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NCAA Bracket 2012: Predictions and Odds for Each Team to Win It All

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIMarch 13, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: Predictions and Odds for Each Team to Win It All

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    The NCAA tournament is one of the biggest betting events of the year, and picking the winner of the tournament from the field of 68 guarantees you a good amount of money. March Madness is a special time of year for sports fans, as the Big Dance is the best tournament in sports.

    Kentucky took the No. 1 overall seed on Selection Sunday, and the Wildcats have the best odds of winning it all. The rest of the field is a mix of great teams, with varying odds to win it all.

    The keys to a championship are the ability to play on a neutral court, having stars, great coaching and, most importantly, talent.

    This is the breakdown of teams, including odds to win it all and predictions of how far each team will go.

16 Seeds (Next to Zero)

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    A No. 16 seed has never knocked off a No. 1 seed, and it won't happen this year. However, every team technically does have a chance to win it all.

     

    Mississippi Valley State (First Four)

    Mississippi Valley State beat Texas Southern to clinch a big to the NCAA tournament, with no surprises in the SWAC. Now it has a date with Western Kentucky in the First Four.

     

    Western Kentucky (Round of 64)

    After starting the season 5-14, Western Kentucky has gone 10-4 since firing its head coach, and it looks to continue that by beating Mississippi Valley State in the First Four

     

    UNC Asheville (Round of 64)

    Led by J.P. Primm and Matt Dickey, UNC Asheville dominated the Big South, going 16-2 in conference play. However, this team is not going very far this year, as it is seeded against No. 1 Syracuse.

     

    Lamar (Round of 64)

    Led by coach Pat Knight, Lamar has been hot since he called out his seniors, not losing a game since then. I see it continuing that against Vermont in the First Four for the right to take on No. 1 North Carolina.

     

    Vermont (First Four)

    With three players averaging double-digit points per game, Vermont is a deep team that has the potential to beat Lamar in the First Four...I just don't see it happening.

     

    LIU Brooklyn (Round of 64)

    LIU Brooklyn relies on its frontcourt, but since it has no one who is taller than 6'7", I can't see it upsetting No. 1 Syracuse, which has seven-footer Fab Melo.

15 Seeds (Almost as Bad as the 16 Seeds)

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    While a No. 15 seed has knocked off a No. 2 seed before, one has never made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and their odds of winning it all are almost as bad as a No. 16 seed.

     

    Lehigh (Round of 64)

    If any No. 15 seed is going to win a game it will be C.J. McCollum's Lehigh team over No. 2 Duke. McCollum averages 21.9 points per game, and if he drops 30 or more Lehigh will stand a chance, but I don't think he will be able to do that against Duke.

     

    Loyola (Round of 64)

    Loyola is a young team, led almost entirely by juniors and sophomores. We could see this team against next year, but this year it will simply lose to Ohio State.

     

    Detroit (Round of 64)

    A surprising number of people think that Detroit stands a chance against Thomas Robinson's Kansas team, but it does not have the size to do so. Ray McCallum Jr. was a Wooden preseason top-50 player, but that will not be enough to unseat the Jayhawks.

     

    Norfolk State (Round of 64)

    Kyle O'Quinn averages a double-double with 15.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for Norfolk State, but a hot Missouri team that won the Big 12 tournament before being snubbed of a No. 1 seed should have no problems sending Norfolk home.

14 Seeds (Microscopic)

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    A No. 14 seed will occasionally beat a No. 3 seed, but it is very rare. What is even more rare is having a No. 14 seed win multiple games, as Cleveland State and Chattanooga are the only teams to have done so, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1986 and 1997, respectively.

     

    BYU (First Four)

    BYU was lucky to get into the NCAA tournament, and a First Four matchup with Iona will not help Brandon Davies and company win a game this year, or replicate the Cougars' run from last year when they had Jimmer Fredette.

     

    Iona (Round of 64)

    Led by arguably the best point guard in the nation, Scott Machado, Iona should take care of business against BYU before challenging No. 3 Marquette. Machado averages 9.9 assists per game, which is the most of any player in the nation.

