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OTE Staff Picks: Bracketpocalypse Edition

The same gang who can't get a half-dozen football games right try to pick the correct Final Four teams out of quadrillions of possible combinations. Yeah, this'll go well.

What form will the Bracket Destructor take this year?
What form will the Bracket Destructor take this year?

Mike Jones

Champion: Louisville over Michigan State

Final Four: Florida, Arizona, Louisville, Michigan State
Matchup I'd Love to See: Iowa State v. Michigan State - Now don't get me wrong, I hate ISU but I remember that 2000 game vividly. Nurse, Fizer and Tinsley vs. Richardson, Cleaves and Peterson? I don't know if these teams have that same level of talent but I think it would be a fantastic matchup. I don't see ISU beating Villanova but if they do I think it's going to be hell of a game between the Cyclones and Spartans.
Cinderella: Well, New Mexico isn't exactly a Cinderella at a 7 seed but I think they could make some noise. If they beat Stanford they'll get Kansas in the second round. With Embiid's status in question I think the Jayhawks are a vulnerable team. They'd then get Syrcause who didn't exactly finish the season strong and play either Florida or VCU in the Elite Eight. That game wouldn't be easy but I think New Mexico has a serious chance at making some noise.
Team Who Will Probably Troll Us All: Gonzaga
Overrated: Wichita State
Underrated: Louisville - A FOUR SEED? LOL REALLY?
Greatest 11 Seed Ever: GO IOWA AWESOME. /loses play-in games /cries for weeks

Jesse Collins

FF: Kansas, MSU, Arizona, Louisville -- I think MSU and Louisville are playing as good as anyone in the nation right now, and I think Kansas still has enough talent - and maybe a big enough spotlight now - to do damage in their region.

NC Game: Louisville over MSU 62-58
Cinderella: NEBRASKA BEATS CREIGHTON AND GOES TO THE SWEET 16!!! But uh, SF Austin and Harvard as my 12/5 upsets.
Team that will kill me: I'm already bitter that KU is going to kill me for picking them. I have no doubt that the ghost of UNI will rise up and beat them in the round of 32 because of this poor choice on my end. Ugh.
Overrated: Oh Wichita State...
Underrated: Louisville is 4 because...

Best Mascot: Lumberjacks because... lumberjacks.

Candystripes for Breakfast

Final Four: MSU, Florida, Louisville, Arizona

National Championship: MSU over Louisville
Matchup I want to see: Nebraska vs. Creighton, round of 32; I just want to see if the state of Nebraska spontaneously combusts due to this game occurring again, but on a national stage.
Cinderella pick: For as much as a well-known, decently seeded team can be a Cinderella, I'd like to see UNC make an Elite 8 run, because not breaking my bracket would be a good thing.
#1 Seed most in danger of making history: Virginia. Only because I think Coastal Carolina is actually pretty good, and doesn't have to play their way into the round of 64.
Teams most likely to bust your bracket: Wichita State and Wisconsin. At least one of them will go down a round earlier than you think they will, and the other a round later.
Team I'm irrationally cheering for: George Washington, with former IU player Maurice Creek, who's finally been able to show the talent he has without getting injured during the season.
Team I'm irrationally cheering against: Wichita State, but not for the reasons most people are. I don't mind them doing well, I just don't want them to win the whole thing. Why is that? 1976, that's why.

Other random nonsense: Every year, I fill out a bracket by flipping a coin for every game. Heads means the higher seed advances, tails the lower. This year, flipping a coin tells me that Virginia will beat Wichita State in the national championship game, and Florida will be upset in the first round.


Champion: Arizona over Michigan State

Final Four: Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Michigan State
Matchup I'd Love to See: A VCU-Syracuse matchup in the South's Elite Eight would be really interesting for the contrast of styles. Unfortunately, I doubt that happens.
Cinderella: The winner of Iowa/Tennessee.
Overrated: UMass and St. Louis. Lot of love for the A-10 in this tournament, and I don't understand why just yet.
Underrated: Louisville, Iowa, and Tennessee.
Team to Cheer Against: Kentucky. I can't stand Calipari, and while I enjoy Bruce Weber doing comical things like bombing out in the first round or something, I want him to beat Kentucky. Failing that, I want Wichita State to thrash UK, then be whipped by Louisville.
Team to Cheer For: Dayton. Get fucked, Ohio State.
Stupid Upset I Chose: North Dakota State over Oklahoma in the 5-12.
Stupid Ignorance of Imminent Upset: Wisconsin. Picked them to the Elite Eight again, meaning Oregon will whip them by 15. Same probably goes for UVA, if someone can force them out of their glacial pace.
Stupid White Guy: Greg McDermott. I eagerly await the Frank Kaminsky/Doug McDermott Awkward White Guy Three-Shooting Contest (sponsored by Barbasol).


