NCAA “Expert” Picks

Charles Barkley once said, “Only God is an expert.” I agree with Charles, and one place that is obvious in sports is the NCAA Tournament. March Madness begins Tuesday, March 15 with two play-in games and the full slate will tip off Thursday. This my favorite sporting event of the year, especially those first two days when there are a combined 32 games. Even though I did not pick many upsets, I’ll be rooting for the underdogs all tournament. Those stories are what make this event special. I’m certainly not an expert, according to Barkley, none of us are. And though it is nearly impossible to pick a perfect bracket, here is my attempt to get as many right as possible. 

WEST “The Toughest Region”

ROUND 1 

1 Gonzaga over 16 Georgia State

9 Memphis over 8 Boise State

5 UCONN over 12 New Mexico State

4 Arkansas over 13 Vermont

6 Alabama over 11 Rutgers/Notre Dame

3 Texas Tech over 14 Montana State

10 Davidson over 7 Michigan State

2 Duke over 15 CSU Fullerton

ROUND 2

1 Gonzaga over 9 Memphis

4 Arkansas over 5 UCONN

3 Texas Tech over 6 Alabama 

2 Duke over 10 Davidson 

SWEET SIXTEEN 

1 Gonzaga over 4 Arkansas 

2 Duke over 3 Texas Tech 

ELITE EIGHT

1 Gonzaga over Duke  

EAST “The Wide Open Region”

ROUND 1

1 Baylor over 16 Norfolk State

8 North Carolina over 9 Marquette

5 St. Mary’s over 12 Wyoming/Indiana

4 UCLA over 13 Akron 

11 Virginia Tech over 6 Texas 

3 Purdue over 14 Yale

7 Murray State over 10 San Francisco 

2 Kentucky over 15 St. Peter’s 

ROUND 2 

8 North Carolina over 1 Baylor

4 UCLA over St. Mary’s 

3 Purdue over 11 Virginia Tech 

2 Kentucky over 7 Murray State 

SWEET SIXTEEN 

4 UCLA over 8 North Carolina

2 Kentucky over 3 Purdue 

ELITE EIGHT

2 Kentucky over 4 UCLA 

SOUTH “The Watch-For-Big-Upsets Region”

ROUND 1

1 Arizona over 16 Bryant/Wright State

8 Seton Hall over 9 TCU 

5 Houston over 12 UAB 

4 Illinois over 13 Chattanooga 

6 Colorado State over 11 Michigan 

3 Tennessee over 14 Longwood

10 Loyola Chicago over 7 Ohio State

2 Villanova over 15 Delaware 

ROUND 2

1 Arizona over 8 Seton Hall 

4 Illinois over 5 Houston

3 Tennessee over 6 Colorado State

2 Villanova over 10 Loyola Chicago 

SWEET SIXTEEN

1 Arizona over 4 Illinois

3 Tennessee over 2 Villanova

ELITE EIGHT

1 Arizona over 3 Tennessee 

MIDWEST “The Weakest Region”

ROUND 1

1 Kansas over 16 Texas Southern/TXAMCC

9 Creighton over 8 San Diego State

5 Iowa over 12 Richmond

13 South Dakota State over 4 Providence

11 Iowa State over 6 LSU

3 Wisconsin over 14 Colgate

7 USC over 10 Miami 

2 Auburn over 15 Jacksonville State

ROUND 2

1 Kansas over 9 Creighton 

5 Iowa over 13 South Dakota State

3 Wisconsin over 11 Iowa State

2 Auburn over 7 USC

SWEET SIXTEEN 

5 Iowa over 1 Kansas

2 Auburn over 3 Wisconsin

ELITE EIGHT

5 Iowa over 2 Auburn 

FINAL FOUR

1 Gonzaga over 2 Kentucky 

1 Arizona over 5 Iowa 

CHAMPIONSHIP 

1 Gonzaga over 1 Arizona 

Kelby Johnson

Kelby Johnson has been in Mississippi sports in many areas such as coaching, officiating, public address announcing, scouting, and writing. He is a pastor, a husband, and a father of four. Kelby and his family live in Ecru, MS.

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