     

    Belmont (Round of 64)

    Belmont has a good chance of knocking off No. 3 Georgetown in its game in the round of 64, as the Hoyas have lost to VCU and Ohio in their last two games in the NCAA tournament, going 0-2 in the last two years. Belmont has won 14 games straight, but it will not reach 15.

     

    Saint Bonaventure (Round of 64)

    After winning the A-10 tournament and stealing a bid to the Big Dance, Saint Bonaventure looks to upset Florida State. However, the Seminoles are riding high after beating Duke and North Carolina en route to their first ACC tournament championship in school history. The Bonnies cannot stop that momentum.

     

    South Dakota State (Round of 64)

    Led by Nate Wolters, who averages 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game (all of which lead the team), South Dakota State could shock the world by upsetting Baylor, but I don't think that its bigs can keep up with those of Baylor.

13 Seeds (Infinitesimal)

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    A No. 13 seed has never made it to the Elite Eight, and most don't even win a single game. Morehead State pulled off a first-round upset of Louisville as a No. 13 seed last year, but that was an amazing feat. Don't expect any No. 13 seeds to win this year.

     

    New Mexico State (Round of 64)

    In a tough matchup against Indiana in the round of 64, the Aggies will try to use Wendell McKines, who averages 18.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, to shock the Hoosiers.

     

    Montana (Round of 64)

    Montana has a tough game in the first round, playing No. 4 Wisconsin. The Badgers play great defense, and Montana will not be able to stop Jordan Taylor in this game.

     

    Ohio (Round of 64)

    Ohio has the task of trying to stop Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke of Michigan, both of whom can go for up to 30 points in any game. For some reason I don't see the MAC champions sticking around for long in this game.

     

    Davidson (Round of 64)

    Davidson is matched up against the Big East tournament champions, Louisville, in their first game. Even though the Cardinals lost their first-round game to Morehead State last year, their performance in the Big East tournament is a better representation of who they are.

12 Seeds

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    While the No. 12 seeds are typically at-large teams, they do not stand much of a chance of winning it all. You can bank on a No. 12 seed upsetting a No. 5 seed just about every year, but the farthest one has ever gone was Missouri reaching the Elite Eight in 2002.

     

    Long Beach State: 5,000-1 (Round of 32)

    Long Beach State has had Cinderella written all over it since upsetting Pittsburgh in November. Playing teams like Pittsburgh, Xavier, North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas State and Kansas will pay off as the 49ers upset No. 5 New Mexico

     

    Harvard: 10,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Harvard has made its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946, but the Crimson will not beat No. 5 Vanderbilt, which just beat Kentucky en route to winning the SEC tournament. The Commodores are hot, and Harvard cannot stop them.

     

    VCU: 3,000-1 (Round of 32)

    Shaka Smart's crew will be led by Bradford Burgess to an upset of No. 5 Wichita State. Not even Garrett Stutz will be able to beat VCU in the first round after the Rams' run to the Final Four last year.

     

    South Florida: 10,000-1 (First Four)

    South Florida doesn't have a single player averaging double-digit points per game, which is troubling to say that least. The team should not have made it into the tournament in my mind, and it stands next to no chance against California in the First Four.

     

    California: 10,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Speaking of Cal, the team will be able to beat South Florida, but it has struggled against good teams this year, and No. 5 Temple falls into that category for sure as the Owls even beat Duke this season.

    Temple should be able to put together a good enough game to beat California, but Cal will get one win this year, over USF.

11 Seeds

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    The No. 11 seeds have had a degree of success in the Big Dance, having three teams make the Final Four, including VCU last year. We have finally gotten to the point where each team has their own odds, but not yet to the point where they have their own slides.

     

    Colorado: 10,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Colorado punched its ticket to the Big Dance by winning the Pac-12 tournament. The Buffaloes have not been prepared for the caliber of team they will be playing now, as the Pac-12 is very weak this year. Colorado will have trouble stopping Mike Moser and UNLV.

