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Bleacher Report's NBA March Madness Tournament

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

Bleacher Report's NBA March Madness Tournament

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    March Madness is always one of the most entertaining sporting events on the calendar, so let's expand it and allow the professional basketball players to compete as well. And I'm not just talking about the current ones.

    To make an NBA version of March Madness happen, I went through the pages of Basketball-Reference.com and created rosters for each of the 96 schools that have produced at least 12 NBA talents. 

    From there, I turned to a seeding committee, made up of myself and seven close friends, all of whom are basketball aficionados. We ranked the teams from No. 1 through No. 96, and the results determined where the 64 tournament-bound squads fell in the bracket. 

    Next, I had B/R's NBA writers and editors vote on each and every matchup. Whomever earned the most votes advanced to the next round. 

    In this article, you'll be presented with quite a bit of information. 

    The next four slides contain the 64 teams, broken up into four regions in typical March Madness style, and the rosters for each one. After that, you'll see the rounds of the tournament unfold, starting with the Round of 64 and finishing with an epic championship matchup. 

    When you're looking through these games, keep the following rules in mind:

    1. Rosters were determined by selecting the 12 best players, regardless of position. Two players of the same position can only be in the starting lineup if there's no one from a certain position on the roster. 

    2. This results in some strong bench players. You can shift the lineup in your head however you want. For example, when you get to Georgetown, you're more than welcome to play Allen Iverson and four centers in your mind, even if that's not how the lineup is listed. 

    3. What players did in college does not matter. We're only considering their NBA prowess. 

    4. We're looking at each player during the peak of his career. When that is, well, that's up for you to decide.

    Without further ado, I present to you B/R's official NBA March Madness tournament!

North Regional Seedings and Rosters

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    Featuring the No. 1 overall seed and quite a few strong contenders that will be just dying to pull off some upsets, the North Regional leads off of NBA March Madness tournament. 

    Below are the 16 teams that will be vying for one of the Final Four spots by coming out of the North.

     

    1. North Carolina Tar Heels

    Starters: Ty Lawson (PG), Michael Jordan (SG), James Worthy (SF), Bob McAdoo (PF), Brad Daugherty (C)

    Bench Guards: Vince Carter (SG), Raymond Felton (PG), Jerry Stackhouse (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Billy Cunningham (SF), Antawn Jamison (PF), Bobby Jones (PF), Rasheed Wallace (PF)

     

    2. Houston Cougars

    Starters: Rob Williams (PG), Otis Birdsong (SG), Clyde Drexler (SG), Elvin Hayes (PF), Hakeem Olajuwon (C)

    Bench Guards: Don Chaney (SG), Damon Jones (PG), Oliver Taylor (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Greg Anderson (PF), Dwight Davis (PF), Dwight Jones (PF), Leary Lentz (PF)

     

    3. Kentucky Wildcats

    Starters: Rajon Rondo (PG), Tayshaun Prince (SF), Jamal Mashburn (SF), Antoine Walker (PF), Dan Issel (C)

    Bench Guards: Louie Dampier (PG), John Wall (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Sam Bowie (C), DeMarcus Cousins (C), Anthony Davis (PF), Alex Groza (C), Cliff Hagan (SF)

     

    4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

    Starters: Mark Price (PG), Iman Shumpert (SG), Dennis Scott (SF), Chris Bosh (PF), Matt Geiger (C)

    Bench Guards: Kenny Anderson (PG), Jarrett Jack (PG), Stephon Marbury (PG), Anthony Morrow (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Derrick Favors (PF), Matt Harpring (SF), Thaddeus Young (PF)

     

    5. Arizona Wildcats

    Starters: Gilbert Arenas (PG), Jason Terry (SG), Andre Iguodala (SF), Richard Jefferson (SF), Bison Dele (C)

    Bench Guards: Mike Bibby (PG), Michael Dickerson (SG), Steve Kerr (PG), Eric Money (PG), Damon Stoudamire (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Sean Elliott (SF), Chris Mills (SF)

     

    6. Marquette Golden Eagles

    Starters: Doc Rivers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), Don Kojis (SF), Maurice Lucas (PF), Jim Chones (C)

    Bench Guards: Wesley Matthews (SG), Earl Tatum (SG), George Thompson (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Chris Crawford (PF), Larry McNeill (PF), Steve Novak (SF), Jerome Whitehead (C)

     

    7. Auburn Tigers

    Starters: Jamison Brewer (PG), Eddie Johnson (SG), Chuck Person (SF), Charles Barkley (PF), Mamadou N'Diaye (C)

    Bench Guards: Marquis Daniels (SG), John Mengelt (SG), Wesley Person (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Bobby Cattage (PF), Mike Mitchell (SF), Chris Morris (SF), Chris Porter (SF)

     

    8. USC Trojans

    Starters: Gus Williams (PG), Bill Sharman (SG), Paul Westphal (SG), Cliff Robinson (PF), Nikola Vucevic (C)

    Bench Guards: Mack Calvin (PG), DeMar DeRozan (SG), O.J. Mayo (SG), Robert Pack (PG), Nick Young (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: John Block (PF), Taj Gibson (PF)

     

    9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 

    Starters: Austin Carr (SG), Jack Stephens (SG), Adrian Dantley (SF), LaPhonso Ellis (PF), Bill Laimbeer (C)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Leo Barnhorst (SF), Tom Hawkins (SF), Toby Knight (SF), Troy Murphy (PF), John Shumate (PF), Kelly Tripucka (SF), Orlando Woolridge (SF)

     

    10. Illinois Fighting Illini

    Starters: Deron Williams (PG), Donnie Freeman (SG), Eddie Johnson (SF), Skip Thoren (C), Red Kerr (C)

    Bench Guards: Nick Anderson (SG), Kendall Gill (SG), Derek Harper (PG), Don Ohl (SG), Andy Phillip (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Ken Norman (SF), Nick Weatherspoon (SF)

     

    11. Maryland Terrapins

    Starters: Steve Francis (PG), Greivis Vasquez (PG), Albert King (SF), Buck Williams (PF), Joe Smith (C)

    Bench Guards: Steve Blake (PG), Brad Davis (PG), Juan Dixon (PG), John Lucas (PG), Gene Shue (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Chris Wilcox (C), Walt Williams (SF)


    12. Tennessee Volunteers

    Starters: C.J. Watson (PG), Allan Houston (SG), Bernard King (SF), Reggie Johnson (PF), Red Robbins (C)

    Bench Guards: Dale Ellis (SG), Paul Walther (SG), Vincent Yarbrough (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Tom Boerwinkle (C), Ernie Grunfeld (SF), Dick Mehen (PF), Gene Tormohlen (C)

     

    13. Kansas State Wildcats

    Starters: Mike Evans (PG), Mitch Richmond (SG), Michael Beasley (SF), Bob Boozer (PF), Lew Hitch (PF)

    Bench Guards: Rolando Blackman (SG), Howie Shannon (SG), Bill Walker (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Norris Coleman (SF), Cartier Martin (SF), Willie Murrell (SF), Ed Nealey (PF)

     

    14. Colorado Buffaloes 

    Starters: Chauncey Billups (PG), Jay Humphries (SG), Scott Wedman (SF), Cliff Meely (PF), Jim Davis (C)

    Bench Guards: Alec Burks (SG), Chuck Williams (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Chris Copeland (PF), Joe Cooper (C), Bob Doll (SF), Chuck Gardner (PF), David Harrison (C)

     

    15. Purdue Boilermakers

    Starters: Bill Keller (PG), Rick Mount (SG), Glenn Robinson (SF), Carl Landry (PF), Joe Barry Carroll (C)

    Bench Guards: Herm Gilliam (SG), Paul Hoffman (SG), Jerry Sichting (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Brian Cardinal (PF), Terry Dischinger (SF), William Franklin (PF), Brad Miller (C)

     

    16. Boston College Eagles

    Starters: Michael Adams (PG), Bob Carrington (SG), Jared Dudley (SF), Craig Smith (PF), Sean Williams (C)

    Bench Guards: Johnny Austin (SG), John Bagley (PG), Dana Barros (PG), Howard Eisley (PG), Jimmy O'Brien (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Terry Driscoll (PF), John Garris (PF)

South Regional Seedings and Rosters

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    The South Regional is next up in the NBA March Madness tournament. The No. 2 overall seed and more than a handful of Hall of Famers are in this region, but there are plenty of players and teams hoping to pull off a legendary upset. 

    Below are the 16 teams that will be competing for one of the Final Four spots by coming out of the South.

