unsettling for UK fans. It is for this one at least.

Picking through the ashes of what was once my bracket

Al's 2010 NCAA Men's Tournament Bracket

For most of the morning, I’ve been looking for something good in the smoldering remains of what was once my 2010 NCAA tournament bracket picks. The fact that I, like Flop, got an astonishing 7 out of the 16 teams in the Sweet 16 correct, which is the worst I have ever done in a history of spectacular bracket failures that began in 1999 with the advancement of Gonzaga, is mind boggling. I am extremely upset about Villanova. I feel like Jay Wright let me down personally. I am in a icy cold rage that Duke will now probably make it to the Final Four for the first time since 2004 and we will now have to hear about the resurgence of the greatest college basketball program ever ad naseum from ESPN and CBS.

Al reacts to the Kansas loss

But the worst is the stunned horror I felt as I watched Kansas implode Saturday night.

I had scouted Northern Iowa earlier in the year because of my prediction series in December and January and they didn’t impress me then.  I still can’t believe that a Bill Self-coached Kansas team failed to dominate a group of guys who looked like they’d be as equally at home on a tractor in a cornfield or in a teen-age slasher movie as they were on the basketball court (not that there’s anything wrong with tractors, cornfields or teenage slasher movies, mind you).  It was like waking up one day and finding out there’s a Democrat in the White House and a healthcare reform bill has passed. Oh, wait…

So, is there anything to salvage from what has become a disaster of a tournament for me (and many others)? I think so. Here are a few bright spots that I’ve found:

  • Syracuse, my bandwagon team, has a better chance of winning it all now that Kansas is out of the way. As they have for most of the season, they’ve been kind of quiet as they make their way through the tournament without too much trouble. Their performance this year reminds me a bit of Kanas’s in 2008. Solid, quiet…National Champs? It could happen.
  • If Kentucky continues playing the way they’ve been playing so far, they should take care of annoying surprising Cornell and they could potentially decimate Duke in the Final Four. The idea of a bunch of freshmen dominating the Duke upperclassmen has a great deal of appeal. Of course, the picture of a bunch of militant jihadists from Afghanistan dominating Duke appeals to me, so we should take my Kentucky thoughts with a grain of salt.
  • The Maryland-Michigan State game was a great battle between two veteran coaches and some great talent, although Vasquez’s emotional breakdown after the loss was a bit over the top. Tom Izzo really is the best active NCAA Tournament Coach. He may not have teams that dominate in the regular season, but in the NCAA, it’s a different story. Even when Maryland had the go ahead basket with 6.6 seconds left, I knew that Michigan State would pull it out. I’m curious to see what Izzo will do against Northern Iowa without Lucas.
  • Although I was pulling for Georgia Tech, I have to admit that it was fun watching Evan Turner.
  • Baylor versus St. Mary’s. Wow. Two mid-majors I don’t hate. That’s like a record.
  • Gonzaga lost. While that’s not as good as Duke losing, it’s close.
  • UNC has now had a winning season and they’re still playing in the postseason. So what if it’s in the “Not in the Tournament” Tourney? The fact that I get to shout “Oh, God, not to Deon!” for at least one more game is a bright spot.

I also learned some lessons that I hope I can apply next year:

  • I should stick to my guns and not fill out a bracket if that’s how I feel. I think that maybe the reason I didn’t do so well this year is because I really didn’t want to do one.
  • I should listen to my brain more for my first and second round picks and save my gut feelings for picking the national champion. This year, my brain wanted me to pick Cornell over Temple and Washington over Marquette but my gut said to go with Temple and Marquette. However, my gut wanted me to pick Syracuse as the National Champion but my brain said to pick Kansas. I have to say, though, even if I had picked Syracuse, I would have had Kansas losing to them in the Final Four, so it’s really kind of moot.
  • I should have a “nightmare bracket” where Duke wins it all every year. I’ve had one of those since 2002 until this year and it’s worked out well for me. This year, I decided not to do that and I’m worried. Please, please, let someone take them out. I’m talking to you, Purdue, West Virginia, Kentucky and Syracuse.
  • I should wear my lucky Nikes more. I had them on for most of Saturday afternoon (for luck during UNC’s NIT game, which I watched while I worked out), but took them off before the Kansas game to wear a new pair of cute sandals I bought. Big mistake.

So, my new rules for next year are:  “1) Nightmare bracket with Duke winning it all; 2) Brain for first two rounds, gut for champion; and 3) No cute sandals.”

