NCAA Bracket 2012: 5 Dark-Horse Picks for the Final Four

MichaelContributor IIMarch 11, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: 5 Dark-Horse Picks for the Final Four

0 of 5

    Well, the time has come and gone.

    The 2012 March Madness brackets have been released. Bubbles were burst, teams rejoiced and the analysts are making their predictions as fans around the world begin to fill out their brackets.

    This year, Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Michigan State represent the four No. 1 seeds of the tournament.

    All of them seem deserving, but some of these teams struggled down the stretch.

    Syracuse got bounced by Cincinnati, Kentucky lost to Vanderbilt and North Carolina had its ACC Tournament crown taken from them by the Seminoles of Florida State.

    Being a No. 1 seed sets your team up with the best path to the Final Four, but if these teams do not play well, some teams will take advantage.

    Here are five dark-horse picks to make the Final Four this year.

Florida State

1 of 5

    This team is flat out impressive.

    Florida State ran through the ACC Tournament like it was nothing.

    Throughout the season, the Seminoles beat Duke twice and Carolina twice, including in the ACC Championship this afternoon.

    As the Seminoles wrapped up their improbable run this week, they were rewarded with a three seed shortly after.

    If they beat the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure in the first round, they will play either Cincinnati or Texas, which are both winnable games.

    The East Region seems to be the most wide open this year, and the only two seeds ahead of them are Syracuse and Ohio State.

    Michael Snaer and Bernard James have been on fire lately, which is bad news for their opponents.

    Look for Florida State to keep its momentum going and make a Final Four run.


2 of 5

    The Hoosiers got a great draw in my opinion.

    Being awarded the No. 4 seed int he South Region, Indiana plays two mid-majors in their first two rounds.

    New Mexico State is a very good team, but Indiana should handle them. Next, the Hoosiers take on the winner of VCU and Wichita State.

    Indiana has shown signs of dominance this season, including a buzzer-beater win over Kentucky.

    If all goes well for the Hoosiers, they will most likely face the Wildcats in a Sweet 16 rematch.

    Kentucky looked vulnerable the past few games, and I believe Indiana has the firepower to squeak by the overall No. 1 seed.

    Look for Indiana to be a dark horse to make the Final Four.


3 of 5

    Louisville has a friend, and his name is Uncle Mo.

    There is not one team in this tournament that has more momentum than Rick Pitino's Cardinals.

    After knocking off Cincinnati for the Big East title, Louisville was awarded a No. 4 seed.

    In the first round, the Cardinals square off against Davidson.

    This Davidson team will struggle against the fast-paced game of Louisville, and this time, it cannot rely on Stephen Curry.

    If the Cardinals take care of business in their first game, they will face another mid-major.

    New Mexico and Long Beach State will battle in the 5-12 matchup game for the right to take on Louisville.

    Michigan State and Missouri are their No. 1 threats, but the Spartans and Tigers have showed little lapses that can hurt them around the Sweet 16.

    I would not be shocked if Louisville makes a run like UConn did one season ago.

Murray State

4 of 5

    I figured after Butler, VCU and George Mason made these Final Four runs that mid-majors would get respect.

    Apparently not.

    Murray State went an incredible 30-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference and became a national sensation.

    The Racers slipped up one time, just as every team in the nation did, but they bounced back and stormed into the NCAA tourney.

    The only problem is, the committee placed this exciting team with a six seed.

    But, this article isn't about disrespect it is about picking dark horses to make a Final Four run.

    The Racers have outstanding guard play and an offense that average nearly 75 points per game.

    Murray State will have tough matchups against Marquette and Missouri, but this team has the firepower to make a run.

    I am predicting this Racers team to be this year's Butler Bulldogs.

    Get ready!


5 of 5

    Although this pick scares me, I think the Wolverines can make a run.

    Hardaway, Jr., Novak and Burke are fantastic talents.

    If all of them are clicking, this team is extremely tough to stop.

    This team is playing Ohio in the first round in a 4-13 matchup and will face the winner of Temple and Cal/South Florida.

    After the round of 32, they will most likely take on the Tar Heels of UNC. After watching a good chunk of the ACC this year, North Carolina has its own troubles at times.

    Harrison Barnes is phenomenal but streaky, Zeller has had his problems with stronger players and John Henson has a bum wrist.

    If the Wolverines are going to have a chance at a Final Four run anytime soon, this is the time.