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NCAA Tournament: Round of 64 Picks

Midwest Region

1. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 16. Hampton Pirates

Hampton’s coach couldn’t even figure out how to properly use his cellphone after his team beat Manhattan. How could we possibly believe he can figure out how to beat Kentucky?

Pick: 1. Kentucky Wildcats

8. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 9. Purdue Boilermakers

Neither team is going to run up and down the floor and score at will, it’s going to be a slugfest. In these types of games the better team in the paint usually wins and Purdue can dominate with two 7-footers.

Pick: 9. Purdue Boilermakers

5. West Virginia vs. 12. Buffalo Bulls

Bobby Hurley’s team is a very popular pick to pull a classic 5-12 upset. That’s because his team moves up and down the court at a very fast-pace and the Mountaineers are battling injuries to some of their top guys. But while it’s a sexy pick it’s hard to go with a smaller team that doesn’t shoot well from 3-point range against a team that puts on a tough full-court press defense.

Pick: 5. West Virginia Mountaineers

4. Maryland Terrapins vs. 13. Valparaiso Crusaders

Every year it seems that a 13-seed upsets a 4-seed now and Valparaiso’s tough defense will make the Terps work hard for every single basket they make. But Maryland is one of the toughest teams in the country and they say the NCAA Tournament is about good guard play, which Maryland definitely had with Dez Wells and Melo Trimble.

Pick: 4. Maryland Terrapins

6. Butler Bulldogs vs. 11. Texas Longhorns

The argument could be made that Texas shouldn’t even be in the Big Dance but they did and they have an opportunity to take advantage of a perfect opponent. They are bigger than Butler and they play a very tough style of defense, which matches up very well against a team that doesn’t particularly shoot all that well. But Butler scraps and Texas is horribly inconsistent, which should make for an interesting game.

Pick: 11. Texas Longhorns

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 14. Northeastern Huskies

Notre Dame can score with the best of them against the best of them and that is something that is hard to find in college basketball right now. Any team that can beat both Duke and North Carolina to win the ACC Tournament should be able to beat Northeastern in their first NCAA Tournament game.

Pick: 3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. Wichita State Shockers vs. 10. Indiana Hoosiers

Yogi Ferrell is a very good player and Tom Creen is a very good coach. Indiana has really struggled down the stretch but have still beaten very good teams this year. But Wichita State is probably under-seeded at a seven, they are more like a five and have some of the best guards in the country.

Pick: 7. Wichita State Shockers

2. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 15. New Mexico State Aggies

The Aggies have a lot of size but even though Kansas is playing banged up right now, they have way more way more skill and should move on pretty easily.

Pick: 2. Kansas Jayhawks

East Region

1. Villanova Wildcats vs. Lafayette Leopards

Lafayette can shoot three’s but this very well may be the best Villanova team in history.

Pick: 1. Villanova Wildcats

8. NC State Wolfpack vs. 9. LSU Tigers

It’s crazy how two of the most inconsistent teams in the country are playing each other in the first round. This game can look to be going on way and then by the next media timeout completely turn and go the other way. But while guards usually are the answer in the NCAA Tournament, LSU has some very powerful forwards who can control this game.

Pick: 9. LSU Tigers

5. Northern Iowa Panthers vs. 12. Wyoming Cowboys

Seth Tuttle is a fantastic player and the Panthers have incredible depth. However, Wyoming showed a lot by beating Boise State and San Diego State to take the Mountain West Conference. Plus, the teams that generally pull first round upsets are the ones that control the pace of the game, which is exactly what they do by playing one of the slowest, most methodical offenses in the country.

Pick: 12. Wyoming Cowboys

4. Louisville Cardinals vs. 13. UC Irvine Anteaters

Yes, UC Irvine has a literal giant in 7-foot-6 Mamadou N’diaye and his backup is 7-foot-2 Greek Ionnis Dimakopalous. If that wasn’t enough height, there is 6-foot-10 Mike Best. Double-double machine Will Davis II, seems like a small guy next to them and he’s 6-foot-8. That’s some serious size but Montrezl Harrell is one of the toughest forwards in the country and very strong and very physical and athletic enough to make it work against those guys. He’ll have his work cut out for him but Wayne Blackshear and Terry Rozier are at least good enough 3-point shooter to win a game outside if they need.

Pick: 4. Louisville Cardinals

6. Providence Friars vs. 11. Dayton Flyers

Dayton is essentially playing a second home game in the tournament, just an hour away in Columbus, Ohio, but Providence has two of the best scorers in the country (LaDontae Henton and Kris Dun) and they won’t allowed it to be a quick exit for the Friars.