And now, during this break from the stress of a horrible bracket and the fear that even more of my favorites will falter, I get to prepare for my big trip to Charlotte to see Mexico take on Iceland in soccer/futbol on Wednesday. I wonder if there will be any other redheads in the stands pulling for Mexico….

Elitist Jerk Bracket Challenge

Want to find out how much your favorite EJSIC contributors know about college hoops?  Check out our predictions based on unbridled homerism and sheer guesswork more than a combined century of thoughtfully observing NCAA tournament action.  Special thanks to our good friends at CBS for hosting our bracket contest.  We look forward to lending our expertise to  Jim, Clark, Greg, and Seth…just as soon as they return our calls.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the picks.

Flop Floppenhauffer

National Champion: Kansas
After much deliberation, I managed to suppress my inherent homerism and picked Kansas to win the title. While I do think my beloved  Wildcats have more pure talent on their roster than the Jayhawks, I have to concede that Kansas has the better collective team heading  into the tournament. They have more experience and more quality depth  than Kentucky and they shoot the ball well enough to give Syracuse and  other Big East teams fits. It’s chalk for sure, but it feels like a  (rock) chalky kind of year.

See Flop’s bracket here.

Peno Noir

National Champion: Kansas

Am I biased? Maybe. But it’s not rocket science. I went with a team who is strong at every position, experienced, and has a bench that is as deep as Jack Handey: Kansas. They’ll make it though arguably the toughest bracket on the way to their second National Championship in three years.

See Peno’s bracket here.


National Champion: Kansas

I picked Kansas to win because they are the best team in the nation.  I picked Duke to be in the finals because this is the weakest bracket in the history of ever, and I’m a homer.

See Karndogs’ bracket here.


National Champion: Kansas

Historically, I have done a horrible job making tournament picks.  This year, I used the EJSIC NCAA Tournament Flowchart to make my selections.

See Dafunk’s bracket here.

Small Arms McGee

National Champion: Syracuse

Being the Weakest Year Ever causes this to be perhaps the most  frustrating tournament I have ever tried to predict.  In the end, I chose Syracuse to cut down the nets in Indy because I think they have just the right combination of coaching, defense, length, athleticism, and altogether meaningless mascot.  I’m probably the only person alive who didn’t pick Cornell to beat Temple, and I can’t imagine too many folks have BYU in the Elite Eight or Wisconsin in the title game.  Am I a genius, or a moron?  You decide.  (But the correct answer is genius.)

See Small Arms McGee’s bracket here.

Vagabond Joe

National Champion: Kansas

Jameson’s Irish Whiskey + Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion playing on a loop + A complex process that includes flipping a 1953 Sixpence and hucking a few darts at the wall + Planting a few subversive emails to undermine my competitors’ picks = Vagabond Joe’s Nearly Perfect Bracket.

See Vagabond Joe’s bracket here.

Jose Kortez

National Champion: West Virginia

Let’s be honest. This is the weakest year of college basketball since Oregon won the whole thing. I’ve been involved in YMCA events with more talent. I’m considering watching a dog show instead of the NCAA tournament this year. But all the same, it’s pretty obvious the Poodle is going to win that so there’s not much point in putting together a bracket.

That brings us back to the YMCA Tournament. The committee rubbed one all over Coach K, but it won’t help them any. This year’s tournament is Syracuse’s to lose. That said, I was a little worried about injuries. And no other team is good enough to get out of the elite eight.

So, that’s how this tournament should end. In a shameful tie.

But, because of some past behavioral issues that have the gods mighty riled with me, there will be one more painful weekend to this basketball season. The only good news is that West Virginia will be the last team standing.

See Jose’s bracket here.

Shred Torn

National Champion: Kansas

I’m not really going out on a limb picking Kansas to win the title, I acknowledge that. Usually I am the one who fantasizes the various ways in which the top teams can lose, rather than giving them appropriate credit. Kansas has proven that they’re the best team all season long. The other contenders are flawed in different ways. I think Kentucky got a tough break with potentially having to face either Wisconsin or Temple in the Sweet Sixteen and then likely West Virginia in a regional final. All of those teams play tough defense and have veteran players to knock off the Cats. Syracuse has a pretty good draw, but they haven’t inspired confidence lately. They’re the best contender to knock off Kansas, but that’s largely because of style of play and because they seem to have some sort of higher power working for them when they play the Jayhawks in recent years. Still, the Jayhawks have the ball in their court, and they’re a real slam dunk. HA-HA! So clever Shred…

See Shred Torn’s bracket here.