     

    1. UCLA Bruins

    Starters: Russell Westbrook (PG), Reggie Miller (SG), Marques Johnson (SF), Kevin Love (PF), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (C)

    Bench Guards: Baron Davis (PG), Gail Goodrich (SG), Jrue Holiday (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Kiki Vandeweghe (SF), Bill Walton (C), Sidney Wicks (PF), Jamaal Wilkes (SF)

     

    2. Georgetown Hoyas

    Starters: Sleepy Floyd (PG), Allen Iverson (SG), Reggie Williams (SF), Jeff Green (PF), Patrick Ewing (C)

    Backup Guards: David Wingate (SG)

    Backup Forwards/Centers: Othella Harrington (PF), Roy Hibbert (C), Greg Monroe (C), Alonzo Mourning (C), Dikembe Mutombo (C), Mike Sweetney (PF)

     

    3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Starters: Chris Paul (PG), Charlie Davis (SG), Josh Howard (SF), Len Chappell (PF), Tim Duncan (C)

    Bench Guards: Muggsy Bogues (PG), Frank Johnson (PG), Jeff Teague (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Al-Farouq Aminu (SF), Dave Budd (SF), James Johnson (SF), Rodney Rogers (SF)

     

    4. Texas Longhorns

    Starters: T.J. Ford (PG), Avery Bradley (SG), Kevin Durant (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), LaSalle Thompson (C)

    Bench Guards: D.J. Augustin (PG), Daniel Gibson (PG), Slater Martin (PG), Travis Mays (PG), Johnny Moore (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Chris Mihm (C), Tristan Thompson (PF)

     

    5. Cincinnati Bearcats

    Starters: Oscar Robertson (PG), Ralph Davis (SG), Jack Twyman (SF), Kenyon Martin (PF), Connie Dierking (C)

    Bench Guards: Nick Van Exel (PG), Lance Stephenson (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Pat Cummings (C), Danny Fortson (PF), Jason Maxiell (PF), Ruben Patterson (SF), Rick Roberson (C)

     

    6. Memphis Tigers

    Starters: Derrick Rose (PG), Tyreke Evans (SG), Penny Hardaway (SF), Larry Kenon (PF), Lorenzen Wright (C)

    Bench Guards: Vincent Askew (SG), Mike Butler (SG), Larry Finch (SG), Dajuan Wagner (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Chris Douglas-Roberts (SF), Sylvester Gray (SF), Rich Jones (SF)

     

    7. Minnesota Golden Gophers

    Starters: Ray Williams (PG), Lou Hudson (SG), Willie Burton (SF), Kevin McHale (PF), Mychal Thompson (C)

    Bench Guards: Archie Clark (PG), Dick Garmaker (SG), Bobby Jackson (PG), Voshon Leonard (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Ron Behagen (PF), Kleggie Hermsen (C), Mark Olberding (PF)

     

    8. N.C. State Wolfpack

    Starters: Spud Webb (PG), David Thompson (SG), Chucky Brown (SF), Tom Gugliotta (PF), Tom Burleson (C)

    Bench Guards: Vinny Del Negro (SG), Nate McMillan (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Thurl Bailey (PF), Kenny Carr (PF), J.J. Hickson (PF), Josh Powell (PF), Charles Shackleford (C)

     

    9. Washington Huskies

    Starters: Nate Robinson (PG), Brandon Roy (SG), Detlef Schrempf (SF), Jack Nichols (PF), James Edwards (C)

    Bench Guards: Louie Nelson (SG), Isaiah Thomas (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Spencer Hawes (C), Steve Hawes (PF), Bob Houbregs (PF), George Irvine (SF), Todd MacCulloch (C)

     

    10. UTEP Miners

    Starters: Tiny Archibald (PG), Gus Bailey (SG), Scott English (SF), Antonio Davis (PF), Greg Foster (C)

    Bench Guards: Tim Hardaway (PG), Willie Worsley (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Jim Barnes (PF), Dave Feitl (C), Dick Gibbs (SF), Dave Lattin (PF), Marlon Maxey (PF)

     

    11. Oregon State Beavers

    Starters: Gary Payton (PG), Brent Barry (SG), Dave Gambee (SF), Lonnie Shelton (PF), Steve Johnson (C)

    Bench Guards: Freddie Boyd (PG), Lester Conner (PG), Jim Jarvis (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: A.C. Green (PF), Mel Counts (C), Swede Holbrook (C), Red Rocha (C)

     

    12. Santa Clara Broncos

    Starters: Steve Nash (PG), Bruce Hale (SG), Bob Feerick (SF), Kurt Rambis (PF), Dennis Awtrey (C)

    Bench Guards: Marlon Garnett (PG), Harold Keeling (SG), Dick O'Keefe (SG), Marty Passaglia (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Bud Ogden (SF), Kenny Sears (PF), Nick Vanos (C)

     

    13. South Carolina Gamecocks

    Starters: Mike Dunleavy (PG), Brian Winters (SG), Alex English (SF), Tom Boswell (PF), Tom Owens (C)

    Bench Guards: Kevin Joyce (SG), Tarence Kinsey (SG), John Roche (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Renaldo Balkman (SF), Jim Fox (C), Gary Gregor (SF), Cedrick Hordges (PF)

     

    14. Villanova Wildcats

    Starters: Kyle Lowry (PG), Kerry Kittles (SG), Paul Arizin (SF), Tim Thomas (SF), Jim Washington (PF)

    Bench Guards: Chris Ford (SG), Randy Foye (PG), Keith Herron (SG), Wali Jones (PG), Bill Melchionni (PG), Rory Sparrow (PG), Doug West (SG)

     

    15. Iowa Hawkeyes

    Starters: B.J. Armstrong (PG), Fred Brown (SG), Ricky Davis (SF), Connie Hawkins (PF), Kevin Kunnert (C)

    Bench Guards: Ronnie Lester (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Reggie Evans (PF), Kevin Gamble (SF), John Johnson (SF), Noble Jorgensen (C), Don Nelson (SF), George Peeples (C)

     

    16. Bradley Braves

    Starters: Al Smith (PG), Hersey Hawkins (SG), Chet Walker (SF), Steve Kuberski (PF), Joe Strawder (C)

    Bench Guards: Jim Les (PG), Anthony Parker (SG), Roger Phegley (SG), Levern Tart (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: J.J. Anderson (SF), Barney Cable (SF), Shellie McMillon (SF)

East Regional Seedings and Rosters

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    The East Regional allows Shaquille O'Neal, Pete Maravich and plenty of other historical greats to get back on the court. Of course, there are plenty of current standouts as well.  

    Below are the 16 teams that will be hoping to advance to the Final Four by coming out of the East.

     

    1. LSU Tigers

    Starters: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (PG), Pete Maravich (SG), John Williams (SF), Bob Pettit (PF), Shaquille O'Neal (C)

    Bench Guards: Frankie Brian (SG), Marcus Thornton (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Brandon Bass (PF), Glen Davis (PF), Jerry Reynolds (SF), Stanley Roberts (C), Tyrus Thomas (PF)

     

    2. Connecticut Huskies

    Starters: Kemba Walker (PG), Ray Allen (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Clifford Robinson (PF), Emeka Okafor (C)

    Bench Guards: Ben Gordon (SG), Rip Hamilton (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Caron Butler (SF), Andre Drummond (C), Toby Kimball (PF), Donyell Marshall (PF), Charlie Villanueva (PF)

     

    3. Michigan State Spartans

    Starters: Magic Johnson (PG), Jason Richardson (SG), Jay Vincent (SF), Zach Randolph (PF), Kevin Willis (PF)

    Bench Guards: Terry Furlow (SG), Ralph Simpson (SG), Scott Skiles (PG), Steve Smith (SG), Sam Vincent (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Johnny Green (PF), Morris Peterson (SF)

     

    4. Michigan Wolverines

    Starters: Jamal Crawford (PG), Jalen Rose (SG), Glen Rice (SF), Chris Webber (PF), Roy Tarpley (C)

    Bench Guards: Rickey Green (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Juwan Howard (PF), Phil Hubbard (SF), Campy Russell (SF), Cazzie Russell (SF), Rudy Tomjanovich (PF), Loy Vaught (PF)

     

    5. Syracuse Orange

    Starters: Sherman Douglas (PG), Dave Bing (SG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Derrick Coleman (PF), Rony Seikaly (C)

    Bench Guards: Jonny Flynn (PG), Dion Waiters (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Louis Orr (SF), Billy Owens (SF), Eddie Miller (C), Danny Schayes (C), Hakim Warrick (PF)

     

    6. Alabama Crimson Tide

    Starters: Mo Williams (PG), Latrell Sprewell (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Antonio McDyess (PF), Leon Douglas (C)

    Bench Guards: Alonzo Gee (SG), Ennis Whatley (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Jason Caffey (PF), Robert Horry (PF), Buck Johnson (SF), Reggie King (PF), Derrick McKey (SF)

     

    7. UNLV Runnin' Rebels

    Starters: Reggie Theus (PG), Isaiah Rider (SG), Shawn Marion (SF), Larry Johnson (PF), Keon Clark (C)

    Bench Guards: Stacey Augmon (SG), Ricky Sobers (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Joel Anthony (C), Armen Gilliam (PF), Sidney Green (PF), Tyrone Nesby (SF), John Trapp (SF)

     

    8. California Golden Bears

    Starters: Jason Kidd (PG), Phil Chenier (SG), Lamond Murray (SF), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (PF), Darrall Imhoff (C)

    Bench Guards: Ed Gray (SG), Charles Johnson (SG), Kevin Johnson (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Ryan Anderson (PF), Francisco Elson (C), Don Henriksen (PF), Leon Powe (PF)

     

