2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

March Madness 2012 Bracket: Final Four and More Smart Predictions

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 11:  Terrence Jones #3 and Eloy Vargas #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats react in the first 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
Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 13, 2012

We have a stunning double-digit featuring in the Sweet 16, and a No. 1 that is guaranteed to hoist the NCAA Tournament title. Here is every last prediction that matter this time of year. 

Predictions and prognostications abound on every desktop and bracket right now. The nation is sick with March Madness and we have the quick and painless vaccination. 

There are a few teams that you can bank as gold heading into what I consider the real start of the tourney on Thursday. 

Here are some picks that will prove useful as you fill out those brackets. As long as you follow these predictions, you should win each and ever bracket that you are in. 

NC State is Sweet 16

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Lorenzo Brown #2 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts after being called for a foul in the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Ar
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Wolfpack are playing brilliant ball at the moment, and they were given a tremendous gift in a soft seed to start the tournament. 

They get a San Diego State that looked awful against New Mexico and will be dispatched easily. After that, I will take a team that looked every bit top-shelf against Virginia and North Carolina. 

Duke Will Fall Early

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Miles Plumlee #21 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the second half against 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, Geo
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Blue Devils are back again, but this is not the regular iteration of Duke we have all grown to loathe. They are actually susceptible to upset. 

They may be the No. 2 seed coming out of the South, but I have them losing in the second round. Notre Dame or Xavier have the offense to exploit Duke that can get very sloppy on the defensive end. 

They are soft on the interior and are inconsistent in their shooting efforts. It will be a miracle for this team with so many issues to maneuver past this landmine and into the Elite Eight. 

Kentucky Wins it All

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 11:  Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes up for a dunk in the first 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
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's a Wildcats world, and we are just taking up residence. 

Kentucky has the best defense and the best player. Add to that the supporting cast surrounding Anthony Davis and you have a team that can cruise until they get to the Final Four. 

I know you never want to take the odds-on favorite, but Kentucky is far better than any team in the field, including North Carolina who comes in as the second most lauded team out there. 

By the time One Shining Moment gets queued up, Kentucky will have delighted us all the way to the title. 

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