     

    Colorado State: 10,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Colorado State is lucky to have made it into March Madness, but the Rams won't be winning any games this year. The Rams play Murray State, which went 30-1 this year. While the Racers aren't great, they have proven that they can beat bad teams like Colorado State.

     

    North Carolina State: 3,000-1 (Sweet 16)

    Led by sophomore C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State got hot and upset Virginia before losing to North Carolina on a few questionable calls in the ACC tournament. The team is hot, and the Wolfpack can beat San Diego State before upsetting Georgetown in the round of 32 to make it to the Sweet !6.

     

    Texas: 5,000-1 (Round of 64)

    The Longhorns are led by J'Covan Brown, who scores more than 20 points per game. If he gets hot and freshman Myck Kabongo has a good game, the Longhorns have the potential to upset Cincinnati. However, I think Kabongo will be their downfall against the Bearcats.

10 Seeds

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    No. 10 seeds have actually had less success than No. 11 seeds in the Big Dance. These teams have good matchups against No. 7 seeds, but then must play No. 2 seeds after that, where most of these teams reach the end of their journeys.

     

    Xavier: 3,000-1 (Round of 32)

    Xavier has been hot in its last few games, and a favorable matchup against a Notre Dame team that does not have Tim Abromaitis can let Tu Holloway, Kenny Frease and Mary Lyons bring this team a victory.

     

    Purdue: 3,000-1 (Round of 32)

    In Robbie Hummel's last season, Purdue will be trying to send the big man out in style. I see the Boilermakers upsetting Matthew Dellavedova and Saint Mary's in the first round because of this raw emotion.

     

    West Virginia: 2,000-1 (Round of 32)

    Kevin Jones leads West Virginia, averaging over 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. No one on Gonzaga will be able to stop him, including seven-footer Robert Sacre. The Mountaineers will ride Jones to a victory.

     

    Virginia: 3,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Virginia is coming off a rough end to the season, including a loss against North Carolina State in the ACC tournament. This team is cold, and the Cavaliers cannot stop the backcourt of the Florida Gators, which is among the best in the nation. Virginia will be the only No. 10 seed to lose.

9 Seeds

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    A No. 9 seed has never won the NCAA tournament, and they are barely in the bottom half of the seeds. Every game they win is an upset, and they still have next to no chance of winning it all.

     

    Connecticut: 2,000-1 (Round of 32)

    The reigning champs, UConn is looking to repeat last year's success. While the Huskies have lost Kemba Walker, the team was ranked No. 4 in the country during the preseason. The Huskies are led by Jeremy Lamb, but Shabazz Napier is having a great season, while Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond give them good size and athleticism inside.

    Look for them to upset No. 8 Iowa State, but lose to No. 1 Kentucky, which is simply too good.

     

    Alabama: 3,000-1 (Round of 32)

    JaMychal Green will be the key for this team, as he will need to take Doug McDermott out of the equation for Creighton. Then Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph and Trevor Releford will be able to hit their shots and clinch a win.

     

    Saint Louis: 3,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Coach Charlie Spoonhour died of a lung affliction this season, but not even the motivation of his memory will allow Saint Louis to beat Memphis. I wish this team the best, but I don't expect anything from the Billikens.

     

    Southern Miss: 3,000-1 (Round of 64)

    Southern Miss has never won in the Big Dance, going 0-2 in school history. This team is among the worst in shooting, ranking No. 253 in field-goal percentage, which will lead to yet another loss in March Madness.

Iowa State: 2,000-1

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    Iowa State has lasted through its difficult Big 12 schedule, playing teams like Baylor, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State.

    The Cyclones are led by big man Royce White, who leads the team in just about every statistical category. He leads in points (13.1), rebounds (9.2), assists (5.1), steals (1.2) and blocks (0.9) per game.

    This team has the potential to win a few games, but I expect them to go down to Connecticut in their first game.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Kansas State: 2,000-1

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    Kansas State has survived the Big 12 to make it to the NCAA tournament. I say survived because the Wildcats played some of the best teams in the country and pulled out victories.