Champion: Florida over Creighton

Final Four: Florida, Iowa State, Creighton, Michigan
Team to Cheer Against: Duke always and forever.
Teams to Cheer For: Tennessee, led by Cuonzo Martin the quintessential 90s Boilermaker. Also, Saint Louis led by the University of Evansville's old coach Jim Crews. I attended his basketball camp a couple of times. He seemed like a good dude.
Stupid Upset I Chose: Saint Louis over Louisville
Stupid Thing About Life: I have a pretty easy job, all things considered. I've had this job for two years and somehow, despite being really busy only about a month out of the year, I'm always busy during the first two weeks of the tournament. Life is tough sometimes.

Aaron Yorke

Final Four: Florida, Michigan State, Creighton, Wichita State
Championship: Wichita State over Michigan State
Favorite Matchup: Ohio State versus Syracuse in the Third Round (of 32). The Buckeyes don't have the shooters to beat Syracuse's zone, but Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney will be locked up by Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott. It is going to be a slugfest. In the end, Syracuse wins because Craft turns the ball over nine times.
How my bracket will be destroyed: I'm picking New Mexico to go far again. Last year I had them in the Final Four and they lost to Harvard. This year I have them playing Florida in the regional final and I'm just hoping the Lobos get to the Kansas game.
Favorite Cinderella: Wichita State! Cinderella one-seed! They already came close to beating Louisville last season, and they don't have to beat both Duke AND Michigan this season. Perhaps they can SHOCK the world again?
Cinderella that is actually a Cinderella: Tennessee. I think there's a decent chance they get past Iowa, UMass, and Duke to the Sweet Sixteen.


Champion: Florida over Louisville

Final Four: Florida, Arizona, Louisville, Michigan State
Underrated: Louisville
Team to Cheer Against: Wisconsin. B1G solidarity can kiss my ass.
Team to Cheer For: American. This bracket is proof that if you cheer for Wisconsin you hate America. Lee Greenwood is ashamed of everyone who cheers for Bucky.
Stupid Upset I Chose: What are you talking about? My bracket will be perfect.

Stupid Ignorance of Imminent Upset: See above.

Green Akers

Champion: MSU over Texas

Final Four: MSU, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin

Teams to Cheer For: Sigh...I'd say MSU, but we're pretty much hosed thanks to every expert and their mother picking us to win. Get off my bandwagon.

Teams to Cheer Against: UCLA, because they're a somewhat trendy pick I don't believe in that's about to [REDACTED] themselves out in the first weekend. Kentucky, but less about Calipari than so I can track down the 40-0 crowd and dispense a few more razzings. And Duke because obviously.

Best Mascot: I don't mean to put anyone on blast, but Jesse missed the mark here. Three words: Coastal. Carolina. CHANTICLEERS. That's a fighting rooster, folks, with turquoise as their primary color, no less. Unfortunately, they probably won't score 30 against Virginia in the first round, so they'll quickly pass into the annals of history. Honorable mention to the St. Louis Billikens.

Why My Bracket Is Already Doomed: Texas in the final is a stretch and I know it, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Do I know perfectly well that they are likely to be this year's Georgetown (early, embarrssing flameout which ruins my bracket)? Yes, yes I do. Picked 'em anyway. I'm also sending UConn and New Mexico to the Elite Eight, though I think those are more defensible, as Napier and Boatright are as good a guard combo as you'll see, and New Mexico's triumvirate of Kendall Williams, Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk are a lot of fun to watch.

Graham Filler

Florida, MSU, Zona, Louisville

These are the well-known picks. Florida is strong across the board – Why pick against them? MSU is as talented as anyone in the tourney and playing well. Zona has the easiest bracket and you could see them matching up nicely against unathletic Creighton/Wisconsin teams. Louisville did it once, they can do it again, the team plays well together…

I think the #Cornmageddeon matchup would be awesome to see.

Don’t pick Georgetown. Just don’t.