    9. DePaul Blue Demons

    Starters: Rod Strickland (PG), Quentin Richardson (SG), Mark Aguirre (SF), Terry Cummings (PF), George Mikan (C)

    Bench Guards: Kevin Edwards (SG), Ron Sobie (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Wilson Chandler (SF), Tyrone Corbin (SF), Dave Corzine (C), Bill Robinzine (PF), Bobby Simmons (SF)

     

    10. Georgia Bulldogs

    Starters: Vern Fleming (PG), Willie Anderson (SG), Dominique Wilkins (SF), Tim Bassett (PF), Alec Kessler (PF)

    Bench Guards: Sundiata Gaines (PG), Litterial Green (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Shandon Anderson (SF), Jacky Dorsey (SF), Jarvis Hayes (SF), Jumaine Jones (SF), Damien Wilkins (SF)

     

    11. Arkansas Razorbacks

    Starters: Darrell Walker (PG), Sidney Moncrief (SG), Corliss Williamson (SF), Oliver Miller (C), Andrew Lang (C)

    Bench Guards: Ron Brewer (SG), Ronnie Brewer (SG), Todd Day (SG), Joe Johnson (SG), Jannero Pargo (PG), Alvin Robertson (SG), Sonny Weems (SG)

     

    12. Oklahoma State Cowboys

    Starters: John Lucas (PG), John Starks (SG), Desmond Mason (SF), Bob Harris (PF), Bryant Reeves (C)

    Bench Guards: Tony Allen (SG), Stephen Graham (SG), Brooks Thompson (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Richard Dumas (SF), Joey Graham (SF), Cecil Hankins (SG), Byron Houston (SF)

     

    13. Detroit Titans

    Starters: Jermaine Jackson (PG), John Long (SG), Dave DeBusschere (SF), Spencer Haywood (PF), Lee Knorek (C)

    Bench Guards: Terry Duerod (SG), Willie Green (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Earl Cureton (PF), Joe Kopicki (PF), Dorie Murrey (PF), Guy Sparrow (PF), Terry Tyler (SF)

     

    14. Stanford Cardinal

    Starters: Brevin Knight (PG), Art Harris (SG), George McGinnis (SF), Bob Bedell (PF), Brook Lopez (C)

    Bench Guards: Landry Fields (SG), Paul Neumann (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Josh Childress (SF), Howie Dallmar (SF), Rich Kelley (C), Robin Lopez (C), Jim Pollard (SF)

     

    15. Xavier Musketeers

    Starters: Lionel Chalmers (PG), Jordan Crawford (SG), James Posey (SF), David West (PF), Brian Grant (C)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Derrick Brown (SF), Tyrone Hill (PF), Dave Piontek (SF), Bob Quick (SF), Luther Rackley (C), Derek Strong (PF), Aaron Williams (PF)

     

    16. New Mexico Lobos

    Starters: Charles Smith (SG), Michael Cooper (SG), Danny Granger (SF), Kenny Thomas (PF), Mel Daniels (C)

    Bench Guards: Ron Nelson (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: J.R. Giddens (SF), Ira Harge (C), Jermone Henderson (PF), Greg Howard (PF), Willie Long (PF), Luc Longley (C)

West Regional Seedings and Rosters

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    Is Duke going to be the team that advances from the last of our four regionals, or will one of the other 15 teams upset the Blue Devils that everyone always seems to root against? 

    Below are the 16 teams that will be trying to earn the last Final Four spot by coming out of the West.

     

    1. Duke Blue Devils

    Starters: Kyrie Irving (PG), Bob Verga (SG), Grant Hill (SF), Elton Brand (PF), Christian Laettner (C)

    Bench Guards: Johnny Dawkins (PG), Jeff Mullins (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Shane Battier (SF), Carlos Boozer (PF), Luol Deng (SF), Mike Gminski (C), Corey Maggette (SF) 

     

    2. Kansas Jayhawks

    Starters: Jo Jo White (PG), Brandon Rush (SG), Paul Pierce (SF), Bill Bridges (PF), Wilt Chamberlain (C)

    Bench Guards: Kirk Hinrich (PG), Darnell Valentine (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Drew Gooden (PF), Wayne Hightower (PF), Clyde Lovellette (C), Danny Manning (PF), Dave Robisch (C)

     

    3. San Francisco Dons 

    Starters: K.C. Jones (PG), Phil Smith (SG), Joe Ellis (SF), Bill Russell (C), Bill Cartwright (C)

    Bench Guards: Winford Boynes (SG), Quintin Dailey (SG), Fred LaCour (PG), Fred Scolari (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Pete Cross (C), Mike Farmer (SF), Erwin Mueller (C)

     

    4. Florida Gators

    Starters: Jason Williams (PG), Vernon Maxwell (SG), Mike Miller (SF), Al Horford (PF), Joakim Noah (C)

    Bench Guards: Bradley Beal (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Corey Brewer (SF), Udonis Haslem (PF), David Lee (PF), Chandler Parsons (SF), Marreese Speights (PF) Neal Walk (C)

     

    5. Ohio State Buckeyes

    Starters: Mike Conley (PG), Michael Redd (SG), John Havlicek (SF), Jerry Lucas (PF), Neil Johnston (C)

    Bench Guards: Kelvin Ransey (SG), Evan Turner (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Gary Bradds (PF), Tony Campbell (SF), Jim Jackson (SF), Clark Kellogg (PF), Arnie Risen (C)

     

    6. Indiana Hoosiers

    Starters: Isiah Thomas (PG), Dick Van Arsdale (SG), Tom Van Arsdale (SF), George McGinnis (PF), Walt Bellamy (C)

    Bench Guards: Eric Gordon (SG), John Logan (PG), John McGlocklin (SG), Mike Woodson (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Kent Benson (C), Scott May (SF), Bob Wilkerson (SF)

     

    7. Arizona State Sun Devils

    Starters: Fat Lever (PG), James Harden (SG), Joe Caldwell (SF), Arthur Becker (PF), Alton Lister (C)

    Bench Guards: Freddie Lewis (PG), Byron Scott (PG), Lionel Hollins (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Isaac Austin (C), Mark Landsberger (PF), Kurt Nimphius (PF), Sam Williams (PF)

     

    8. Utah Utes

    Starters: Andre Miller (PG), Mike Newlin (SG), Keith Van Horn (SF), Tom Chambers (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

    Bench Guards: Ticky Burden (SG), Vern Gardner (SG), Mervin Jackson (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Jerry Chambers (SF), Bill McGill (C), Dewitt Menyard (C), Mike Sojourner (PF)

     

    9. St. John's Red Storm

    Starters: Mark Jackson (PG), Kevin Loughery (SG), Chris Mullin (SF), Sonny Dove (PF), Billy Paultz (C)

    Bench Guards: Dick McGuire (PG), Malik Sealy (SG), Max Zaslofsky (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Tony Jackson (SF), George Johnson (PF), Metta World Peace (SF), Leroy Ellis (C)

     

    10. Oklahoma Sooners

    Starters: Mookie Blaylock (PG), Anthony Bowie (SG), Harvey Grant (SF), Blake Griffin (PF), Alvan Adams (C)

    Bench Guards: Brent Price (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Gar Heard (PF), Stacey King (C), Eduardo Najera (PF), Clifford Ray (C), Donald Sidle (PF), Wayman Tisdale (PF)

     

    11. Florida State Seminoles

    Starters: Sam Cassell (PG), Mitchell Wiggins (SG), Al Thornton (SF), Alexander Johnson (PF), Dave Cowens (C)

    Bench Guards: Toney Douglas (PG), Bob Sura (SG), Von Wafer (SG), Charlie Ward (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Rowland Garrett (SF), George McCloud (SF), Chris Singleton (SF)

     

    12. West Virginia Mountaineers

    Starters: Ron Williams (PG), Jerry West (SG), Fred Schaus (SF), Joe Alexander (SF), Mark Workman (PF)

    Bench Guards: Hot Rod Hundley (SG), Lowes Moore (PG), Tony Robertson (SG), Wilbert Robinson (SG), Bobby Smith (SG), Rod Thorn (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Devin Ebanks (SF)

     

    13. Louisville Cardinals

    Starters: Jim Price (PG), Darrell Griffith (SG), Junior Bridgeman (SF), Jack Coleman (PF), Wes Unseld (C)

    Bench Guards: Butch Beard (PG), Derek Smith (SG), Terrence Williams (SG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Pervis Ellison (C), Francisco Garcia (SF), Rodney McCray (SF), Billy Thompson (SF)

     

    14. Providence Friars

    Starters: Lenny Wilkens (PG), Jimmy Walker (SG), Ryan Gomes (SF), Otis Thorpe (PF), Jim Hadnot (C)

    Bench Guards: MarShon Brooks (SG), Ernie DiGregorio (PG), Eric Murdock (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Marvin Barnes (PF), Austin Croshere (PF), Mike Riordan (SF), Michael Smith (PF)

     

    15. Virginia Cavaliers

    Starters: Cory Alexander (PG), Bryant Stith (SG), Gus Gerard (SF), Ralph Sampson (PF), Olden Polynice (C)

    Bench Guards: John Crotty (PG), Roger Mason (SG), Barry Parkhill (SG), Othell Wilson (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Mark Iavaroni (PF), Jeff Lamp (SF), Wally Walker (SF)

     

    16. Fresno State Bulldogs

    Starters: Rafer Alston (PG), Paul George (SG), Ron Anderson (SF), Pete Verhoeven (PF), Melvin Ely (C)

    Bench Guards: Courtney Alexander (PG), Chris Herren (PG)

    Bench Forwards/Centers: Gary Alcorn (C), Tremaine Fowlkes (SF), Rod Higgins (SF), Dominic McGuire (SF), Bernard Thompson (SF)

North Regional Round of 64 Matchups

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    As expected, the first round in the North Regional didn't see the top teams struggle all that much. 