    The Wildcats beat Baylor once and Missouri twice this season, due to the play of Rodney McGruder and Jamar Samuels. These two big men give the Wildcats the size to hang with elite teams.

    The Wildcats have a favorable matchup with Southern Miss, and because their opponents shoot so badly, K-State should seal a victory.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Creighton: 1,000-1

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    Creighton is led by Doug McDermott, who is the nation's third-best scorer at 23.2 points per game. He is having the season of his life, and his Bluejays look to make some noise in the tournament.

    The team is in the Top 25 thanks to McDermott, but guard Antoine Young is the one who needs to step up and play well if the team is going to go far.

    This team has a tough matchup against Alabama and JaMychal Green. I can't see McDermott being very effective in this game.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Memphis: 1,000-1

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    Memphis lost elite freshman Adonis Thomas, but the Tigers still have Will Barton leading them. Tarik Black is another good player for the Tigers, but his main job is to keep the defense honest on Barton by hitting his shots.

    Barton averages over 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. He is a freak of an athlete as a sophomore, and he is the go-to-guy for this team.

    Barton will be looking to leave a mark on the tournament this year, and I see him leading Memphis to a victory over Saint Louis.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Gonzaga: 1,000-1

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    Gonzaga's two-headed attack of point guard Kevin Pangos and big man Elias Harris has served them well this season. The Zags have a great inside-outside combo that will be their focus in the NCAA tournament.

    The Bulldogs proved that they are legit in a 20-point rout of Notre Dame at home this season. They are ready for the Big Dance and should be viewed as a dangerous team.

    Unfortunately the Bulldogs had an unfavorable draw, and big man Kevin Jones and West Virginia will be able to upset the team because seven-footer Robert Sacre is not as intimidating as his size would imply.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Saint Mary's: 500-1

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    Saint Mary's looks like a team that can make a deep run, as the Gaels are unbeatable when they are hot. They have played some good teams during the season and have proved that they can hang with just about anyone.

    With point guard Matthew Dellavedova scoring 15.4 points and dropping 6.5 assists per game, the Gaels have a good option in the backcourt. Rob Jones is their big man, scoring 14.7 points and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game, and he gives the team a good inside presence.

    Saint Mary's has a tough game against Purdue and Robbie Hummel, who will be taking over what could be his last game ever and what will be his last win in college.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Notre Dame: 1,000-1

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    Notre Dame earned the No. 3 spot in the Big East this season, which is quite an accomplishment. However, the team has lost star player Tim Abromaitis, which leaves the Irish as a much worse team.

    Point guard Jerian Grant is now the leader of the team, but without the inside presence of Abromaitis, this team will probably meet an early exit.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Florida: 500-1

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    Florida is a very small team that relies heavily on its guards. With a backcourt that has Kenny Boynton, Brad Beal, Erving Walker and Mike Rosario, the Gators are crowded at guard.

    The problem for the Gators is size. Their only good big man is Patric Young, as 6'3" shooting guard Brad Beal is their second-best rebounder. While they have an excellent offense because of their guards, they don't have the big men to go very far, as they have been streaky all year long because of their lack of size.

    Their lack of size won't be a problem in the first round, however, as Young and Mike Scott will battle down low, while Florida's backcourt takes over the game against a cold Virginia team.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Cincinnati: 400-1

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    Cincinnati made a deep run in the Big East tournament, upsetting No. 2 Syracuse before finally losing to Louisville in the final by only six points.

    Yancy Gates was the leader of this team, averaging 20.5 points for the first two games. This team has the talent and potential to make a deep run because of Gates, Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon, who make up a formidable core.

    I see this team beating Texas before moving on and upsetting Florida State, which is overrated despite beating both Duke and UNC twice this year.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

San Diego State: 800-1

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    San Diego State isn't quite as good as the Aztecs were last year, but they have remained a tournament-caliber team.