Pick: 6. Providence Friars

3. Oklahoma Sooners vs. 14. UAlbany Great Danes

The Sooners have been through incredibly tough battles and are so much better defensively than when they lost in the Round of 64 last season. But if there is an incredible story it’s UAlbany and Peter Hooley, who spent a month away from the team to be with his mother in Australia as she was dying with cancer. In the America East Conference Championship he hit a miraculous buzzer-beater to win the game. Since his return the Great Danes have been playing inspired basketball. The team has lost only one game since January 3, which actually included Hooley’s absence and it’s their third-straight trip to the tournament. If ever there was a time Will Brown earned his first Round of 64 victory it’s right now.

Pick: 14. UAlbany Great Danes

7. Michigan State Spartans vs. 10. Georgia Bulldogs

Tom Izzo makes sure better than anybody that his team is the most prepared and the best-coached squad in the country at this point in the year. They are playing much better than a No. 7 seed right now.

Pick: 7. Michigan State

2. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 15. Belmont Bruins

Even without having their squad at 100-percent, Virginia is just way too good defensively for Belmont to pull off an upset.

Pick: 2. Virginia Cavaliers

South Region

1. Duke Blue Devils vs. 16. Robert Morris Colonials

Jahlil Okafor is a matchup nightmare against the best players in the country. He’ll rip apart Robert Morris apart.

Pick: 1. Duke Blue Devils

8. San Diego State Aztecs vs. St. John’s Red Storm

If St. John’s had Chris Obekpa, maybe, they would have a chance against a very tough San Diego State defense. But he’s suspended and it doesn’t look like the Red Storm have much of a chance.

Pick: 8. San Diego State Aztecs

5. Utah Utes vs. 12. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Two teams who like to attack and score in this one, which is good for the viewer but bad for the Utes because they don’t play well when an opposing team comes right at them and that is exactly what Stephen F. Austin is going to do.

Pick: 12. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

4. Georgetown Hoyas vs. 13. Eastern Washington Eagles

We’ve learned to hate Georgetown over the past few seasons but they may be due for a win here.However, they are nowhere near as good as their No. 4 seed would say and Tyler Harvey, the nation’s leading score is going to be a hard guy for the Hoyas to stop.

Pick: 13. Eastern Washington Eagles

6. SMU Mustangs vs. 11. UCLA Bruins

SMU might be the most under-seeded team in the tournament, worthy of a four-seed, and UCLA is lucky to even be in the thing.

Pick: 6. SMU Mustangs

7. Iowa Hawkeyes vs. 10. Davidson Wildcats

Iowa may be ranked righter but Davidson is a better team. They shoot well from three, run an efficient offense and take care of the ball.

Pick: 10. Davidson Wildcats

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. North Dakota State Bison

Gonzaga may have their best team ever in this tournament and really know how to score. They should make easy work out of North Dakota State.

Pick: 2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

West Region

1. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 16. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky and Sam Dekker should have their way in this one.

Pick: 1. Wisconsin Badgers

8. Oregon Ducks vs. 9. Oklahoma City State Cowboys

Oklahoma State is limping into the tournament while the Ducks just played in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Pick: 8. Oregon Ducks

5. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 12. Wofford Terriers

Wofford is a nice team but Bobby Porter is a remarkable player the the smaller Terriers team just doesn’t have anybody who can match up with him.

Pick: 5. Arkansas

4. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 13. Harvard Crimson

Harvard is a very, very tough team and Tommy Amaker has proven he knows how to coach but if the Tar Heels continue to play like they did in the ACC Tournament they are going to be incredibly hard to beat.

Pick: 4. North Carolina Tar Heels

6. Xavier Musketeers vs. 11. Ole Miss Rebels

BYU was the original pick in this game but Ole Miss absolutely dominated inside and made easy basket after easy basket inside against the Cougars in the First Four. Xavier just isn’t good as home and isn’t playing well right now. Ole Miss will used their interior game to pound away for a win.

Pick: 11. Ole Miss Rebels

3. Baylor Bears vs. 14. Georgia State Panthers

R.J. Hunter is a legitimate NBA prospect and former Louisville guard Kevin Ware knows what it takes to win in the NCAA Tournament but the Bears are just too athletic for the Panthers.

Pick: 3. Baylor Bears

7. VCU Rams vs. 10. Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State has a talented point guard but he’s a freshman going up against a great press defense.

Pick: 7. VCU Rams

2. Arizona Wildcats vs. 15. Texas Southern Tigers

Arizona probably should have been a No. 1 seed and look to have all the pierces and all the talent to make a serious Final Four run.

Pick: 2. Arizona Wildcats

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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