    In fact, there were three teams who swept the vote, and all of the favored teams held seed. Only two of these matchups were remotely close, as blowouts reigned supreme. 

    Let's take a look. You can remind yourself of the rosters here

     

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (100 percent) defeat No. 16 Boston College Eagles (0 percent)

    Even with Bob Carrington doing everything in his power to slow down Michael Jordan and Jared Dudley catching fire from the perimeter, Boston College simply doesn't have nearly enough weapons in its arsenal. 

    UNC's starters will be able to kick back and watch this slaughter from the bench. They won't need to play more than 10 minutes before this game gets out of hand. 

     

    No. 8 USC Trojans (56 percent) defeat No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (44 percent)

    This game was one of the more intriguing matchups of the first round. As the closing seconds tick away, though, Notre Dame's lack of a true point guard comes back to bite the Irish. With Austin Carr and Jack Stephens masquerading as a typical backcourt and no backup guards to speak of, Gus Williams and Bill Sharman would end up having a field day for USC. 

    Adrian Dantley keeps this game close for the Irish, but the Trojans prove to be too well-rounded and deep in this round of 64 rivalry matchup. 

    This ended up as the third-closest matchup in the round of 64. 

     

    No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (80 percent) defeat No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers (20 percent)

    Tennessee got a little bit unlucky in the draw here, as its strength certainly lies in the smaller positions on the court. Bernard King is going to be the main source of points, and the backcourt is far stronger than the ranks of no-name big men. 

    Unfortunately for the Volunteers, Arizona's trio of Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry and Andre Iguodala is its strength as well. 


    No. 4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (88 percent) defeat No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats (12 percent)

    Georgia Tech is a ridiculously potent fourth seed in the North Regional, which spells trouble for the Kansas State Wildcats.

    With Mark Price, Jarrett Jack and Stephon Marbury at point guard, plus Chris Bosh and Thaddeus Young at power forward, the Jackets don't really have to worry about depth. 

    Instead, they can focus on slowing down Mitch Richmond and forcing Michael Beasley or Bob Boozer to beat them. That shouldn't prove too difficult. 

     

    No. 6 Marquette Golden Eagles (80 percent) defeat No. 11 Maryland Terrapins (20 percent)

    The Terrapins have a number of talented point guards, but that's not going to help them take down Marquette. In fact, there's no way that any one of them—especially Greivis Vasquez, whose 2012-13 campaign is so stellar that he's already emerged as a starter—can slow down Dwyane Wade. 

    Maryland may only fall slightly short of the Golden Eagles in the talent department, but the Terps don't match up well whatsoever. 


    No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (100 percent) defeat No. 14 Colorado Buffaloes (0 percent)

    This matchup proved to be another clean sweep, as Colorado can barely hang with Kentucky even in the land of dreams. 

    Chauncey Billups might have been a stellar floor general in his prime, but he has no shot at slowing down the Wildcats' abundance of talent. It's just not a contest. 

     

    No. 7 Auburn Tigers (68 percent) defeat No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini (32 percent)

    Who on Illinois is going to step up and stop a prime Charles Barkley? Will Red Kerr or Skip Thoren attempt to make use of their size and slow down the Round Mound of Rebound? Or will the Illinois version of Eddie Johnson have to make up for his vertical shortcomings? 

    Quite frankly, it's just not going to happen.

    Also, how intriguing is it that there's an Eddie Johnson on both sides of this matchup? 

     

    No. 2 Houston Cougars (100 percent) defeat No. 15 Purdue Boilermakers (0 percent)

    Personally, I felt as though Purdue should have been a bit better than a No. 15 seed. It doesn't matter when the Boilermakers match up against Houston, though. 

    Glenn Robinson, Carl Landry and Joe Barry Carroll make up a pretty solid frontcourt, but they don't stand a chance against Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon. 

    You shouldn't be too surprised that none of the B/R voters felt like picking Purdue in this game. Even our Purdue alumnus from the seeding committee couldn't bring himself to support the Boilermakers. 

South Regional Round of 64 Matchups

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    The South Regional proved to be a bit more competitive than its compass opposite in the round of 64. Only one team advanced unanimously—you can probably guess which one—and there were even two upsets in the bracket. 

    So, how did these next eight contests play out? 

    If you need to remind yourself of the rosters, just click here

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (100 percent) defeat No. 16 Bradley Braves (0 percent)

    If I had asked you to list UCLA alums, you'd be able to reel off current and future Hall of Famers left and right.

    Now, try to do the same thing for the Bradley Braves. 

    Only the truest students of basketball history will be familiar with more than a handful of players on the team. Hersey Hawkins and Chet Walker clearly stand out about the rest, but even that dynamic duo won't stand a chance against the litany of legends employed by this UCLA squad. 


    No. 9 Washington Huskies (68.2 percent) upset No. 8 N.C. State Wolfpack (31.8 percent)

    Our first upset of the NBA March Madness tournament involves two collections of canines. A Wolfpack may have the advantage over Huskies in the wild, but the opposite holds true here. 

    Spud Webb and David Thompson are going to dazzle crowds with their hops, but they aren't quite enough for N.C. State to advance. Washington's backcourt pairing of Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy has a diminutive member as well, and it can certainly hang with the opposing one. 

    It's the other positions that make the difference in this first-round battle, as Detlef Schrempf and James Edwards in particular outshine their positional counterparts. 


    No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats (90.9 percent) defeat No. 12 Santa Clara Broncos (9.1 percent)

    It's a testament to Steve Nash that Santa Clara was even awarded a No. 12 seed by our seeding committee. Unfortunately for the Canadian floor general, he draws just about the worst assignment possible in the first round. 

    Nash has absolutely no chance of succeeding against Oscar Robertson. The Big O is just too, well, big and strong for Nash to handle on defense, and the Bearcats would end up having an offensive field day. 


    No. 4 Texas Longhorns (90.9 percent) defeat No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (9.1 percent)

    Kevin Durant's first NCAA tournament was a disappointing one, as he and the Texas Longhorns fell to USC in the second round. 

    The first game of his redemption campaign isn't even going to be close, as Durant only needs to slow down Alex English to beat South Carolina (interestingly enough, also abbreviated "USC"). Even if he can't corral the leading scorer of the 1980s, Durant has enough help in the form of LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford and Avery Bradley to get by. 

     

    No. 6 Memphis Tigers (86.4 percent) defeat No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (13.6 percent)

    This game inevitably turns into a backcourt battle, which doesn't favor the Beavers. 

    Gary Payton and Brent Barry might provide enough firepower against quite a few teams in this tournament, but the Memphis Tigers are not one of the squads that falls into that category. Not when they have Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans out on the court. 

    Plus, Memphis boasts the services of hometown hero Penny Hardaway, who could very well carry a much weaker team through the first round. 


    No. 3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (95.4 percent) defeat No. 14 Villanova Wildcats (4.6 percent)

    Can you imagine the success that Chris Paul and Tim Duncan would have playing together? 

    Paul Arizin, Kyle Lowry, Kerry Kittles and the rest of this overmatched Villanova unit certainly will be able to after getting tortured by the pairing throughout this first-round blowout. 


    No. 10 UTEP Miners (54.6 percent) upset No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers (45.4 percent)

    In the tightest game of the round of 64, the UTEP Miners and Minnesota Golden Gophers engage in a throwback brawl. 

    UTEP most likely starts the game out in a hole since Gus Bailey trots out onto the court as part of the starting five, but the Miners storm back as soon as Tim Hardaway enters the game and crosses over the Gophers.

    He and Tiny Archibald form quite the pairing at the guard spots, even if only the latter is technically starting. 

    Minnesota's stars, Lou Hudson and Kevin McHale, do everything possible to keep it close, but UTEP prevails in a nail-biter.


    No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas (95.4 percent) defeat No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (4.6 percent)

    Georgetown might be the most unique team in this tournament.

    If I were coaching the Hoyas, I'd certainly have to consider playing Allen Iverson, Greg Monroe, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo at the same time, just for fun. Just call me Rick Adelman 2.0

    Even if Georgetown employs a more traditional look, the Hoyas are not going to struggle with an Iowa squad that features very little talent in the big-man department.

    Unless "Downtown" Fred Brown blows away the three-point shooting record, this isn't going to be worth watching in the second half. 

East Regional Round of 64 Matchups

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    Even though you'll see one upset in the East Regional, it's the least competitive of the four. No fewer than four teams are going to advance to the round of 32 in unanimous fashion, and only two of the matchups are even remotely close. 