NoMore Toys

National Champion: Syracuse

I am grumpy and hate everything, except maybe bourbon and Bull Durham. There are a lot of things wrong with the sport of college basketball, but at least it IS a sport…just like NASCAR. Xavier is awesome and so is Kentucky sometimes.  But I’m picking Syracuse to win it all.

See Nomore Toys’ bracket here.

Al Kenmore

National Champion: Kansas

My original plan was not to do a bracket this year for two main reasons:

1) Gonzaga is in the tournament – again – and they have screwed up every bracket I’ve done since the 1999-2000 season. If I pick them to lose, they win. If I pick them to win, they lose. After 10 years of this, it’s geting tiresome.

2) The Tar Heels aren’t in the tournament. In years past, after Gonzaga bust my brackets and all the other ACC teams flamed out, I still had pulling for the Tar Heels to look forward to. Now I have nothing but a wrecked bracket to look forward to.

However, in the spirit of the EJSIC, I filled one out. I based my picks on what I could remember about the season before the Super Bowl, because that’s when I became unglued during the UNC downward spiral. I usually do pretty well when I don’t pay any attention to what anyone on ESPN, CBS, ABC, NPR or Yahoo Sports says about teams and go with my gut. There are certain teams whose coaches have much better Tourney resumes than they have season or conference resumes and I generally pick them to go far in the tournament. So, that’s why I have Louisville, Michigan State and Villanova all making it to the Sweet 16 or farther. It’s usually a safe bet that Duke won’t make it to the Elite 8. Everyone acts like this year is the first time that Duke’s been given a cakewalk, but this is not true. If they’re a number 2 seed, they usually have the easiest 15 seed and so on. In 2005, they were given a real gift and oops–no FF for them. Even though Syracuse is my bandwagon team, I think that Kansas is playing great basketball right now and should win it all pretty easily. Kentucky could falter before the final game, but I put them in it because a Self-Calipari rematch would be great. I don’t see Kentucky winning it all because I don’t think they’re disciplined enough. Kansas is disciplined and that’s why I think they’ll come out on top.

See Al Kenmore’s bracket here.

Michael Street

National Champion: Kansas

Last time I picked Kansas to win it all, they beat my soon-to-be alma mater in the national championship game with the help of missed free throws and a miracle by a man named Mario who isn’t a plumber. My team is out of it this season, so at least Rock Chalk won’t break my heart in April. I’m taking the Jayhawks to defeat West Virginia with a little less drama, 78-66.

See Michael Street’s bracket here.


National Champion: Kentucky

Like everyone else, I think Kansas is the best team in college basketball right now, just as they have been all year.  However, they have been overwhelmingly picked by experts to win it all, and I just can’t see it being so easy.  They are good, but not as complete or dominant as last year’s Tar Heels or the 2008 National Champion Jayhawks.

The other dirty little secret about Kansas is that they haven’t faced as elite of competition as some would have you believe.  They did own a good Kansas State team during the season, but got scares from out of conference foes Memphis and Cornell and lost to Tennessee and Oklahoma State.  I think they end up falling just short of the championship game when they run into a Syracuse squad who can frustrate them with zone.

Instead, I’m going with Kentucky who has become the most popular pick among the one seeds to miss the final four.  While everyone harps on their lack of experience the fact remains that they have a deep, talented frontcourt and the best point guard in the nation.  UK rides their talented freshman class with the help of the “nobody believes in us” factor all the way to Indianapolis and ends up cutting down the nets.  Lexington rejoices.  The rest of the nation keeps their fingers crossed for a recruiting violation.

See Tobbs’ bracket here.

The Sensei

National Champion: Wisconsin

Bold predictions are what I do.  Not only does my bracket guarantee a national championship for the Wisconsin Badgers, it also predicts an Elite Eight for Tennessee – something none of us thought we would live to see.

See The Sensei’s bracket here.

Aspiring Deadbeat Dad

National Champion: Georgetown

I feel confident that my picks have put me in a unique position to dominate these other EJSIC losers. I chose the Georgetown Hoyas to defeat Kansas State in the semifinals before defeating Kentucky in the championship game.  Greg Monroe is the key to this Georgetown team, and to the success of my bracket.

See Aspiring Deadbeat Dad’s bracket here.

Well, folks…that’s it for the predictions of our motley crew.

Check back after each round and see which Jerk emerges as truly Elite.