NCAA Bracket 2012: Consensus Final Tournament Picks from the Experts

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: Consensus Final Tournament Picks from the Experts

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    With the 2012 NCAA tournament ready to kick off, the excitement over filling out the beloved brackets is palpable, but don’t make your selections until you consult the experts.

    March Madness masters like Brad Evans, Joe Lunardi and Jay Bilas have all been studying the game of basketball for years. They cover the sport for a living, so giving their educated guesses are worth investigating.

    While it ultimately comes down to you, when the 12-5 upset that you are certain will happen is the last pick left on the board, you need the experts to break the mental tie. We have four experts here to help you get to the top.


    Check back for more on the NCAA Basketball as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.

CBS Sports Gregg Doyel’s Bracket

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    National Championship: Kentucky over Kansas

    While Doyel’s Bracket feels a bit safe, there is no doubt that he made some big upsets early in the tournament while still allowing the top seeds to advance.

    The picking top seeds to advance while having your upset picks in the round of 64 method is a good way to still ensure that you get solid points while taking the risks that could make you the office pool bragging rights winner.

    As much as I don’t agree that Vanderbilt makes it to the Final Four, that’s the kind of upset pick that makes sense and you could actually see happen. Not like BYU or Pittsburgh.

College Basketball Guru Digger Phelps’ Bracket

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    National Championship: Michigan St. over Kansas

    Leave it to digger to go off the map with his Finals predictions, but I have to give him credit with staying with No. 1s but making them the least popular of the four. It’s a smart move that could payoff big.

    While Kentucky is a consensus championship favorite, most fans are picking the Spartans and the Jayhawks to go far as well. If you are looking to take a calculated risk to win the office pool, Digger may be onto something.

    Fans may see Phelps as a goofy character on ESPN’s coverage of college basketball, but he is a smart mind that is wise to how the game is played. If he says it, people should listen.

ESPN Expert Jay Bilas’ Bracket

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    National Championship: Kentucky Over Syracuse

    If you don’t know who Jay Bilas is, you need to check your college basketball fandom card at the door. Not only is he the best voice the sport has as an expert, he is down to earth and a funny guy.

    With that said, his bracket is seriously accurate. If there was expert on this list that had to get the nod as the one I would endorse as my top one, it would be Bilas and his No. 1 riding abilities.

    Stick with Bilas.

    It seems cheap to take all four No. 1 teams as the final four, but it’s the law of odds. Everyone will get picks wrong in the round of 64, but if you have teams left on the bracket as the Finals approach, you start making big points in your pool.

College Basketball Legend Dick Vitale’s Bracket

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    National Championship: Kentucky over North Carolina

    Dick Vitale has become one of the faces of college basketball, baby, and you need to take what he says about the bracket into consideration, baby. OK, that’s enough.

    Kentucky has become a consensus pick to waltz right into the finals, with three of the five experts choosing them. All three have them as National Champions as well.

    Another factor that makes Vitale even more credible is that he went with my pick of Florida State to make it to the Final Four. I have to say, Dickey V knows what he is talking about.