With the NCAA tournament set to start on Thursday, the staffers at The Juice Online make their predictions on what will happen this year.
Winner: Ohio State
Final Four: Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Pitt.
Cinderella: I’ve got several: Belmont. Wofford. Richmond.
Syracuse will: Lose to OSU in the Elite 8.
The Orange survives a tough third round matchup with Xavier and then knocks off a feisty Washington Huskies team that upsets North Carolina in the third round. But OSU proves to be too much for Syracuse in the Elite 8 and goes on to win it all. Elsewhere, Michigan State makes a surprising (well, not really) run to the Elite 8 after defeating Wofford who upsets an undermanned BYU and St. John’s.
Winner: Ohio State
Final Four: Ohio State, Louisville, Florida, San Diego State.
Cinderella: Utah State to the Sweet 16.
Syracuse will: Lose in the East Regional finals to Ohio State 78-73.
Not a ton of second round surprises, Penn State, Belmont and Utah State will advance, with Utah State then making the Sweet 16. The Big East will have half of the Elite Eight: SU, Pitt, Louisville and Notre Dame, but only the ‘Ville will make the Final Four losing to Ohio State in the title game.
Final Four: Ohio State, UConn, Kansas, Pitt.
Syracuse will: Make the Elite 8.
Ohio State and Kansas have been the most complete teams all season long, and ultimately I expect them to face each other in Houston on April 4. But with that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if neither made it there, with as unpredictable a field in recent memory. As far as the other No. 1 seeds, the return of Kyrie Irving for Duke is a bracket-changer out West and Pitt has proven unreliable year after year.
Final Four: Syracuse, Texas, Kansas, Pitt.
Cinderella: No. 12 Clemson and No. 10 Michigan State make Sweet 16 (does MSU count?).
Syracuse will: Lose to Texas in the Final Four.
Six Big East teams reach the Sweet 16, two make the Final Four and Pitt cuts down the nets to prove the conference’s strength. Forget you, Charles Barkley. Fab Melo and Brandon Triche continue their solid play to help boot the Buckeyes from the tournament. Final Four MVP: Ashton Gibbs.
Winner: Ohio State tops Pitt.
Final Four: Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Pitt
Cinderella: I’ve got Missouri headed to the Elite 8 but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Georgetown go far (all pending the health of Chris Wright).
Syracuse will: I could see just about anything for this team. Are they the team that got hot at the end of the team that lost 6 of 8 in the middle of the season? I have them losing to Ohio State in the elite eight.
I believe Ohio State is the best team in the field. They do have a tough road to the Final Four though as opposed to Pitt who I believe is the worst No. 1 seed. The selection committee did an absolutely horrible job and that greatly benefits Pitt. The Panthers finally break into the Final Four after so many disappointing seasons but it will be the Buckeyes cutting down the nets.
Winner: North Carolina.
Final Four: UNC, Duke, Pitt, Purdue.
Syracuse will: Squeak by Xavier to advance to the Sweet 16. Bad Scoop shows up and the Orange lose a close one to UNC.
UNC survives the region of death. Duke once again gets the easiest road ever to the Final Four, setting up the Dukie V dream matchup. UNC gets revenge from the ACC tournament and moves onto the title game in a classic that will be played on ESPN for the next 197 years. Pitt finally ends their streak of regional futility and makes the Final Four, but will lose in the Semifinals to a strong Purdue team who is finally putting all of its NBA talent to good use. UNC easily handles Purdue in the National title game, completing one of the best mid-season turnarounds in recent history.