    The team went 3-3 against Top 25 opponents because Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley make a dangerous 1-2 punch. They can lead this team to a win or two in the tournament, but the odds are not with them to go much further.

    The Aztecs have a tough game against a hot North Carolina State team, and C.J. Leslie will absolutely punish them.

    Prediction: Round of 64

UNLV: 500-1

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    UNLV first made headlines this season when it handed No. 1 North Carolina their first loss of the season, winning by 10 points on a neutral court.

    Since then the Rebels have consistently been in the Top 25, thanks in large part to sophomore Mike Moser, who leads the team in points (14.0) and rebounds (10.7) per game. Moser will be key if this team is going to make a deep run, and UNLV won't be able to go far without him.

    Moser should do well against Colorado, and the team will advance.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Murray State: 800-1

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    Murray State may have gone 30-1, but the Racers haven't played many good teams. They have only played Memphis and Saint Mary's this season, and while they did win both games, they have not played a single team from a power conference.

    The Racers are an interesting team with Isaiah Canaan and Ivan Aska giving them potential both inside and out. However, I don't think that Canaan will be able to dominate against good point guards, and Aska will not be able to be effective against elite big men.

    I can't see this team going far, but they should be able to hold off Colorado State in the first round.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Temple: 200-1

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    Temple is a dangerous team that has the potential to knock off an elite team. The Owls proved their ability when they beat Duke during the season.

    The Owls need Khalif Wyatt and Ramone Moore to play well, but it is Michael Eric who needs to secure the paint for them on both ends of the floor.

    This team has the potential to get hot, but I see them only winning one game.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Vanderbilt: 100-1

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    Vanderbilt is led by shooting guard John Jenkins, who is one of the best in the country. His 19.9 points per game put him in the top 20 in scoring, and he has the uncanny ability to make clutch shots.

    The Commodores are an offensively oriented team, but they are erratic. The team averages in the mid-70s in points per game, but they have scored 100 points one night and then 60 the next.

    They happened to be hot when they toppled No. 1 Kentucky for the SEC crown, and they still seem hot.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

New Mexico: 600-1

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    New Mexico had its hands full in the legitimate Mountain West Conference this year, as it played Top 25 teams like UNLV and San Diego State. The Lobos have a great roster with some special players like Drew Gordon and Kendall Williams, which will serve them well in the Big Dance.

    The Lobos are led by their inside-outside combination of Gordon and Williams. The two are the team's best scorers, and they each led in rebounds or assists.

    A tough game against Long Beach State should send this team packing, however, as they fall victim to the No. 12-over-No. 5 upset.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Wichita State: 200-1

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    Wichita State did not make it to the Big Dance last year, but it won the NIT tournament, which is just as good in terms of experience.

    The Shockers are led by big man Garrett Stutz and point guard Joe Ragland. These two give the team a good inside-outside combination, combining for 26.9 points per game.

    Unfortunately, playing in the NIT is not the same as playing in the Final Four, which VCU did last year.

    Prediction: Round of 64

Louisville: 50-1

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    Louisville started the season off well, going 12-0. They it struggled for a while before coming out and winning the Big East tournament as the No. 7 seed.

    The Cardinals are a very deep team with a lot of good players, but the one to keep an eye on is point guard Peyton Siva, who had a great tournament. Rick Pitino is looking to add to his impressive postseason resume this season by leading his team to the Final Four.

    Louisville has an easy game against Davidson to open the tournament, before it takes on No. 12 Long Beach State, which it will beat for the second time this season.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

Indiana: 50-1

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    The only team to beat No. 1 Kentucky this season before the SEC tournament, Indiana has beaten some of the best teams in the country, including Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan.

    The way the Hoosiers are getting it done is because of Jordan Hulls shooting from the outside, and freshman Cody Zeller and junior Christian Watford playing well inside.

