The first weekend of the NCAA tourney’s behind us and the brackets are a shambles! Now that we got rid of those other 52 teams we can really get down to business! Let’s scrap those bent-up brackets and start anew with the teams still playing and your boy Kirkster picking the winners! My credentials: Last year I correctly picked Louisville vs Michigan in the Final with Louisville winning it all, and that’s not all. I brazenly picked Mercer over Duke ON THE AIR Friday morning and all of my Final 4 teams are still alive and kickin’ at this year’s dance, making me a bit of an expert over here! I’ve decided to re-shuffle the deck, working with the teams in the Sweet 16 to find this year’s champion, unhindered by hopes of fame, perfection and Buffett’s Billion. Here’s how the rest of this year’s tournament will play out as we work our way to April 7th in Arlington, Texas.

As we look at the Sweet 16, three number 1 seeds remain, but will all three get to the Elite 8? I’ve got overall #1 Florida beating UCLA, and Arizona beating San Diego State, but this will be the end of the line for Tony Bennett’s Virginia Cavaliers as “I-to-the Izzo” and Michigan State will rise up and play on. For a team that hasn’t really been great since Terry Holland coached Ralph Sampson, Virginia will have gained valuable experience. Look for Dayton to continue it’s Cinderella run with a win over #10 seed Stanford and Iowa State and DeAndre “Big Daddy” Kane will find a way to rally the troops and beat UConn. Out West, Baylor clips #2 seed Wisconsin, sending the Badgers home early…again! I see Kentucky continuing to gel, fighting off a tenacious Louisville team and Michigan puts Tennessee out for good this time.

Moving on to the Elite 8, Florida pulls Cinderella Dayton’s dance card, ending the Flyers run and heating up speculation on where this tourney’s “IT” coach, Archie Miller will end up. If Miller’s smart he’ll turn this blast of celebrity into a marquis gig, a la FGCU’s Andy Enfield and his big bounce to USC after last year’s historic Sweet 16 run. Michigan State beats Iowa State advancing to yet another Final 4. It’ll be the Arizona Wildcats besting the Baylor Bears and Michigan beats Calipari and Kentucky. That makes this year’s Final 4 my Final 4 from before last week’s First Four, try and keep up; Florida, Michigan State, Arizona, and Michigan. It’ll be Gators over Spartans and Wolverines over Wildcats. That makes it Florida vs Michigan in the title game the first Monday in April. Go ahead and crown ’em! Crown the Gators and Billy Donovan, for they will cut down the nets at the House That Jerry Built!

Follow Kirk @KirkMcEwen


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