    This region quickly becomes more intriguing as the tournament progresses, but not even Gus Johnson can make this set of games all that interesting. 

    To remind yourself which players are suiting up for which teams, click here

     

    No. 1 LSU Tigers (100 percent) defeat No. 16 New Mexico Lobos (0 percent)

    No disrespect meant to Mel Daniels, but a 6'9" center who thrived in the ABA certainly isn't going to stop Shaquille O'Neal. 

    Even if Daniels did manage to live up to his gargantuan undertaking, the Lobos still don't have anyone who can slow down Pete Maravich and Bob Pettit. 

    Expect this one to be a blowout. 


    No. 9 DePaul Blue Demons (59.1 percent) upset No. 8 California Golden Bears (40.9 percent)

    With Jason Kidd back in his prime, California is definitely a strong team in this hypothetical tournament, but the Golden Bears aren't going to be able to contain the old-school DePaul frontcourt. Having Kevin Johnson coming off the bench certainly helps the team, but it doesn't solve that aforementioned problem.

    Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings and George Mikan might not be familiar names to the youngest generations of NBA fans, but all three Blue Demon products were exquisite talents in their heydays.

     

    No. 5 Syracuse Orange (90.9 percent) defeat No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9.1 percent)

    If you have any idea how to stop Dave Bing and Carmelo Anthony from running up the score for the Orange, go ahead and enlighten us. The B/R voting panel clearly didn't think it was possibly for John Lucas, John Starks and Bryant "Big Country" Reeves to do so. 

    Starks can only pester one of the two offensive stars for Syracuse, freeing the other one to wreak havoc as he sees fit. 


    No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (100 percent) defeat No. 13 Detroit Titans (0 percent)

    While our selection committee may have been a bit disrespectful to the Detroit Titans by giving them a No. 13 seed, it's not at all unfair to make this a unanimous victory for the Michigan Wolverines. 

    Detroit's Dave DeBusschere and Spencer Haywood were both dominant back in the day, but they don't stand a chance against the deeper, more athletic roster of great players thrown out there by UM. 


    No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (86.4 percent) defeat No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks (13.6 percent)

    Between Sidney Moncrief, Joe Johnson and Alvin Robertson, Arkansas is beyond stacked at shooting guard. However, that won't help make up for the glaring hole in the paint. 

    It's that hole that Alabama exploits, using Gerald Wallace and Antonio McDyess' superior athleticism throughout the game. Expect plenty of dunks and an early lead that negates any advantage the Tide may have gained from having Robert Horry on the bench.


    No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (100 percent) defeat No. 14 Stanford Cardinal (0 percent)

    I wish the best to Brevin Knight, who's been given the unfortunate task of guarding Magic Johnson in the prime of his career. Have fun with that. 

    And if that's not enough, the rest of this lackluster Stanford squad has to deal with Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph and Kevin Willis, among others. 

    Let's just move on before it gets too ugly, as Michigan State might be able to out rebound the Cardinal while playing with blindfolds. 


    No. 7 UNLV Runnin' Rebels (59.1 percent) defeat No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs (40.9 percent)

    It's a testament to the play of Dominique Wilkins that the Georgia Bulldogs were both able to earn a No. 10 seed and actually hang with UNLV during the round of 64. Other than 'Nique, the Dawgs don't have any truly notable players. 

    On the other hand, UNLV boasts a starting lineup filled with talent: Reggie Theus, Isaiah Rider, Shawn Marion, Larry Johnson and Keon Clark. 

    Quite frankly, I'm surprised that this matchup ended up making the Rebels sweat a bit. 


    No. 2 Connecticut Huskies (100 percent) defeat No. 15 Xavier Musketeers (0 percent)

    When Lionel Chalmers and Jordan Crawford are the only two guards on your roster, that's when you know you're in trouble. It just gets worse when the other team is utilizing the services of Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton. 

    No matter what David West brings to the table, Xavier might as well just call in sick for this first-round blowout. 

West Regional Round of 64 Matchups

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    From top to bottom, this might be the most competitive of the four regions. 

    The West Regional features only two upsets in the round of 64, but anything can happen going forward, as each of the top six seeds in the division boast some pretty loaded rosters. 

    Who would you pick to emerge? 

    If you need some roster refreshing, click here to see each of the 16

     

    No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (100 percent) defeat No. 16 Fresno State Bulldogs (0 percent)

    The 2012-13 version of Paul George is the best player on Fresno State's overmatched squad. Yes, he's been that good during his breakout season for the Indiana Pacers. 

    Now, just for fun, how many Duke players were better than George in their primes? 

    Kyrie Irving, Grant Hill, Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer certainly were. Arguments could be made for a few other guys. 

    But you get my point already. 


    No. 9 St. John's Red Storm (55 percent) upset No. 8 Utah Utes (45 percent)

    In the second-closest matchup of the round of 64, St. John's narrowly storms past Utah to await the No. 1 seed in the West. I actually picked Utah here and didn't think the game would be that competitive, but the B/R writers as a whole beg to differ. 

    Mark Jackson and Chris Mullin are the standouts for the Red Storm, although they're by no means the only solid players on the roster. In the first round, they prove to be more than Andre Miller, Keith Van Horn, Tom Chambers and Andrew Bogut can handle. 

     

    No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (90 percent) defeat No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers (10 percent)

    For a team that always seems to be in the thick of things before churning out NBA-caliber players, Ohio State sure has an old-school lineup. But with John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and Neil Johnston leading the charge, it's a deadly one too. 

    Just imagine if Greg Oden had submitted a season strong enough to work his way onto this roster. 

    As it stands, a West Virginia team carried by Jerry West's shooting stroke and immaculately well-kempt hair isn't going to be able to keep this one too close. 


    No. 4 Florida Gators (95 percent) defeat No. 13 Louisville Cardinals (5 percent)

    Louisville might be the most surprising No. 13 seed in this tournament. I was pretty shocked when I put together the Cardinals' 12-man roster and realized just how little NBA talent the school had produced. 

    Florida, on the other hand, is stacked, even if it is a very modern lineup.

    The frontcourt in particular is unstoppable, between the all-around play of Al Horford and Joakim Noah in the starting lineup and the David Lee-Udonis Haslem combination off the bench. 


    No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers (70 percent) defeat No. 11 Florida State Seminoles (30 percent)

    Even though Dave Cowens was an MVP in his prime and Sam Cassell was pretty darn effective, Florida State just doesn't have the firepower necessary to keep up with the Hoosiers. 

    Every single member of Indiana's starting lineup was an NBA All-Star at some point, and Isiah Thomas is clearly the best player on the court. George McGinnis and Walt Bellamy aren't too far behind, and we know the Van Arsdale twins can play well together. 


    No. 3 San Francisco Dons (100 percent) defeat No. 14 Providence Friars (0 percent)

    I'll make this simple for you. 

    Would you rather have Otis Thorpe and Jim Hadnot or Bill Russell and Bill Cartwright? 

    That's what I thought. 


    No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners (55 percent) upset No. 7 Arizona State Sun Devils (45 percent)

    If I could only watch one matchup in the first round, this might be my top choice. Arizona State and Oklahoma both feature some pretty big names, and the teams' respective strengths match up perfectly with the other's weaknesses. 

    For the Sun Devils, it's all about guard play. Between Fat Lever and James Harden, the starting backcourt is phenomenal. 

    However, it doesn't get the job done against the frontcourt of Oklahoma, which is led by Blake Griffin and Alvan Adams in the starting lineup and Gar Heard and Wayman Tisdale off the pine. 


    No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (95 percent) defeat No. 15 Virginia Cavaliers (5 percent)

    The Virginia Cavaliers may have Ralph Sampson and Olden Polynice, but there are two things they most certainly don't have on the roster. 

    One is Ali Farokhmanesh.

    The other is Wilt Chamberlain.  

North Regional Round of 32 Matchups

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    There were no upsets in the North Regional during the round of 64, but will the round of 32 allow a similar story to unfold? 

    The matchups should be getting a bit tighter at this stage, even if the top four seeds in the North are pretty strong. You'll now find multiple superstars in just about every game. 

    If you're looking for the rosters of the eight remaining teams in the region, look no further than this link

     

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (100 percent) defeat No. 8 USC Trojans (0 percent)

    After a unanimous victory against Boston College in the first round of the tournament, the Tar Heels sweep through yet another game, advancing to the Sweet 16 without dropping a single vote. 

    Let's look at it this way. 

    USC's starting lineup is Gus Williams, Bill Sharman, Paul Westphal, Cliff Robinson and Nikola Vucevic. 

    Even if UNC's original starting five were declared ineligible, the powder-blue-clad squad could still scrounge together a better group by using Raymond Felton, Vince Carter, Billy Cunningham, Bobby Jones and Rasheed Wallace. 

     

    No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (66.7 percent) upset No. 4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (33.3 percent)

    Even though Arizona's lack of size will prove to be problematic against Chris Bosh and the rest of the Yellow Jackets' frontcourt legions, the Andre Iguodala-Dennis Scott matchup, Jason Terry-Iman Shumpert battle and the bench allow the Wildcats to advance. 