    Indiana has had a lot of experience and success against top teams, which is why its odds of winning are relatively good. Unfortunately the Hoosiers would have to beat Kentucky again, and I don't see that happening.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

Wisconsin: 75-1

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    Wisconsin's defense is the reason it has been so good this year. The Badgers can contain just about any team in the country with their stingy defense, which always gives them a chance to win.

    On offense they rely heavily on point guard Jordan Taylor, who leads the team with 14.7 points and 4.0 assists per game. Their offense runs through him, and if he plays well the Badgers almost always win.

    When the Badgers play Vanderbilt in the round of 32, it will be the eternal question of offense versus defense. I have offense winning this time.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Michigan: 75-1

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    Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke give Michigan a great two-headed attack. We all knew Hardaway Jr. would be good, but Burke has emerged to be just as valuable an asset.

    The Wolverines went 3-2 against teams ranked in the top nine in the country, and they have succeeded against some of the best teams in the country, beating teams like Michigan State and Ohio State. They played well in a tough Big Ten this year and can take down top teams.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

Georgetown: 50-1

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    Georgetown has three great players leading its team: Jason Clark, Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson. The Hoyas rely on two or three of these guys having a good game every night, and that has led them to a lot of wins this season.

    If all three guys are hot, the Hoyas are next to impossible to beat, so the key for opponents will be to single out one or two of them to completely take out of the equation instead of trying to stop all three.

    This should lead to Georgetown beating Belmont, but not a hot Florida State team.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Florida State: 50-1

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    Florida State is just the fifth team in history to beat both Duke and North Carolina twice each in one season. On the backs of Michael Snaer and Deividas Dulkys, the Seminoles are trying to prove that they aren't third in the ACC any more.

    The Seminoles made a deep run to the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 12 seed last year. This year they look even better, but their bracket is not as kind.

    Florida State is hot, and it can beat Saint Bonaventure and Cincinnati, but not Jared Sullinger's Ohio State team.

    Prediction: Round of 32

Baylor: 25-1

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    Baylor has one of the best frontcourts in the nation, consisting of Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller. These three guys are all big and athletic, running the floor extremely well and excelling in transition.

    The team's biggest question coming into the season was their guard play. While point guard A.J. Walton has been so bad that he lost his starting role, Pierre Jackson has picked up the slack.

    Baylor is a great team when Jones III is playing well, and its biggest question in the Big Dance is how he will play. I see him leading this team past Duke in the Sweet 16 before fizzling out against No. 1 Kentucky.

    Prediction: Elite Eight

Marquette: 50-1

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    Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder lead this team, forming a dangerous two-headed attack. Both players have the potential to score 20 points on any given night, and they have both done so many times this season.

    This team has quietly become the second-best team in the Big East, and despite its loss to Louisville in the Big East tournament, the Warriors are still a very talented team with the potential to go far.

    I can see this team beating Iona and an overrated Murray State team, but not an elite team like Missouri.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

Ohio State: 20-1

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    Thad Matta and company are looking to make a run to the Final Four this year. They certainly have the talent to do so with returning big man Jared Sullinger, but they also have several other players to watch.

    Williams Buford, DeShaun Thomas and Aaron Craft can all score in bunches. Buford and Thomas both average more than 15 points each, and the three combine for 39 per game.

    This team has a relatively easy schedule in its region, and even No. 1 Syracuse should lose to the Buckeyes, giving them a trip to New Orleans.

    Prediction: Final Four

Duke: 25-1

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    Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach, but he is not coaching one of his usual great teams this year. While he has Austin Rivers, he lacks another star.

    Duke doesn't have a lot of big men inside outside of the Plumlees, and they are susceptible to elite big men. The Blue Devils rely too heavily on the three at times, and if Ryan Kelly isn't completely healthy during the tournament they may be in trouble.

    While this team isn't great, it finds ways to win. When the three is falling, it can beat any team in the country. The Blue Devils also play good defense.

    This team relies too heavily on the three to go very far, and I think that No. 3 Baylor will expose their weak frontcourt in the Sweet 16.

    Prediction: Sweet 16

Missouri: 15-1

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    Frank Haith's Missouri team has been unbelievable this season, using its depth and talent to shock the world as it climbed up the Top 25 ladder.

