Joe Lunardi Bracket: Breaking Down Expert's Final Four Picks

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2012

Joe Lunardi of ESPN is known as an expert in predicting which teams will make the NCAA Tournament, but he is still an amateur at picking winners.

Compared to his other colleagues, Lunardi made some bold choices in his Final Four picks, selecting Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri and Wisconsin to win their respective regions.

While these are not too far-fetched, each provides some question marks. 


The South region is arguably the toughest in the tournament, but there is little doubt that Kentucky has been the best team in the nation all season long.

Anthony Davis is the best defensive player in the country, and he leads a team full of talented players that will make an impact at the next level.

The only issue with the Wildcats' path to the final four is the schedule. Connecticut has struggled throughout the season, but they are one of the few teams that can match the talent level that Kentucky provides.

Past that, John Calipari's squad can see one of the teams that defeated them in the regular season (Indiana), and then deep scoring team in Duke. 

Kentucky has loads of talent, but the players will not be able to take any games off on the path to a championship.

Pick Analysis: Safe and boring

North Carolina

The second top-seeded team selected by Joe Lunardi raises more questions about the team, but less outside of it.

There are not too many teams that can challenge North Carolina in the early rounds. The Tarheels are simply too big up front for any of the potential opponents.

However, looming on the bottom half of the bracket is a very talented team in Kansas. Roy Williams against his former team would be an entertaining draw, and the Jayhawks might be too much to handle offensively.

Pick Analysis: As the worst one-seed, they will probably get upset somewhere along the line


The biggest surprise of the college basketball season was the breakout year of Missouri.

As a two seed, the Tigers are almost underrated coming into the tournament after winning the Big 12 Championship and being the No. 3 ranked team in each poll. 

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Michael Dixon #11 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after the Tigers defeated the Baylor Bears 90 to 75 to win the championship game of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2012 in Kansas C
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The team had a few bad losses, but they have one of the best offenses in the nation and excel at getting high-percentage shots. 

A few teams could win the West region, including Michigan State and Louisville, but Missouri could surprise people in the next few weeks.

Pick Analysis: Relatively bold with a realistic shot makes it a good pick


I love when analysts pick a lower seed to the Final Four, but Wisconsin is not the right pick this season.

The Badgers might not struggle right away with Montana, but a win could set up a matchup with the SEC Tournament Champion Vanderbilt. 

Also looming in the region are elite teams like Syracuse, Ohio State and Florida State. A team that was swept by Iowa this season cannot compete at a consistent high level for this many games.

Pick Analysis: Too risky with too many other good teams in the region

Picking with the masses will not get Joey Brackets to the top of any pools, especially when his only risky pick loses during the first weekend.