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Washington, D.C. Regional Breakdown

First Round
#1 UCONN vs. #16 Albany
The biggest mismatch of the 1-16s this year. Poor Albany. Their first ever tourney appearance. Welcome to the Dance. Pick: UCONN

#8 Kentucky vs. #9 UAB
A rematch of a classic March game not so long ago, this one has my attention. Kentucky is a lot like Texas at times; lots of talent, lots of bad half court offense. The return of Randolph Morris has helped Kentucky remain an interesting team, and Rondo plays the point as well as anyone, but we're skeptical that they're going to score enough. If they -do- get hot, though, look out. UConn will have an interesting matchup. Pick: UAB

#5 Washington vs. #12 Utah State
Brandon Roy gives the selection committee its first embarrassment. The second... Pick: Washington

#4 Illinois vs. # 13 Air Force
Courtesy of Air Force! Who has no business being in this tournament. Pick: Illinois

#6 Michigan State vs. #11 George Mason
Will the real Michigan State please stand up? Good God this team befuddles. Paul Davis, still an underachiever? Still, the story line is the same each year. Mediocre regular season that misses expectations, followed by a strong March. Here they come. George Mason, who shouldn't be here, either (what's with this region?), the first victim. Pick: Michigan State

#3 North Carolina vs. #14 Murray State
Young, talented, and very dangerous. I'll be downright angry if we don't get a Michigan State-UNC showdown. Pick: UNC

#7 Whicita State vs. #10 Seton Hall
Ranking at the top of games I don't care about. I'll root for the Big East here, but my interest level is minimal. Pick: Wichita State

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Winthrop
Tennessee is an interesting team. The job Bruce Pearl has done deserves a lot of credit. Winthrop won't have an answer for the Vols' motion offense. Pick: Tennessee

*Second Round
#1 UCONN vs. #9 UAB
Kentucky actually provides the bigger danger for UConn, should they get by UAB. I'm beginning to rethink the BON pick on UAB-Kentucky. Not that it matters much. The Huskies aren't losing to either team. Pick: UCONN

#4 Illinois vs. #5 Washington
I can't get excited about Illinois. Dee Brown, while a fun player, just doesn't look like a guy who can carry a team in March. Brandon Roy can. Another group of Huskies advances. Pick: Washington

#3 UNC vs. #6 Michigan State
Hello primetime! You've gotta love this matchup. Michigan State's offense can be downright moribund at times, but we've got a hunch that they're going to put it all together just in time, once more. UNC's youth falls to the physical and experienced Spartans. This was an awfully tough pick, but Michigan State can beat UNC the way Boston College did. A long day for the Tar Heels' frontcourt. Pick: Michigan State

#2 Tennessee vs. #7 Wichita State
This isn't even fun to write about. I don't imagine watching it will be that much better. I'll be rooting for the upset here, for sure. Pick: Tennessee

Sweet 16
#1 UCONN vs. #4 Washington
Another game, another zero percent chance of UCONN losing. The Huskies have a nice little path to the Final Four, now don't they? Pick: UCONN

#2 Tennessee vs #6 Michigan State
If we're right about Michigan State, they'll be positively grooving by the Sweet 16. The Spartans only real concern is getting the offense on track; if they get it going, Tennessee is going down. The Vols are a solid team, and Lofton is a lot of fun to watch, but the Spartans (when they feel like it) can be so tough to play. Onward they go. Pick: Michigan State

Elite 8
#1 UConn vs #6 Michigan State
Not even a complete resurgence by Michigan State will be enough against UConn. For one thing, Jim Calhoun may be the best in the business. For another, the Huskies have the size to bang with the Spartans. Add in that about six guys can light you up for 20+ points on a given night, and they're just a dominant team. The Huskies make yet another Final Four, seeking out some competition closer to their level. Pick: UCONN