    Marcus Denmon is the team's best scorer, while Phil "Flip" Pressey is the team's point guard. The team is pretty deep, and Haith knows how to utilize his players.

    The X-factor for this team is Kim English, whose incredible performances in the Big 12 tournament included averaging 23 points and four rebounds per game. In the first two games he shot 20 of 23 from the floor, including five of seven from three.

    This team was given a pretty easy road to the Elite Eight, only having to beat Marquette along the way. The Tigers will then face Tom Izzo's Michigan State team in what is sure to be a thrilling game.

    Prediction: Elite Eight

Kansas: 20-1

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    Kansas is one of three schools from the Big 12 with the potential to win it all. With a great coach at the helm and senior Tyshawn Taylor at point guard, this team has the coaching and experience.

    National Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson gives the Jayhawks a double-double machine (17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game) who can single-handedly take over a game. He will be the reason the Jayhawks are crowned champs if they live up to their potential, and he will be their player to watch in March Madness.

    Kansas' inside-outside combination of Taylor and Robinson is impressive, and being used to playing against Top 10 teams like Baylor and Missouri will prepare them for this game.

    Look for Kansas to ride Robinson all the way to the Final Four, past even Roy Williams and North Carolina.

    Prediction: Final Four

Michigan State: 8-1

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    Michigan State has all the makings of a Final Four team this year. Tom Izzo is an excellent coach with Final Four experience.

    Draymond Green is the Big Ten Player of the Year, and he is competing for National Player of the Year honors. He leads the Michigan State in points and rebounds with 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, respectively. He is going to be the Spartans' biggest asset in March Madness.

    I see Michigan State going to the Final Four this year by beating Missouri in the Elite Eight. It will give Tom Izzo his seventh Final Four trip in 13 years and looks to be a true contender to cut down the nets on April 2.

    Prediction: Final Four

North Carolina: 10-1

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    As the preseason No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina had high expectations for the season. Unfortunately returning all five starters and adding two of the top 12 recruits in the incoming class wasn't enough to stay No. 1, but the Tar Heels are still in the top five.

    North Carolina is led by sophomore Harrison Barnes, who is one of the best jump-shooters in the country. Adding in Tyler Zeller and John Henson to the Heels' frontcourt gives them the best one in the country, and when James Michael-McAdoo comes off the bench, the team is no worse.

    They also have the best pure point guard in the country in Kendall Marshall, while P.J. Hairston can stroke it out to about 30 feet.

    North Carolina has the talent and coaching to win it all with Roy Williams at the helm, but I don't think that it can stop a Kansas team that is looking great.

    Prediction: Elite Eight

Syracuse: 10-1

40 of 41

    Syracuse has suffered only two losses all season, with the first coming to Notre Dame and the second coming to Cincinnati in the Big East tournament semifinals.

    Syracuse is an incredibly deep team that sticks to coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone. Kris Joseph, Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche make up a great team, but the key is Fab Melo. The team is 30-1 with Melo playing, and the seven-footer anchors the 2-3 zone.

    Syracuse has all the makings of a team that is going to the Final Four, and the Orange may even be better than their 2003 team that won it all behind Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately, so are the teams they will be playing, especially Ohio State, which will be their downfall.

    Prediction: Elite Eight

Kentucky: 4-1

41 of 41

    Kentucky is easily the best team in college basketball. It really is as simple as that.

    Led by center Anthony Davis, who is the favorite for National Player of the Year, this team has a good mix of three of the top eight freshmen from the 2011 recruiting class and three starters from last year's Final Four team.

    John Calipari's recruiting has now given him the most talented team we've seen in recent memory, and you could even make a case for this being the most talented team in history. The team has no less than seven future NBA players, with at least three going in the lottery.

    This team is completely stacked, and it's no wonder why the Wildcats have the best odds of any team to win it all. By far.

    Prediction: Final Four

     

    For your printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA tournament, click here

     

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