    Mike Bibby, Damon Stoudamire—don't forget how good he was early on with the Toronto Raptors—and Sean Elliott could all start for quite a few teams, and Steve Kerr is bound to knock down a few bombs off the pine. 

     

    No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (78.8 percent) defeat No. 6 Marquette Golden Eagles (21.2 percent)

    Dwyane Wade is good enough to at least keep Marquette in this game, but his supporting cast isn't strong enough to push the Golden Eagles through to the Sweet 16. 

    Kentucky's squad is just too strong and deep to lose this early on in the competition. Unless we're talking about shooting guards, the position at which Tayshaun Prince is starting due to the dearth of true 2-guards on the roster, every single spot in the lineup goes at least two deep. 

    Wade might keep this close at the start, but as soon as the backups enter, it's just about over. 

     

    No. 2 Houston Cougars (93.9 percent) defeat No. 7 Auburn Tigers (6.1 percent)

    Charles Barkley may have been able to capitalize on a major mismatch in the round of 64, but now he's going up against an elite team whose strength lies in the frontcourt. Drawing Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon is much more of a challenge. 

    As should be the case for a No. 2 seed against a No. 7 seed, Houston doesn't have much difficulty in the round of 32. Expect Clyde Drexler, Hayes and Hakeem to prove once more just how much they can bring to the table. 

    The Cougars are Dream Shaking their way into the Sweet 16. 

South Regional Round of 32 Matchups

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    The South Regional may have had a few more upsets than the North during the first round of the tournament, but that doesn't mean the top seeds are in danger here. 

    This section of the bracket is going to be filled with blowouts, except for one of the four games in the round of 32. Which will it be?

    To reacquaint yourself with these eight lineups, click here. 

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (100 percent) defeat No. 9 Washington Huskies (0 percent)

    Just like the North Carolina Tar Heels in the North, the UCLA Bruins are making it through the first two rounds of the NBA March Madness tournament without being voted against even a single time. 

    Washington may have been able to sneak by in the round of 64, but the Huskies aren't going to have much luck against the region's top team. Let's compare Washington's starting lineup to a five-man unit off UCLA's bench.

    While the Huskies throw Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Detlef Schrempf, Jack Nichols and James Edwards out onto the court, UCLA can still use Baron Davis, Gail Goodrich, Kiki Vandeweghe, Sidney Wicks and Bill Walton.

    Now just imagine what happens if the starters are actually allowed to play.  


    No. 4 Texas Longhorns (57.7 percent) defeat No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats (42.3 percent)

    The second-closest matchup of the second round, this showdown between Texas and Cincinnati is going to develop into a second-half slugfest prominently featuring Kevin Durant and Oscar Robertson. 

    While Texas' Avery Bradley can shift over to point guard and at least pester Robertson a bit, Durant is going to have his way with Jack Twyman throughout the game. With LaMarcus Aldridge peppering in a few mid-range jumpers now and then, the Longhorns scrape by. 

     

    No. 3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (92.3 percent) defeat No. 6 Memphis Tigers (7.7 percent)

    Let's assume that Derrick Rose and Chris Paul play to a draw. It's not that much of a stretch, regardless of which point guard you think is superior at the moment. 

    Wake Forest still easily wins this matchup because of the battle down low. Lorenzen Wright stands absolutely no chance against Tim Duncan, who has played enough center to be considered eligible there even if he's commonly considered the greatest power forward of all time. 

    Duncan is going to post such stellar numbers in this second-round game that he could possibly make a run at the tournament MVP (assuming such a thing existed). 


    No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas (100 percent) defeat No. 10 UTEP Miners (0 percent)

    UTEP is going to need some serious luck if the Miners hope to contain Georgetown's host of big men. Greg Foster and Dave Feitl are the centers for the No. 10 seed, and they'll be tasked with slowing down a rotation comprised of Patrick Ewing, Greg Monroe, Alonzo Mourning, Roy Hibbert and Dikembe Mutombo. 

    Yeah. Good luck with that.

    If you don't have a quality center on your roster, you might as well just give up against the Hoyas. Even if you do, it's going to be rather tough to advance past them. 

East Regional Round of 32 Matchups

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    If you've ever wanted to see one of the NBA's first superstars battle against a guy every teenager today is familiar with, you've come to the right section of the bracket. 

    The East Regional has been pretty chalk thus far, and that's going to continue through the round of 32. But that doesn't mean it's devoid of intriguing games. In fact, the battle between the No. 4 and No. 5 seed in the East is one you'd almost have to watch. 

    If you need to see the rosters one more time, click here

     

    No. 1 LSU Tigers (96 percent) defeat No. 9 DePaul Blue Demons (4 percent)

    Here's one of the more intriguing player matchups, as George Mikan, the original NBA superstar from the '50s and '60s, goes up against Shaquille O'Neal, a modern-day titan. 

    Ignoring the other matchups on the court, most of which favor the Tigers, Shaq isn't going to have much trouble against Mikan. While the Minneapolis Laker's historical legacy is excellent, he simply doesn't have the size or athleticism to match up against one of the most physical players of all time. 


    No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (60 percent) defeat No. 5 Syracuse Orange (40 percent)

    In his prime, Sherman Douglas was a solid offensive player who didn't offer all that much on the less glamorous side of the court. That's the matchup Michigan will be looking to exploit, as it puts the ball in the tricky hands of Jamal Crawford and lets crossovers happen with alarming frequency. 

    Dave Bing, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Coleman keep this game close, but it's the battle of point guards that allows the Wolverines to advance to the Sweet 16 in our tournament. 


    No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (96 percent) defeat No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (4 percent)

    Alabama has a very good starting five—Mo Williams, Latrell Sprewell, Gerald Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Leon Douglas—so the large difference in voting percentages is a huge sign of respect toward one player on the Michigan State roster. 

    That guy would be Magic Johnson, who isn't going to have much trouble outshining Williams at the point. Jason Richardson, Jay Vincent, Zach Randolph and Kevin Willis are all solid players, but make no mistake about it here. 

    This game is all about Magic. 


    No. 2 Connecticut Huskies (84 percent) defeat No. 7 UNLV Runnin' Rebels (16 percent)

    As you can probably tell by now, when dealing with massive blowouts, I like looking at the favorite's bench against the starters of the underdogs. 

    So here, which would you rather take? 

    UNLV's starting five of Reggie Theus, Isaiah Rider, Shawn Marion, Larry Johnson and Keon Clark, or Connecticut's five-man unit off the bench comprised of Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Charlie Villanueva and Andre Drummond? 

    Arguments can certainly be made for either side, which shows just how unfair it is for the Huskies to have their five starters play in this game. 

West Regional Round of 32 Matchups

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    Can the upstarts in the West Regional keep their magical runs going, or are the favorites going to take over during the round of 32? 

    We have plenty of intriguing matchups here, including a rematch of the 2007 NCAA Finals, in which Florida beat Ohio State, 84-75. The Gators are the favorites once more, but can the Buckeyes pull off the upset? 

    To reacquaint yourself with these eight rosters, just click here

     

    No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (93.9 percent) defeat No. 9 St. John's Red Storm (6.1 percent)

    Let's turn back to the vaunted strategy of matching up the favorite's top five-man unit off the bench against the underdog's actual starters. 

    In that situation, St. John's still gets to play Mark Jackson, Kevin Loughery, Chris Mullin, Sonny Dove and Billy Paultz. They match up against Johnny Dawkins, Jeff Mullins, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Mike Gminski. 

    I don't think I'm alone in feeling that those 10 players would provide us with a much more competitive game than anything including Duke's starters would. 


    No. 4 Florida Gators (78.8 percent) defeat No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (21.2 percent)

    Much to the chagrin of people who insist on using "the" in front of Ohio State, Florida has the Buckeyes' number once again. 

    Even if the starting lineups play to a wash, the Gators have the advantage when the backups enter the game. Udonis Haslem, David Lee, Chandler Parsons and Marreese Speights ensure that there isn't too much of a drop-off when Joakim Noah and Al Horford need a rest. 

    As strong as John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and Neil Johnston may be, the Buckeyes can't say the same about the bench.


    No. 3 San Francisco Dons (54.6 percent) defeat No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers (45.4 percent)

    This ended up being the closest matchup of the round of 32, and for good reason. 

    Indiana has a much more well-rounded team, one that's strong at each and every position. Plus, it's a deeper squad, with Eric Gordon, Jon McGlocklin and Kent Benson coming off the bench whenever Isiah Thomas, Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, George McGinnis and Walt Bellamy need a rest. 

    San Francisco isn't at all deep, and the only three players with modern-day name recognition are K.C. Jones, Bill Cartwright and Bill Russell.

    Those last two words are important, though.

     

    No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (100 percent) defeat No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners (0 percent)

    Blake Griffin may have been able to lead the Oklahoma Sooners to victory in the first round, but he's going to have significantly more trouble against Bill Bridges and Wilt Chamberlain. 

    Kansas has the advantage across the board here, so it shouldn't be all that surprising that the Jayhawks are advancing in unanimous fashion. 

