March Madness 2012 Bracket: Winning Picks and Predictions for All Matchups

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IMarch 12, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 11:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the championship game of the 2012 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 11, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Grab a pen.

Yeah, that’s right.  Not a pencil—a pen.

If you hesitantly fill out your bracket, you’re doomed to fail.  Advance every single team, whether it’s a No. 1 seed or a 16 seed, with the exact same overconfidence.  Go in with the mindset, if your bracket doesn’t match mine, you’ve already lost.

On that note, ladies and gentleman, here are the winning picks and predictions for all the 2012 March Madness first-round matchups via the crystal ball that is my brain.

You’re welcome.

For your printable NCAA Bracketclick here.

South: No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 16 Mississippi Valley State/Western Kentucky

If MVSU or WKY finish the game within 15 points of the Wildcats, it’d be an absolute shocker.  Kentucky is the top seed of the whole tournament for a reason: They're stacked beyond belief.

Prediction: Kentucky


KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 21: Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Calhoun talks to Jeremy Lamb #3 during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena on January 21, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee defeated Connecticut 60-57. (Ph
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

South: No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 9 Connecticut

Jim Calhoun is back, folks.  UConn won the whole thing last year and even without Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond still combine to form one of the most talented duos in the nation.

Prediction: Connecticut


South: No. 5 Wichita State vs. No. 12 VCU

Talk about a no-brainer five-12 matchup.  Shaka Smart's crew's eyes are looking beyond the Final Four this season.

Prediction: VCU


South: No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 New Mexico State

New Mexico State hasn’t faced a monster like Cody Zeller this season.  The Hoosiers aren't going to end up on the wrong end of a Cinderella story.

Prediction: Indiana


LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 14:  Mike Moser #43 of the UNLV Rebels looks on during a game against the UTEP Miners at the Thomas & Mack Center December 14, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 65-54.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

South: No. 6 UNLV vs. No. 11 Colorado

Mike Moser is talented enough to carry the Rebels out of the first round of the NCAA tournament.  Colorado doesn’t possess nearly enough firepower to pull off an upset.

Prediction: UNLV


South: No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 South Dakota State

Baylor just knocked Kansas out of the Big 12 Tournament.  If Perry Jones III and Pierre Jackson handled Thomas Robinson and company, they’ll wreck South Dakota State.

Prediction: Baylor                  


South: No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Xavier

Get hyped for the Catholics vs. the Thugs—pegged by Tu Holloway.  The Fighting Irish will fall victim to the Big East curse on opening weekend.

Prediction: Xavier


ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Austin Rivers #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after their 62 to 59 loss to the Florida State Seminoles during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Ge
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

South: No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Lehigh

Many analysts are picking the Blue Devils to lose early, but not this early.  Austin Rivers will put on a show for NBA scouts against the Mountain Hawks.

Prediction: Duke


West: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 16 LIU Brooklyn

A Tom Izzo-led team isn’t going to be the first No. 1 seed to get knocked off by a 16 seed.  LIU Brooklyn is in for a long afternoon.

Prediction: Michigan State


West: No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Saint Louis

Honestly, I’m not a fan of Memphis at all this year, but the Billikens are an even less attractive option.  At least Memphis boasts one of the most efficient offenses in the country, averaging a 49.4 field-goal percentage.

Prediction: Memphis


OMAHA, NE - FEBRUARY 18: Larry Anderson #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers brings in a rebound over Ethan Wragge #34 of the Creighton Bluejays during their game at CenturyLink Center February 18, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. Creighton beat Long Beach State on
Eric Francis/Getty Images

West: No. 5 New Mexico vs. No. 12 Long Beach State

This is another tempting five-12 matchup.  Long Beach State only lost to North Carolina and Kansas by single digits this season—they’re a strong ball club.

Prediction: Long Beach State


West:  No. 4 Louisville vs. N. 13 Davidson

Louisville is on fire after winning their conference tournament.  And everyone remembers how the Big East champs fared in last year’s Big Dance.

Prediction: Louisville


West: No. 6 Murray State vs. No. 11 Colorado State

Murray State lost one game all season long.  I don’t care of you're playing the Sisters of the Poor, a 30-1 record is impressive.

Prediction: Murray State


NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Todd Mayo #4 of the Marquette Golden Eagles reacts after a play against Louisville Cardinals during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

West: No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 BYU/Iona

As long as the Golden Eagles don’t get caught looking ahead, they’ll be fine.  BYU isn’t the same force they’ve been in years past.

