Opinion: Picks for NCAA Bracket- Round of 68

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Adam Duffy, Staff Writer

It’s March again. New upsets, runs and crying fans. Will there be another 15-2 upset? Probably not. Will Duke continue its ferocious run? With my luck, of course they will. These are my picks for this years round of 68 in the 2017 NCAA March Madness Tournament.

Villanova v. Mount St. Mary’s/New Orleans
Pick: Villanova
The defending national champions have full intention of making their way back to the Final Four as a number one seed. A 16 seed has never beaten a number one — it’s not happening here either.

Virginia Tech v. Wisconsin
Pick: Wisconsin
Virginia Tech can’t play big teams. An easy schedule and losses to Miami, Louisville and Wake Forest do not indicate a healthy postseason. I do not care how close the game is. A loss is a loss. This year, you’ll be spelling Virginia Tech with a capital L.

Virginia v. UNC Wilmington
Pick: UNC Wilmington
As much as I love our local Cougars, UNC Wilmington beating down the College of Charleston in the CAA championship looked like the New England Patriots playing four quarters against the Cario Comets. I near felt bad in the stands, as Charleston looked for mercy. Sure, they shortened the lead to six. But, were they ever REALLY in the game? UNC Wilmington is coming in hot with momentum, and is becoming much more than the second UNC team. Virginia is good, but I think this is UNCW’s turning point.

Florida v. ETSU
Pick: Florida
ETSU barely made it out alive in the Southern Conference championship against UNC Greensboro. No real reason the Gators can’t chomp down the spartans.

SMU v. USC/ Providence
Pick: SMU.
Ah, SMU. Home to the 1987 NCAA football death penalty. Luckily, their basketball team has stayed away from the trouble, landing on the bracket. Having been consistent on effort throughout the regular season puts them in for a tough fight against either USC or Providence. When I think of USC or Providence winning I get a feeling of guilt holding down my shoulders, so we’ll say SMU to be safe.

Baylor v. New Mexico St.
Pick: Baylor
It has been rough for Baylor athletics through the scandals of the past couple of seasons, but somehow the Bears have ignored the noise to get in the dance as a third seed. Sorry NMSU, there’s (maybe) always next year.

S. Carolina v. Marquette
Pick: S. Carolina
Lose to Seton Hall? Lose to South Carolina.

Duke v. Troy
Pick: Duke
Wow. It has been a season for the Blue Devils. Suspended stars, tripping opponents and Coach confiscating clothes. Once Duke saw the bright lights of the ACC tournament, they turned it ON. Tatum and Kennard came to play. A reminder that Grayson Allen is not the only player in Durham.

Gonzaga v. South Dakota St.
Pick: Gonzaga
I love me some Gonzaga. The Zags threatened an unbeaten season in the regular season, beaten by a scrappy BYU. They are in my Final Four.

Northwestern v. Vanderbilt.
Pick: Vanderbilt
It’s a tossup. I called it in the air. Vanderbilt got it. What more do you want?

Notre Dame v. Princeton
Pick: Princeton
What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Ivy League. Princeton beating out Yale for the bid was expected, but I think they can take this. They played lockdown defense on Yale and will continue on Notre Dame.

W. Virginia v. Bucknell
Pick: W. Virginia
Who are we kidding. Neither are going to the promise land. Let’s keep with statistics and move on from this one.

Maryland v. Xavier
Pick: Xavier
Upsets make this tournament, and I think Xavier has the talent to push through single digit seeds like Maryland.

Florida State v. FGCU
G Pick: Florida State
If it were up to me, Florida would only consist of Disney and Universal. Unfortunately, my opinions mean very little to the NCAA selection committee. I’m going with Florida State. But, do not pick them for the sweet sixteen. It will come back to burn you.

St. Mary’s v. VCU
Pick: VCU
VCU was one of the lowest seeded teams to ever make the Final Four. They also will not stop emailing me. Though, they did get rammed by Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10. It was also the only time both teams in the A10 championship had the same mascot.

