The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

March 21, 2013

An annual event that can be annoying and yet so rewarding

By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor

Thursday, March 21, 2013 — The annual spring rite of passage for college basketball fans, from the casual fan to the diehard, begins today with the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

With my bracket filled out after about 63 seconds of research (give or take 10 hours), here are my picks for this year’s big dance, along with some advice from myself as well as some research on different websites on how to pick the tournament.

Here we go starting in the second round by region:

Midwest - Louisville, Missouri, Oregon, Saint Louis, Memphis, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Duke.

West – Gonzaga, Pitts-burgh, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Arizona, New Mexico, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

South – Kansas, Carolina, VCU, Michigan, Minne-sota, Florida, Oklahoma and Georgetown.

East – Indiana, N.C. State, UNLV, Syracuse, Bucknell, Marquette, Illinois and Miami.

Sweet 16

Midwest – Louisville, Oregon, Michigan State and Duke.

West – Gonzaga, Kansas State, New Mexico and Ohio State.

South – Kansas, VCU, Florida and Georgetown.

East – Indiana, Syracuse, Marquette and Miami

Elite Eight

Midwest – Louisville and Michigan State.

West – Gonzaga and Ohio State.

South –Kansas and Georgetown.

East – Indiana and Miami.

My Final Four matchups are Louisville versus Ohio State and Georgetown against Miami.

I see Louisville and Miami making it to the national title game on April 8, and, in the upset, I will take the Hurricanes to win it all.

Having won a previous tournament challenge several years ago (picking Florida that year), here are a few pieces of advice.

– Never pick a No. 16 seed to beat a No 1; it has never happened and will not happen this year.

– There is always a No. 12 lurking to beat a No. 5, and the popular team to do that is the underranked Oregon Ducks this year.

­– Upsets do happen, but rarely do teams lower than the top-four seeds actually win the whole thing.

– One low-seeded team nearly always makes it to the Sweet 16.

– Have fun and don’t take it all too seriously.

Enjoy the madness!