I could feel the heat coming from all of you over the last couple of days. You’re waiting desperately for me to reveal my picks for the NCAA Basketball Tournament aren’t you? If you fall into this category then get a life will ya?
Who would I be to sit here and talk wagering on sports every day and not offer my picks for the Final Four? Without further adieu I give you my 2013 NCAA College basketball picks for the Final Four and a sleeper team in each region to keep an eye on.
MIDWEST – LOUISVILLE
It’s easy to take the Big East Champs and fill them in safely to Final Four simply because they’re hot, but there’s three other reasons I like them. First, you have a solid, experienced coach in Rick Pitino. Secondly, the tournament is about guard-play and Louisville has good ones in Peyton Siva and Russ Smith and lastly, they are long and athletic all over the court.
SLEEPER – Cincinnati, They rank in the top 15 in rebounding and blocked shots in the country, but don’t shoot the ball very well from the field or free throw line. The tournament is about toughness and defense and this team has both.
WEST – OHIO STATE
Again, easy to go with them simply because they are hot coming off the Big Ten Tourney title but this is a good team in a tough conference. They have excellent guard-play led by Chris Kraft and they have size and athleticism down low. Toss in the fact that Thad Matta has become as good of a coach as he is a recruiter. There are potential challenges with Gonzaga , Pitt and Wisconsin but I love the toughness and style of this team.
- Self and company hope to be doing this in three weeks.
SLEEPER – Belmont, This is a veteran team with loads of tournament experience and they can shoot the ball extremely well. I can easily see this team getting to the Sweet 16 with wins over Arizona and New Mexico.
SOUTH – KANSAS
Lest we forget this team was in the finals last year and lost to National Champion Kentucky. With four seniors on the floor and an outstanding freshman in Ben McLemore, KU is clearly a one seed worth its weight. Head Coach Bill Self has found himself among the top coaches in the land now with a title and other final four appearances. Georgetown and Florida could be threats, but the Hoyas struggle to score enough points and the weak SEC could haunt the Gators.
SLEEPER – Minnesota, The Gophers are the exact opposite of why I like teams like Louisville and Ohio State. They are anything but hot, but get a UCLA team now without #2 scorer Jordan Adams who is out with a broken foot and questions about Ben Howlind’s future. Let’s not forget Tubby Smith knows what he’s doing in the tournament.
EAST – MIAMI, FL
I don’t care if you’re a perennial basketball powerhouse or not, if you win the ACC title and tournament title then you’re doing something right regardless of how up or down the league is. I was ready to write this team off after losses at Duke and Wake Forest but they rebounded nicely in tournament play. Shane Larkin is one of the top guards in the nation. The 3-guard offense and size down low will create problems for opponents. Their toughness on the defensive end is exactly why I like them to beat Indiana.
SLEEPER – Davidson, The Wildcats have won 17-straight! They are extremely balanced offensively and are one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country. I can see a scenario where they knock off Marquette and then Butler to advance to the Sweet 16. Keep an eye on their conference player of the year Jake Cohen.
NATIONAL CHAMPION - Louisville will defeat Kansas in the Finals.