Brackets & Breakdowns

Who's rooting for 18-17 Austin Peay, the 16th-seed in the South who faces the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks?

If the fans of the Seattle Seahawks are called "The 12's," then the fans that shout "Let's Go Peay!" must be known as the "No. 1's." Count Justin Bieber and Chuck Berry as fans.

How far can Duke, the 4th seed in the West, advance?

The Blue Devils can go as far as freshman superstar Brandon Ingram and sophomore leader Grayson Allen will take them. Ingram is a dead-ringer for rapper Wiz Khalifa, only thinner, while Allen has a foot fetish that would make Rex Ryan blush.

Duke will beat UNC-Wilmington, but defensive liabilities and the lack of an inside presence will prevent a Sweet 16 berth.

Whatever the outcome, Duke's season will end with a heartwarming hug from Coach Krzyzewski.

Can overall No. 1 seed Kansas win it all?

The South Region is the Jayhawks to lose. All too often, Kansas has taken that statement much too literally.

This year is different. The Jayhawks are clearly the most talented team, and Wayne Selden is the superstar that can take over a game. Plus, he has a crazy uncle who wears a clock around his neck and doesn't act the least bit like Flava Flav. Selden has a great future, as does his Uncle Anthony, who has already been promised the job as "hype man" by his nephew.

Alas, the Jayhawks come up a little short, losing to Michigan State in the championship game.

Did the committee do a good job of selecting the field?

When you lock 10 men in a room for a couple of days, you would expect a better result. I've seen a mother and son locked in a "Room" for five years return more legitimate results.

Will March Madness be the same without Louisville?

If you didn't know, a one-year self-imposed postseason ban escorted the Cardinals out of the tournament. If a fall from grace can be equated to a slide down a stripper pole, then the Cardinals hit the floor. That's what happens when all of your visiting recruits are named "John."

In short, the Cardinals' abstinence, I mean absence, will hardly be noticed.

Are the No. 1-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels a lock to advance to the Final Four from the East Region?

Let's put it this way: if the Final Four was an academic class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, would their basketball players attend it? Probably not.

That's not to say the Heels don't have the talent to make it to Houston. They do. But to make that Final Four run, they'll need guard Marcus Paige to carry them. Unfortunately, Paige has lost his three-point touch. And UNC has a tough road to the Final Four, including a possible Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

The potential is there. The sky's the limit for UNC. As they say, they are "upwardly mobile." Also, they say Roy Williams is "downwardly mobile," especially when struck by a case of vertigo. Or maybe Roy is just "Tebowing."

In the end, Carolina reaches the regional final, but falls to Xavier.

Did Syracuse deserve a berth in the tournament?

No, but head coach Jim Boeheim whined enough to convince the committee that his team belonged. That's no surprise, because Boeheim's lobbied a plenty over the years for his team's "inclusion."

Had the Orangemen not made it, you can best believe Boeheim would have found himself in a state of suspended disbelief.

But let's all celebrate Syracuse's entry in the tournament, by standing for the playing of their new theme song, "YMCA."

What are some intriguing first-round matchups?

In the South, 3rd-seeded Miami faces 14th-seeded Buffalo in an AFC East clash that will keep the winner just two games behind the Patriots in the division.

Over in the East, 7th-seeded Wisconsin takes on 10th-seeded Pittsburgh. The Badgers were runners-up in last year's tournament, but are 20-12 and have lost their last two. If they're to make a deep run in the tournament, they need to get their "affairs" in order.

In the West, the 6th-seeded Texas Longhorns, with Shaka Smart in his first year as head coach, challenge 11th-seeded Northern Iowa. Smart made a name for himself leading VCU to the Final Four as an 11th-seed in 2011. Now, the table has turned, and unlike Rick Pitino, Smart doesn't mind hearing the word "table" mentioned.

In the Midwest, 12th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock takes on 5th-seeded Purdue. The Trojans are 29-4 and have no major weaknesses. But they do have several small imperfections, one being an inability to accept criticisms. So, if you're going to throw stones, make sure they are little rocks.

Had LSU made the tournament, could Ben Simmons have led the Tigers to the Final Four?

Here's the simple answer: LSU didn't make the tournament, so it's all academic.

Here's the real question: what number will be higher? Simmons' position in the 2016 NBA draft or his GPA?

Which double-digit seeds could advance to the Sweet 16?

When speaking of "double-digits," look no further than the Shockers ... of Wichita State, the No. 11 seed in the South.

Also, look for the Iona Gaels, the 13 seed in the Midwest, to make some noise. This could be the sound of their bus warming up after a loss to Iowa State on Thursday, but you never know.

Regional Finals

South: Kansas vs. Miami
West: Oregon vs. Oklahoma
East: North Carolina vs. Xavier
Midwest: Virginia vs. Michigan State

Final Four

Kansas, Oregon, Xavier, Michigan State

NCAA Final

Michigan State over Kansas

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