You know, for all this talk about how wide open this year is, I find myself agreeing with all the folks who are not going out on any limbs in picking their Final Four. I think a lot of that can be explained away rather easily: while there were no dominant teams in November, December, and January, in February and March a few teams did separate themselves from the pack.

Now are we putting too much stock in the last six weeks, and pushing the rest of the field, which we thought all year was solid, down a notch as we elevate those elite six or seven? Probably.

I also think since the bulk of those teams that have created distance between themselves and the field are name programs, we’re elevating them even more. Beyond Oregon, it feels right for Kansas, North Carolina, and Michigan State to be considered the favorites regardless of the year.

Still, as I look at my bracket, my only stretch pick is a team that is the most dominant program over the past five seasons. Which means that is not much of a stretch.

Anyway, he are my picks:

Final Four

Michigan State

My heart pick is Kansas over Michigan State for the title.
My brain pick is Sparty over my Jayhawks.

I kind of hate myself for all those picks.

KU’s going to get shut down by someone in their difficult region, right?
Oregon has done nothing in recent years to make a run to Houston seem likely, right?
Kentucky? Seriously? They’re going to lose to Indiana in the round of 32, how can I have them in the Final Four?
And everyone is picking Michigan State in the Midwest. Isn’t Virginia exactly the kind of team that is going to take that and use it as fuel to get out of Chicago?

But, then…

KU is playing the best ball of any Jayhawk team since the 2012 team that lost in the national title game. And Devonte’ Graham isn’t letting them lose.[1]
Oregon has been destroying people out west all year.
John Calipari has only gone national title game (losing in OT after blowing a nine-point lead with 2:00 to play), Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four, National Champs, National title game, Final Four in his last seven NCAA appearances. Dude’s teams just win in March, and I think he’s finally figuring out this year’s team. Plus Tyler Ulis is not letting them lose.
And Tom Izzo is John Calipari with less talent: the Spartans are peaking and playing with the confidence that it will take a perfect game to beat them.

I’m not picking any huge upsets. I have a five seed in the Sweet 16, but no teams seeded lower than that making it out of the first weekend. I have five Big 12 teams in the Sweet 16, which I realize is optimistic.

So, basically, my bracket sucks.

But screw it.

This is the March where my Jayhawks get right with the Hoops Gods. After two years of being punished for some transgression(s), the luck will change this year. Perry Ellis is going to slice-and-dice teams up inside. Graham will play so well that in three weeks KU fans will be worried about him declaring for the NBA draft. Frank Mason is going to be steady, making huge plays that win at least one game. Wayne Selden is going to shake off his troubles and be a consistent, solid contributor every game. Landen Lucas is going to continue to be the rock inside that makes everything else work. And every night one guy off the bench is going to have an impact on the final result.

Let’s win this muther.

Rock Chalk, bitches!

  1. Jinx!  ↩