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NCAA Tournament: Round of 32 Picks

Midwest Region

1. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 8. Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati likes to pack it in and play very tough defense, which will make it tougher than usual for Karl Anthony-Towns and Willie Culley-Stein to have their big nights. But Kentucky can score in so many different ways and Cincinnati won’t be able to generate enough offense against the Wildcat’s tough defense to keep up.

Pick: 1. Kentucky Wildcats

4. Maryland Terrapins vs. 5. West Virginia Mountaineers

Many picked Buffalo to upset West Virginia because the Mountaineers were battling injuries but Juwan State and Gary Browne seemed just fine. But they’ll be in a war against an incredibly tough Maryland team that used a timely steal to secure a victory against a very tough Valpo squad. Dez Wells and Melo Trimble are really, really good and should continue to lead Maryland to success this tournament.

Pick: 4. Maryland Terrapins

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 6. Butler Bulldogs

Butler did a great job playing a very tough game against a Texas team that challenged them inside but even despite Notre Dame’s close call to Northeastern, they should have enough firepower on offense to beat Butler.

Pick: 3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 7. Wichita State Shockers

Kansas cruised to a victory against a New Mexico State team they just had clear advantages against but Fred VanVleet was simply unstoppable as Wichita State edged a strong Indiana squad. Ron Baker needs to shoot better but with those two going the Shockers are going to be a handful for the Jayhawks. And to top it off, they are the jilted little school and going to be playing with so much emotion in this game against the bit-time state power that gets all the attention. If great guard play and inspired basketball is what leads to these big upsets, look for a shocker.

Pick: 7. Wichita State Shockers

West Region

1. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 8. Oregon Ducks

Oregon’s lack of size is going to be exposed by the 7-foot Frank Kaminsky, aka, the best player in college basketball this season, and the 6-foot-9 Sam Dekker.

Pick: 1. Wisconsin Badgers

4. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 5. Arkansas Razorbacks

Both teams were put through battles but proved to be the superior ones in their second round games. Arkansas got a huge boost from Michael Qualls but it wasn’t until Bobby Portis got going that they started to heat up. North Carolina has the height and toughness inside to slow Portis down.

Pick: 4. North Carolina Tar Heels

6. Xavier Musketeers vs. 14. Georgia State Panthers

Once again, Georgia State will have the best player on the floor in R.J. Hunter but the Musketeers can dominate a game inside and use that to kick out for open threes.

Pick: 6. Xavier Musketeers

2. Arizona Wildcats vs. 10. Ohio State Buckeyes

Arizona coasted through their game against Texas Southern and scored 93 points. They have to be up right away to play Ohio State but they still have the firepower to approach triple-digits in the game.

Pick: 2. Arizona Wildcats

East Region

1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 8. NC State Wolfpack

As expected, the inconsistent stretches by both NC State and LSU led to an incredibly exciting and back-and-forth game but the Wolfpack can’t afford play bad basketball even a momentl if they hope to upset Villanova.

Pick: 1. Villanova Wildcats

4. Louisville Cardinals vs. 5. Northern Iowa Panthers

Northern Iowa had a lot of success from 3-point range in their first game of the tournament but expected Montrezl Harrell to have a much better game for the Cardinals and to control the paint with a matchup that isn’t against two huge 7-footers, including on guy who is 7-foot-6.

Pick: 4. Louisville Cardinals

3. Oklahoma Sooners vs. 11. Dayton Flyers

Archie Miller has put his name in among the best coaches in the country with more tournament success. Oklahoma is vulnerable but do have a major size advantage and have a great shot to dominate this game on the board. But who can we possibly pick against Dayton, essentially at home, at this point?

Pick: 11. Dayton Flyers

2. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 7. Michigan State Spartans

Though their struggles earlier in the year led to the Spartans dropping this low in the seeding, they have played much better than a seven-seed down the stretch. But they’ll have a very tough time scoring against Virginia.

Pick: 2. Virginia Cavaliers

South Region

1. Duke Blue Devils vs. 8. San Diego State Aztecs

Duke is just bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic than a tough Aztec squad that continues to play a very strong defensive game.

Pick: 1. Duke Blue Devils

4. Georgetown Hoyas vs. 5. Utah Utes

Both teams avoided the popular upset picks in their first games and it should be a war this time. Utah has very good guards and have more firepower than 57 points would shot. If Georgetown plays a sloppy game like they did against Eastern Washington the Utes will be able to advance.

Pick: 5. Utah Utes

11. UCLA Bruins vs. 14. UAB Blazers

UCLA shouldn’t have even been in the tournament but they’ve made the most of their appearance. Meanwhile, UAB is coming off a shocking victory of an Iowa State team many believed could make a Final Four run. Both teams cleared up on the boards in their runs but Bryce Alford is by far the best player in this game and should lead UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Pick: 11. UCLA Bruins

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 7. Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes took over Iowa’s game against Davidson. However, they won’t be able to generate enough offense to beat a Gonzaga team that is loaded with great scorers.

Pick: 2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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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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