Prediction: Marquette


West: No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia

Bradley Beal and Patric Young only lost to Kentucky by three in the SEC tournament.  For Florida, that battle with the Wildcats will make facing off against the Cavaliers feel like they’re catching their second wind.

Prediction: Florida


West: No. 2 Missouri vs. No. 15 Norfolk State

Norfolk State has no shot in this one.  Coming off a Big 12 tournament title, the scorching Tigers will be too much for the Spartans.

Prediction: Missouri


NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange looks on from the sideline against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the semifinals of the Big East men's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2012 in New York City.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

East: No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville

Syracuse will take their anger stemming from their Big East tournament loss out on UNC-Asheville.  Like the rest of the one-16 matchups, it’ll get ugly.

Prediction: Syracuse


East: No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Southern Miss

Southern Miss lost two out of their last three games of the season…to Marshall.  K-State went one-and-done in the Big 12 tournament, but they’ll annihilate the Golden Eagles.

Prediction: Kansas State


East: No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 12 Harvard

As you can tell by their win over Kentucky in the SEC title game, this is arguably the most talented team Vanderbilt has had in years.  If only Jeremy Lin was still at Harvard...

Prediction: Vanderbilt


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10:  Rob Wilson #33 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives for a shot attempt against Draymond Green #23 and Austin Thornton #13 of the Michigan State Spartans during their Semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference T
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

East: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Montana

Montana hasn’t lost since January 14th, so they’re an intriguing Cinderella pick.  The thing is, though, the Badgers just beat Indiana on March 9th.

Prediction: Wisconsin


East: No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 Texas

Texas always enters the Big Dance with a talented ball club, but they always manage to disappoint.  Cincinnati is hot coming off a run all the way to the Big East title game, and they’re heated after a loss there to Louisville.

Prediction: Cincinnati


East: No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 St. Bonaventure

Florida State just beat Duke and UNC.  If St. Bonaventure pulled off the upset, Twitter would break.

Prediction: Florida State


LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Gary Bell Jr. #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs passes against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the championship game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena March 5, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. S
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

East: No. 7 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 West Virginia

WVU lost eight out of their last 12 games.  And here’s a joke for you: They made the tournament with 19 wins and only one over a ranked team.

Prediction: Gonzaga


East: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Loyola (MD)

Jared Sullinger may or may not drop 40 points.  Actually, since Thad Matta most likely won’t need to play him in the second half, 40 will be out of reach.

Prediction: Ohio State


Midwest: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Lamar/Vermont

Roy Williams should feel free to rest John Henson for another game.  Bob Knight’s son coaches Lamar, though, so a flying chair could make things interesting.

Prediction: North Carolina


PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 10:  Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson #32 of the Temple Owls looks on against the Villanova Wildcats at the Liacouras Center on December 10, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Midwest: No. 8 Creighton vs. No. 9 Alabama

Creighton fits the profile of a Cinderella team capable of fighting their way into the Sweet 16 and beyond.  But they aren't a Cinderella because they were so dominant in the regular season.

Prediction: Creighton


Midwest: No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 11 Ohio

Ohio only averaged 70.7 points per game this season.  That is a problem when you play in the Mid-American conference.

Prediction: Michigan

Midwest: No. 5 Temple vs. No. 12 California/USF

Despite going one-and-done in their conference tournament, Temple is a strong basketball team.  They took out Duke earlier in the season.

Prediction: Temple


Midwest: No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 NC State

The Wolfpack lost to UNC by just two points in the ACC tournament.  San Diego State isn’t remotely as talented as they were last season.

Prediction: NC State


Midwest: No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Belmont

Belmont hasn’t lost a game since late January.  Of course, the team they fell to was USC Upstate.

Prediction: Georgetown


LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Kenton Walker II #30 of the Saint Mary's Gaels holds the trophy after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 78-74 in overtime to win the championship game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Are
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Midwest: No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 10 Purdue

A Saint Mary’s victory in Round 1 wouldn’t surprise anyone this year.  In fact, it’d be surprising if they lost.

Prediction: St. Mary’s


Midwest: No. 2 Kansas vs. No. No. 15 Detroit

A loss in the Big 12 tournament cost the Jayhawks a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.  Kansas is going to be out to prove that they’re better than their seeding.

Prediction: Kansas


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.


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