    Expect Paul Pierce to absolutely dominate this game, torching Harvey Grant for a game-high point total. 

North Regional Sweet 16 Matchups

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    We have a couple blue bloods left in the North Regional's portion of the Sweet 16. When you think about college basketball, North Carolina and Kentucky have to be two of the first teams that spring to mind. 

    However, that won't help them here. It's not about reputation. It's about the players that the schools have produced. 

    If the blue bloods are going to advance, it will only be because they've earned the right to do so. 

    To see these four rosters one more time, don't hesitate to click here

     

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (97.2 percent) defeat No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (2.8 percent)

    It's been a nice run for Arizona, and the Wildcats can go home taking solace in the fact that they were the first team to earn votes against North Carolina. The Tar Heels won both of the first two rounds in unanimous fashion, but that's not the case in the Sweet 16.

    Credit the outside shooting of Gilbert Arenas and Jason Terry for that, even if the roster is nowhere deep enough to compete with North Carolina for the vast majority of the game.

    Plus...Michael Jordan.  


    No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (58.3 percent) upset No. 2 Houston Cougars (41.7 percent)

    The Houston Cougars finally run into a team that can at least partially contain their talented frontcourt, and it results in an early exit from the NBA March Madness tournament. 

    There's no doubt that Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon outshine Jamal Mashburn, Antoine Walker and Dan Issel by a rather significant margin. Kentucky's bench players, Cliff Hagan, Sam Bowie, Anthony Davis, Alex Groza and DeMarcus Cousins, can provide valuable minutes off the bench, though.

    The Wildcats frontcourt can keep that matchup close enough that their edge in the backcourt is what matters most. Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince and John Wall are going to have their way with Rob Williams and Otis Birdsong throughout the Sweet 16 showdown. 

    This was the closest matchup of this round of the tournament. 

South Regional Sweet 16 Matchups

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    Each of the top four seeds advanced to the Sweet 16 in the South Regional, including the vaunted UCLA Bruins. Along with North Carolina, UCLA was one of only two teams to make it through the first two rounds of the tournament without dropping a single vote. 

    Also like the Tar Heels, the Bruins' run of perfection is going to come to an end here. But will their tournament hopes as well? 

    If you need to review the four remaining rosters, here's the link

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (97.2 percent) defeat No. 4 Texas Longhorns (2.8 percent)

    Let's play another fun game called "How Many Players on Each Team Have Made All-Star Games!" 

    For Texas, the count is just three: Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge and Slater Martin—way back in the 1950s. 

    UCLA, on the other hand, has significantly more. Russell Westbrook, Reggie Miller, Marques Johnson, Kevin Love, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Baron Davis, Gail Goodrich, Jrue Holiday, Kiki Vandeweghe, Bill Walton, Sidney Wicks and Jamaal Wilkes have each been selected to at least one All-Star team. 

    Yes, that's the entire roster. 


    No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas (69.4 percent) defeat No. 3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (30.6 percent)

    Trying to figure out how to contain both Sleepy Floyd and Allen Iverson will prove to be quite the challenge for Wake Forest in this Sweet 16 matchup. 

    The 6'2" Charlie Davis would probably have to take on Floyd, who's bigger and significantly better than the role player from the '70s. That leaves Chris Paul to contain Allen Iverson, which is always a difficult task, even for a defensive stalwart like CP3. 

    Even if Paul and Davis somehow manage to win the backcourt battle, Tim Duncan is still going to be biting off more than he can chew against Georgetown's ridiculous big-man core. 

East Regional Sweet 16 Matchups

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    Brandon Bass is one of many quality players off the four remaining benches in the East Regional, and all of them are going to matter. 

    The top four teams in the region have all advanced free of upsets thus far, but the matchups are getting tighter. The starters alone are no longer going to be settling things when these squads battle it out for a berth in the Elite Eight. 

    If you need some refreshing on who plays for which team, look no further

     

    No. 1 LSU Tigers (62.9 percent) defeat No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (37.1 percent)

    With Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit and Shaquille O'Neal in the starting five, the LSU Tigers already have enough of an advantage in this Sweet 16 showdown. 

    However, the gap between LSU and Michigan grows even larger when the second units enter the court. The Tigers have Marcus Thornton providing a nice scoring punch, Brandon Bass knocking down mid-range jumpers, Glen Davis banging around down low and fooling people into thinking Shaq is still playing and Tyrus Thomas doing athletic things. 

    Michigan simply does not have that sort of variety or talent coming off the pine. 


    No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (65.7 percent) upset No. 2 Connecticut Huskies (34.3 percent)

    We know that Magic Johnson is going to abuse Kemba Walker. The diminutive Huskies floor general isn't going to be able to contain the best point guard of all time, even if he can provide a nice offensive spark with his quickness. 

    According to the B/R writers, that matchup is apparently enough to push the Spartans through to the Elite Eight. 

    UConn's size—Emeka Okafor and Andre Drummond will probably need to be guarded by Zach Randolph—and depth were enough to earn my personal vote, but the masses have spoken. 

West Regional Sweet 16 Matchups

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    The West Regional gives us the most competitive section of the Sweet 16. On average, the winning teams in this part of the bracket earned 63.9 percent of the vote. 

    In the East, North and South, the average percentages were 64.3, 77.8 and 83.3, respectively. As you can see, it's the sides of the compass that seem to be producing the most even matchups. 

    Will that result in any upsets here? 

    For another look at the four remaining rosters in the West, click here

     

    No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (63.9 percent) defeat No. 4 Florida Gators (36.1 percent)

    I'm actually a bit surprised this matchup wasn't even closer. It's one I struggled with a lot during the voting process, because Duke and Florida match up quite well. 

    The position that pushes the Blue Devils over the edge is small forward, though.

    Mike Miller might be a great shooter, but he's going to have a hard time matching up against a prime version of Grant Hill. And when Luol Deng, Corey Maggette and Shane Battier come off the bench, Duke is still strong at the position. 

    Chandler Parsons may be trending upward, but he still has a lot to prove before he's in that same category. 

    This would be one heck of a game to watch. 


    No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (63.9 percent) defeat No. 3 San Francisco Dons (36.1 percent)

    Speaking of incredible things to watch, how about a Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell rematch?

    If this were real life, you can be sure that no one would talk about anything other than the battle of big men. Can a prime version of Wilt actually manage to take down a prime version of Russell? Does it matter that Russell isn't wearing a green Boston Celtics jersey? 

    Even if Russell gets the better of the Stilt, Kansas' supporting cast is just that much better. Paul Pierce would absolutely tear up Joe Ellis at small forward, and the depth is a big factor as well. 

Elite 8 Matchup No. 1: North Carolina vs. Kentucky

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    To see each of the Elite Eight rosters, click here. This is the only slide the link will appear on for the rest of the tournament, so make sure you keep it open!

    Now, on to the matchup:

    It's amazing that we can get this far into the tournament and still experience a blowout, but that's what's bound to occur when the Tar Heels and Wildcats square off. 

    Here's what B/R's Garrett Jochnau had to say: "As good as Kentucky would be, a core of Jordan, Worthy and McAdoo would be too much. Add Daugherty and Lawson to the mix, plus Carter at his prime coming off the bench, and UNC would be unstoppable."

    Of course, there's the Jordan factor at play too, something that multiple B/R writers commented on during the voting. 

    In the words of Simon Cherin-Gordon, "Michael Jordan outdueled Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone in the NBA Finals. He should handle this team, led by Rajon Rondo." 

    When I asked one of my friends on the seeding committee, Shashank Bhardwaj, for three sentences about why he picked UNC, he wrote the following, "Sentence 1: Because MJ. Sentence 2: Because MJ. Sentence 3: Sorry the others aren't full sentences."

    Kentucky's bench has been enough to overwhelm everyone they've faced thus far, but the Wildcats' backups still can't manage to keep up with the Tar Heels' second unit. 

    Once Jordan and the UNC starters have earned themselves a sizable lead, everyone is going to realize just how much better the backups are as the margin of victory continues to grow. 

    It looks like powder blue is the first color represented in the Final Four. 

     

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (93.6 percent) defeat No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (6.4 percent)

Elite 8 Matchup No. 2: Duke vs. Kansas

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    If Duke is going to win this game, the Blue Devils will have to get a massive contribution from the smaller players on the court. 

    Grant Hill going head-to-head with Paul Pierce makes for one of the most intriguing individual matchups of the tournament, but both Kyrie Irving and Bob Verga will have to take advantage of Jo Jo White and Brandon Rush, respectively. 

    This fact isn't lost on B/R's Scott Burns, who wrote, "Duke pulls out a close victory here, but only if they can stage a perimeter game with a lot of pick-and-rolls in order to minimize the impact of Wilt." 

    The majority of the writers, myself included, didn't agree. As for why, well, that boils down to a single player. 

    Wilt Chamberlain is easily the most dominant player on this court, bar none. He can make a profound two-way impact on the Elite Eight proceedings, especially against Christian Laettner, who starts at the 5 for the Blue Devils. 

    While the rosters are balanced enough that this should be an entertaining game, Wilt's dominance made it an easy pick for many of the voters. 

