It is by far the best time of the year, well, for sports anyways. March Madness is back again this year and it will undoubtedly provide plenty of excitement.
This year’s bracket is different than the typical bracket that we are used to. Many different surprises and surprising names in certain spots.
Everyone is wondering what team will be this year’s Cinderella, what team will be the biggest disappointment and what team will end up winning the championship.
I never considered myself as an expert of anything, but if I were to make a claim at being an expert in anything it would be filling out an NCAA bracket. Not trying to brag here but I did successfully predict three of the previous four national champions — well, yeah I’ll brag about that.
And on top of that, in 2010 when Duke won the national title not only did I predict Duke winning the whole show but I was also correct in selecting three of the final four teams. So let’s just say that you can trust me.
That being said, if you are waiting until the last second to fill out your bracket let me help you out with some notable teams you should either consider or forget about.
The Obvious: The Florida Gators.
Florida has been the best team all season long but still have some questions that need to be answered. They defeated Kentucky three times this season but I do believe that Kentucky exposed them in a number of ways. Unfortunately for Florida, they have some tough teams on their side of the bracket. But nonetheless, were one to pick Florida to go to the Final Four it would definitely be a good safe pick.
The Proven, yet Unproven: The Wichita State Shockers.
The Shockers are 34-0, have a number 1 seed and are returning after making the Final Four last season. Seems like a pretty safe bet to go the distance again, right? Maybe not. The Shockers have proven that they can go deep into the tournament but are also somewhat unproven this season. I don’t like that everyone is viewing them as if this were football and seeing who they beat. Here is the reality — the Shockers are 34-0. They do have a tough draw as well though, Michigan, Duke and Louisville are all in their quarter bracket. Hard to imagine Wichita making it back to the Final Four.
The Dark Horse: The Michigan State Spartans.
I have two words for you: Tom Izzo. The Spartans have had an up-and-down season but are finally healthy just in time for the tournament. They are always a formidable team come tourney time, but I truly believe that this is a Spartan team that could make another run to the Final Four. On top of that, they may have the best quarter bracket. Don’t sleep on Michigan State.
The Even Darker Dark Horse: The Oklahoma State Cowboys.
I know, this is a stretch, but the Cowboys have always had one of the more talented teams in the country. Aside from all of the different issues this season they still have a fantastic player in Marcus Smart who is poised for a deep run in the tourney. They would have to get by Arizona in the second round (assuming they get past Gonzaga first). Don’t call me crazy, but I actually have the Cowboys getting to the Elite Eight, falling just short to Wisconsin.
So those are some key teams to consider when filling out your bracket. As far as my Final Four? I thought you would never ask. I predict Florida, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Duke making it to this year’s Final Four. And my champion is the Michigan State Spartans.
Now I will admit, I am not as confident in my champion pick this year as I have been in years past, but that’s okay, I think Izzo will have the boys ready.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.