As I sat watching the first day of the tournament unfold, I thought we were going to witness something unprecedented in the history of the tournament. After watching about three games, I was ready to throw my bracket out the window. My bracket was in percentiles I never thought I would see myself, a self-proclaimed expert, operate in. Let's quickly run through my previous predictions, and let that be the judge of my success:
1. Kentucky still poised to win it all
If it wasn't for Jerian Grant mistaking himself for a young Michael Jordan and single-handedly destroying Notre Dame's chances in the final stretch of their regional championship showdown with the Cats (I would warn NBA teams to stay away from him), we might be having a different conversation. This is why they're undefeated though. Like Coach Cal said, they're not perfect. They are put together well enough to win it all.
2. 12 seeds were awful
Not only were 12 seeds awful, going 0-4 for the first time since who-knows-when, the only double digit seed to make the Sweet 16 was a team nobody expected to even be in the tournament. Hindsight is 20-20, but it's easy to how UCLA got there. They had an inexperienced opponent in the round of 64 in SMU and got the benefit of playing a 14 seed in the round of 32. So I completely missed on this prediction.
3. Louisville showed up
The committee gave Louisville the benefit of a great draw, but they still had to play the games. Pitino nearly navigated his team to another Final Four, but fell five minutes short. I would say I was 90% right on this prediction.
4. Oklahoma did alright
The Sooners went about as far as they could have been expected to go, losing to a more experienced team in Michigan State. They won the games they were supposed to, so you can't fault them.
5. Wichita made another run
I'd say I was right on the money with this one. The fact they beat their big brothers at Kansas should make fans feel a little better about not being in Indy.
6. Iowa State flopped big time
I apologize for this egregious error. I should have known better. Iowa State has a history of being inconsistent when they are not at home, and while they may have been a decent team for a few years now, they are not on most people's shortlists of contending teams. I thought this was the year that would change that, but I was wrong. Very wrong.
7. Coastal Carolina was not a match for Wisconsin
CCU was down 15 at halftime, but actually outscored the Badgers in the second half. Wisconsin was never in danger, but the Chanticleers can't be disappointed with their effort. Pretty sure if I had to choose between being in Indy or Myrtle Beach, there wouldn't be a question. So life isn't so bad after all for the boys of CCU.
8. The ACC showed up
Duke is representing the conference in the Final Four, while NC State were tournament darlings and UNC showed they can play with the big boys of today. With Florida State bringing in a slew of young talent, the ACC should be fun to watch next year.
9. Duke is the second best team in the tournament, with Wisconsin as a close 3rd
Wisconsin proved that the swish beats the smash, while Duke has had a relatively comfortable road to the Final Four. Arizona will have plenty of first round picks in June at the NBA draft.
10. Don't mess with Tommy Izzo in March/Early April
I'm beyond proud of myself for making this statement. The dude is so underrated it's ridiculous. I can even name two MSU players: Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine. I truly believe this team can do anything with Izzo at the helm. I think this will teach everyone to never doubt the power of the Izzo.
So how does this all factor into my Final Four Predictions? I'll keep it simple and just predict scores
Semifinal 1: UK vs. Wisconsin
Final Score: UK 77, Wisconsin 71
Semifinal 2: Duke vs. MSU
Final Score Duke 74, MSU 72
*MSU will have a chance at the buzzer but miss
Championship Game: UK vs. Duke
Final Score: UK 80, Duke 74