1. If your alma mater has a legitimate chance (as mine does this year), pick them.
2. Despite what everyone says, 12s don't "always" beat 5s. Contrarian that I am, I'm picking all four 5s.
3. Just about nobody has seen Northern Iowa or BYU or Richmond or Cornell play. So when folks do accidentally get an upset right, it means they were lucky, not smart. That goes for Yours Baldly, too.
4. Don't be so generous calling things upsets. 9 beating 8 isn't an upset. Neither is 10 over 7. Most 11s are as good as the 6s. 12-over-5 is an upset, of course, but also a cliche. 13 over 4? Now that's an upset. (And I pick one of 'em just for the giggles and yucks.)
OK, here goes:
1-Kansas over 16-Lehigh ... Jayhawks make 'em look like Le-Junior-High.
9-Northern Iowa over 8-UNLV ... That's right: picking a team that lost to DePaul.
5-Michigan State over 12-New Mexico State ... Tempted, but no.
4-Maryland over 13-Houston ... No Phi Slamma Jamma this time.
11-San Diego State over 6-Tennessee ... Bruce Pearl implodes.
3-Georgetown over 14-Ohio ... MAC daddies sent packin'.
10-Georgia Tech over 7-Oklahoma State ... Ah, but Cowboys will always have win over Kansas.
2-Ohio State over UC-Santa Barbara ... But I'd sure rather be in Santa Barbara than Columbus in March.
1-Kansas over 9-Northern Iowa ... Sherron Collins played against my son when both were in 8th grade, and Ben obviously got him ready for the big time.
4-Maryland over 5-Michigan State ... Not one of Izzo's great teams.
3-Georgetown over 11-San Diego State ... Hoya Paranoia is back.
2-Ohio State over 10-Georgia Tech ... Evan Turner = best player in country.
1-Kansas over 4-Maryland ... Greivis Vasquez keeps it close.
3-Georgetown over 2-Ohio State ... G-Town playing as well as anyone in country.
1-Kansas over 3-Georgetown ... I see too many Hoya fouls trying to keep up with KU talent.
1-Syracuse over 16-Vermont ... Beware the Catamounts!
8-Gonzaga over Florida State ... No longer darlings; just a solid team.
5-Butler over 12-Texas-El Paso ... Because everybody and their uncles are picking UTEP.
13-Murray State over 4-Vanderbilt ... Because I loved Murray the Cop on The Odd Couple.
6-Xavier over 11-Minnesota ... Hey announcers: It's "zavier," not "ex-avier"!!!
3-Pitt over 14-Oakland ... Just like the AFC in the 1970s.
7-BYU over 10-Florida ... Gotta go with a star named "Jimmer."
2-Kansas State over 15-North Texas ... No love for Mean Green on day after St. Pat's.
1-Syracuse over 8-Gonzaga ... Almost picked under-the-radar Zags.
5-Butler over 13-Murray State ... What? I'm gonna pick Murray State twice?
3-Pitt over 6-Xavier ... Panthers are as tough as the hammer and the nails.
2-Kansas State over 7-BYU ... Can't go with a star named "Jimmer."
1-Syracuse over 5-Butler ... Bulldogs bite against 2-3 zone.
2-Kansas State over 3-Pitt ... The better team wins.
2-Kansas State over 1-Syracuse ... The spit'll be flyin' out of Frank Martin's mouth.
1-Kentucky over 16-East Tennessee State ... Didn't even know there was an Atlantic Sun Conference.
8-Texas over 9-Wake Forest ... Don't like either, but Texas is better.
5-Temple over 12-Cornell ... Ivy Leaguers are fashionable pick, but Temple's good.
4-Wisconsin over 13-Wofford ... This won't be pretty.
6-Marquette over 11-Washington ... True story: My Sun-Times buddy, Cubs beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer, is a Washington alum. He and I have spent the better part of two weeks talking about our alma maters and we often said (though not in unison): "Wouldn't it be crazy if they met in the first round?" And here they are. I hate this matchup because UW has lots of skilled players, and I can see why people would pick the Huskies. But my boys have come through over and over again in tough games like this, so I won't abandon them now. The winner of this game could have quite a run in the tourney.
3-New Mexico over 14-Montana ... Grizzlies give Lobos a scare before bowing.
10-Missouri over 7-Clemson ... Clemson hasn't won tourney game in 13 years; why start now?
2-West Virginia over 15-Morgan State ... Name your score.
1-Kentucky over 8-Texas ... A scary second-round matchup for the mighty Wildcats.
5-Temple over 4-Wisconsin ... The more athletic team wins defensive war.
6-Marquette over 3-New Mexico ... Buzz Williams over Steve Alford every time.
2-West Virginia over 10-Missouri ... There aren't five players better than Da'Sean Butler.
1-Kentucky over 5-Temple ... Tempted to pick Temple to set up a battle between my alma mater and my brother's school, but can't do it.
6-Marquette over 2-West Virginia ... My lads lost by 1 at West Virginia this season. This time, it's on a neutral court and my guys will make their free throws down the stretch.
6-Marquette over 1-Kentucky ... I don't pick Marquette to get to the Final Four every year. Honest. In fact, the last time I did - in 2003 - they beat Kentucky to get there. My Golden Warrior Eagles might have to shoot 60 percent from 3-point range to do it this time, but they've done that before. So why the heck not pick 'em?!?!
1-Duke over 16-Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... Still, you gotta respect a team that gets to the NCAAs after starting the season 0-11.
9-Louisville over 8-California ... Cardinals can beat anybody.
5-Texas A&M over 12-Utah State ... The 12-5 upset I'd pick if I were picking one.
13-Siena over 4-Purdue ... Wounded Boilers fall to dangerous Saints in my upset special.
6-Notre Dame over 11-Old Dominion ... Will be a close game.
3-Baylor over 14-Sam Houston State ... Sam they am not gonna win.
7-Richmond over 10-Saint Mary's ... Everyone's afraid of Spiders.
2-Villanova over 15-Robert Morris ... R. Morris reminds me of cats, and I hate cats.
1-Duke over 9-Louisville ... Cardinals can lose to anybody, and Duke's not just any anybody.
13-Siena over 5-Texas A&M ... Why? Like I used to tell my kids: Because I said so.
3-Baylor over 6-Notre Dame ... It pained me enough to pick ND to win once.
7-Richmond over 2-Villanova ... Nova's not playing very well lately.
1-Duke over 13-Siena ... Well, it was fun while it lasted.
3-Baylor over 7-Richmond ... How can a guy pick against the backcourt of Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn?
1-Duke over 3-Baylor ... I guess a guy can pick against Tweety and LaceDarius if the other team has Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith.
Kansas over Kansas State ... The only team in America with no weakness will win a wild one against its archrival.
Marquette over Duke ... You were expecting a different prediction? Of course, this will look pretty dopey if my guys lose to Washington in the first round. Damn you, Gordon Wittenmyer!
Kansas over Marquette ... Fanatic, but not insane.