Today is the day. The NCAA Tournament has officially started.
Sure, we’ve had some fun these past two days with what the NCAA wants us to call the “first round,” but the real games begin today. Over the next four days, 48 games will be played, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yet, despite the excitement, I’m not here to talk about how great the next few weeks will be, because we all know they will be. I’m here to defend my Final Four picks. So without further ado, here is my Final Four:
1. Oklahoma: Despite being the No. 2 seed in the West, the Sooners are arguably the favorite to make it to the Final Four from this region. The No. 1 seed, Oregon, was a highly disputed No. 1 seed and is a team that, because of playing on the West coast, nobody is really sure what to expect. Personally, I am one of the Oregon doubters and believe this region is Oklahoma’s to lose. Buddy Hield is arguably the best player in the nation, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him carry the Sooners to the title. In fact, I expect it, as Oklahoma is my choice for the National Champion.
2. Kansas: The No. 1 overall seed in the tourney, Kansas is going to have their work cut out for them. In arguably the toughest region, the South has California, Maryland, Arizona, Miami and Villanova along with Kansas as national title contenders. Yet, I still believe Kansas is going to make it out alive. While Kansas doesn’t have that one “star” player, they’ve been the most consistent team all year, and I expect that to continue into the big dance.
3. Michigan State: Of all my Final Four teams, no other has as easy of a road as MSU. It’s hard enough to pick against the Spartans and Tom Izzo in March, but when they are gifted with the opportunity to play a No. 15 seed, two overseeded teams in Dayton and Syracuse, and then if they can get through Seton Hall or Utah, Virginia, a team they have knocked out the past two NCAA Tournaments. While anything can happen, I’m not picking against MSU until at least the Final Four.
4. Kentucky: One of the keys to deep runs in the NCAA Tournament is strong guard play. Lucky for Kentucky, they have elite guard play. With Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray, the Wildcats have, in my opinion, the best backcourt in the nation. Ulis has been great all year and will probably finish third in the player of the year voting behind Hield and Denzel Valentine, and Murray went off in the SEC Championship game. All of that said, I haven’t even mentioned their bigs or their Hall of Fame coach. Kentucky is the real deal. Don’t sleep on the Wildcats.
So, there you have it. Those are my Final Four picks, and I’m sticking to them.