March Madness 2012 Predictions: Locks You Can't Overlook

Brandon Taylor Correspondent IMarch 16, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Guard Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators passes against the Ohio State Buckeyes November 16, 2010 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Midwest Region: No. 4 Michigan over No. 13 Ohio

Ohio comes in at 27-7, led by dynamic guard D.J. Cooper. Cooper is averaging 14 points, four rebounds and six assists per game. Cooper's stats hide the fact that he is not an efficient scorer. Cooper is shooting a career-low 34 percent from the field this season and 31 percent from three-point range. Cooper has never shot above 40 percent in his career. The Bobcats have a solid supporting cast in Reggie Kelly and Walter Offutt.

The Wolverines live and die by the three and are a serious threat when they knock down threes. The Wolverines have a very strong backcourt with Tim Hardaway, Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, and Trey Burke. They also have several big men who can score.


The West Region: No. 7 Florida over No. 10 Virginia

Mike Scott is a beast inside for the Cavaliers, but they don't have the depth on the perimeter to compete with Florida. The Gators are the nation's top three-point shooting team, led by Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, and Bradley Beal. Erik Murphy and Patric Young can contain Scott inside.


The South Region: No. 7 Notre Dame over No. 10 Xavier

Notre Dame has a very balanced attack, and that will serve them well against Xavier. There are a number of players capable of having a big game on the Fighting Irish. From Jack Cooley to Jerian Grant to Eric Atkins, anyone can step up and play well.

When you look at Xavier, it starts and ends with the backcourt of Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway. This is one of the best backcourts in the country, and if they are on, Xavier can pull off the upset. They are a little thin in the frontcourt, which could be the deciding factor in the game.