Arizona vs. North Dakota St.
Pick: Arizona
With all that time stranded in the desert, Arizona has to be practicing. Right?

Kansas v. NC Central/ UC Davis
Pick: Kansas
I like NC Central. I think they have a lot of potential. But, again, since the first NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament in 1939, there has never been the ultimate embarrassment: A first seed beaten by a sixteenth seed. Kansas is too powerful. Our resistance is futile.

Miami v. Michigan St.
Pick: Miami
Have you ever seen something beautiful die? Of course you have. Because you watched as on March 18, 2016. You watched the glorious number two seed Michigan State team, that Sports Illustrated had going to the Final Four, get punished by an unheard of 15th seed Middle Tennessee. They choked like the Falcons (too soon?). I have it down happening again. South Beach takes it.

Iowa St. v. Nevada
Pick: Iowa St.
Wolf Pack? Unconvincing. Cyclones? That sounds dangerous. Really saw nothing of these teams over the regular season. But hey, lets hope the old fashioned mascot pick works.

Purdue v. Vermont
Pick: Purdue
Purdue is like the Detroit Red Wings. Always in the postseason. Never taking any hardware home. Sorry, Catamounts. You have to give me a better reason to root for you than winning the American East.

Creighton vs Rhode Island
Pick: Rhode Island
For the smallest U.S. state, Rhode Island plays big. Winning the A10 and showing a dominant presence since the beginning of the regular season, Rhode Island is not going to go out without a good fight.

Oregon v. Iona
Pick: Oregon
Fun fact: Oregon won the 1939 NCAA DI basketball tournament. Fun fact: They will not win the 2017 NCAA DI basketball tournament. They’ll win this game though.

Louisville v. Jax. State
Pick: Louisville
Just hand Louisville the W. Sorry Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Save yourselves the plane fare.

UNC Chapel Hill v. Texas Southern
Pick: UNC Chapel Hill
Roy Williams and his well-oiled machine are yet again in the bracket. Yet again a top seed. Last years Championship loss to Villanova was as heart shattering for UNC fans as it was happy for Nova’s.They’re back. And they’re mad. An ACC loss does raise questions, but we’ll leave that for later in the bracket.

Arkansas v. Seton Hall
Pick: Arkansas
Arkansas gets chippy, as we saw in the SEC Championship with the classic exchanging of less-than-polite phrases and shoving we’ve come to see on all levels of basketball. They’re not letting Seton Hall slip by. Something tell me they would give anything to meet the Wildcats again. Guess when that would be? The Final Four.

Minnesota v. Middle Tennessee
Pick: Middle Tennessee
I get nervous over this one. Minnesota is really good. But, Mid Tennessee now has the floor to showcase that they are more than the nerd that beat up neighborhood bully Michigan State.

Butler v. Winthrop
Pick: Butler
Look at that. Our Winthrop Eagles in the NCAA tournament. Time really flies. Too bad they’re about to be eaten alive by an elite squad of bulldogs.

Cincinnati v. K State/ Wake Forest
Pick: K State/ Wake Forest
You know what Cincinnati is not that great. And they will fall. I mean, probably. Heck, it’s my bracket. I can make UC Davis win the whole thing if I want. My rules. And I rule that both K State and WF show more promise than Cincinnati

UCLA v. Kent State
Pick: UCLA
Right now, I have UCLA going all the way. I love the way Ball plays like Westbrook. Unlike Westbrook, Ball has a team behind him. UCLA dominates Kent State on every board I make.

Dayton v. Wichita State
Pick: Wichita State
Last year, Dayton lost to what would be a Final Four Syracuse. Now, Syracuse is in the NIT. Nevertheless, the Shockers have proven themselves worthy through a great regular season and, in my opinion, should be much higher than a tenth seed.

Kentucky v. N. Kentucky
Pick: Kentucky
Ah, an in-state rivalry. Except, they both travel out of state. And usually rivalries have some form of competition. Sorry, N. Kentucky. To be honest, I did not know there was a Kentucky university more north than Louisville. So, I guess you have that.