    Perhaps no one felt as confident as Luke Petkac, though: "If your best bet to stop Wilt is a combination of Christian Laettner, Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer, then you might as well not even play the game."

    Regardless of the margin of victory, Kansas is Rock Chalking its way into the Final Four. 

     

    No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (64.5 percent) upset No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (35.5 percent)

Elite 8 Matchup No. 3: UCLA vs. Georgetown

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    When UCLA and Georgetown battle it out for the third spot in the Final Four, we're essentially witnessing a who's who of legendary big men. 

    That's a problem for the Hoyas, who have capitalized on a superior frontcourt to even make it to this point. For the first time, the quintet of Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Greg Monroe and Roy Hibbert can be matched. 

    In fact, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton actually do more than just match it. They exceed it, especially with Kevin Love and Jeff Green factored in for the Bruins and Hoyas, respectively. 

    The matchup of benches is intriguing as well. As Marshall Zweig states, "When you get to backups, this gets even tougher. Davis, scoring dervish Vandeweghe, Walton and the great Jamaal Wilkes are a serious force. As good as Monroe, Mourning and Mutombo are, I have to go with UCLA."

    Unfortunately for Georgetown's dreams of a title, UCLA just has the advantage whether we're discussing starters or backups. 

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (90.6 percent) defeat No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas (9.4 percent)

Elite 8 Matchup No. 4: LSU vs. Michigan State

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    Who guards Magic Johnson in this matchup between the LSU Tigers and Michigan State Spartans? 

    Is it going to be Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, even though he was just 6'1" and struggled defensively throughout his career (career defensive rating of 111, per Basketball-Reference.com)? Will it be Pete Maravich? 

    The Tigers better hope not, because Pistol might be too busy figuring out how he's going to throw his next lob to Shaquille O'Neal to worry about slowing down Magic. 

    Even with Magic wreaking havoc like he did for the Showtime Lakers, the Spartans don't bring enough to the table. 

    LSU is a deeper team, and it's going to be quite the struggle for Michigan State to contain the offensive trio of Maravich, Bob Pettit and Shaq. Dave Leonardis thought the latter single-handedly swung this matchup toward the Tigers: "The Spartans wouldn't be able to stop Shaq."

    He's right.

    Who's going to slow down the Diesel? Kevin Willis and Zach Randolph? 

    In reality, no one is, unless he draws a less favorable matchup in the next round. This proved to be the closest matchup of the Elite Eight, but LSU is moving on. 

     

    No. 1 LSU Tigers (62.5 percent) defeat No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (37.5 percent)

Final 4 Matchup No. 1: North Carolina vs. Kansas

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    Depending on who you ask, you'll get plenty of different answers when you request personal opinions on the two best players in NBA history. 

    The constant is usually Michael Jordan, who tends to finish at No. 1 on most ballots. No. 2 is up for grabs, though. Answers usually tend to either be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain. 

    Well, we have two of the five aforementioned names in this battle of Goliaths. 

    MJ and Wilt won't be directly competing, but they will be hoping to carry their respective teams into the championship game. 

    Among B/R writers, the prevailing thought was that Jordan and the rest of the Tar Heels would be able to pull this one out.

    Here's what James Pearson had to say: "There is just no one to defend Michael Jordan on this Jayhawk team. And with 18 fouls in the form of Brad Daugherty, Bob McAdoo and Rasheed Wallace, Wilt Chamberlain will be heavily slowed down."

    Of course, UNC's superiority is about more than just the consensus G.O.A.T. 

    Howard Ruben goes into a bit more depth when he breaks down the matchup: "It's really hard to argue with a lineup that features arguably the greatest player ever (MJ), two of the best forwards in Worthy and McAdoo and a top-notch point guard in Ty Lawson. Chamberlain, of course, would have Daugherty for lunch but Worthy neutralizes Pierce. Plus, the Tar Heels bench is superior so UNC reigns supreme in this battle."

    Chamberlain is going to keep this interesting for a little bit, but it's North Carolina that earns the first spot in the final.

     

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (92.9 percent) defeat No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (7.1 percent)

     

    MVP Results

    No. 1: Michael Jordan (23 votes)

    No. 2 (tie): Ty Lawson, Brad Daugherty, James Worthy, Paul Pierce, Wilt Chamberlain (One vote)

Final 4 Matchup No. 2: UCLA vs. LSU

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    To lead things off in the second of the two Final Four matchups, let's roll with a quote from B/R's Jeff Glauser: "What a versatile squad UCLA has here. They can dominate in the post with Kareem and Walton, get it done outside the perimeter with Miller or just dominate their opponents at will like Westbrook and Love currently do. LSU simply doesn't have the speed to catch them."

    There's no point in denying it. This matchup just isn't going to be all that close, as indicated by the voting split.

    Of all the ballots cast during this round, only one supported the LSU Tigers.

    Let's apply the strategy I've been using throughout this tournament for blowouts one more time. 

    Could LSU's starting five of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Pete Maravich, John Williams, Bob Pettit and Shaquille O'Neal beat a five-man unit off UCLA's bench comprised of Baron Davis, Gail Goodrich, Kiki Vandeweghe, Sidney Wicks and Bill Walton?

    I'd say so, but it would be close. And that's not a good sign for LSU, since that matchup doesn't incorporate UCLA's ridiculous starting five.

    Much more interesting than the game itself is the race for MVP in this game. As you can see from the voting results below, there was a two-way tie for first place between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Russell Westbrook.  

    My vote went for the current floor general of the Oklahoma City Thunder because, in the words of Luke Petkac, he "could basically turn the LSU guards into turnstiles." Shaq and Kareem can essentially play to a draw, leaving Westbrook free to take over the game with his ridiculous athleticism and offensive prowess. 

    What do you think? 

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (96.4 percent) defeat No. 1 LSU Tigers (3.6 percent)

     

    MVP Results

    No. 1 (tie): Russell Westbrook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (11 votes)

    No. 2: Reggie Miller (Three votes)

    No. 3 (tie): Bill Walton, Pete Maravich, Shaquille O'Neal (One vote)

Championship Game: North Carolina vs. UCLA

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    It's only fitting that the final matchup of our legendary tournament is the closest one. 

    NBA March Madness produced 63 different matchups, and the championship battle between North Carolina and UCLA—the tournament's top two overall seeds—had the smallest voting split. Thirty-four votes were cast for this game, and the winning team only drew 18 of them. 

    Most of you probably saw the teams on the first few slides and immediately knew that there would be a showdown between the Tar Heels and Bruins. They were just head and shoulders above the rest of the field, a fact that should be quite clear from the blowout victories they enjoyed in the Final Four.

    If you're like me, you're going to spend hours convincing yourself that one team is superior to the other. You'll debate with your friends and change your mind multiple times.

    Those who picked North Carolina tended to do so because of a certain guy named Michael Jordan. Here are a few explanations from B/R's writers:

    "Westbrook will make Lawson work, and the Abdul-Jabbar/Love post tandem will be tough, but in the end, this game will come down to one thing, and one thing alone: which team wants it more—and Michael Jordan always wants it more. He never loses in the finals, and don't expect him to fall short here." - Garrett Jochnau

    "No matter how things shake out, the bottom line is that I see this game coming down to the final moments, and in those moments, Jordan stands above all." - Kelly Scaletta

    "Michael Jordan doesn't lose in the finals." - Ehran Kahn

    It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that all 16 people who voted for the Tar Heels selected Michael Jordan as the MVP of this game. In fact, the unanimity of the powder-blue supporters was enough for Air Jordan to pull a Jerry West and emerge as the MVP despite an ultimately unsuccessful effort. 

    Therein lies the reason that UCLA does end up taking home the title: The Bruins simply have more balance from top to bottom and position to position. 

    The Bruins are just mind-blowingly deep across the board. Each of the 12 members of the squad has made an All-Star team at least once, something that the Heels can't quite claim. 

    I gave you three quotes from the pro-UNC crowd, so here are three more from the pro-UCLA group: 

    "While Jordan and the guard/forward UNC alums would put up a great fight, UCLA's inside-outside game would prevail. Abdul-Jabbar, Love and Walton would dominate the low block on D and on boards. Westbrook's quick slashing and Miller's range would balance out a very formidable squad." - Sloan Piva

    "UCLA would win on a buzzer-beater, and Kareem's dominance in the post leads the way. Jordan would dominate, but he is mortal. Westbrook and Miller would slow him down enough for UCLA to pull through." - Scott Burns

    "This game goes down as one of the best in history, with Abdul-Jabbar dominating in the paint and leading UCLA to victory. The Bruins have trouble containing MJ, but Love and Walton dominate the boards and Westbrook creates all kinds of problems for Lawson. UCLA is just too deep and wins a close battle, 78-75." - Howard Ruben

    Regardless of who earns your personal vote—and please don't hesitate to let us know in the comment section—it's hard to disagree with Mr. Ruben.

    This game would indeed be one of the best of all time. I'd certainly empty my bank account for some tickets. 

     

    No. 1 UCLA Bruins (52.9 percent) defeat No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (47.1 percent)

     

    MVP Results

    No. 1: Michael Jordan (16 votes)

    No. 2: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15 votes)

    No. 3: Reggie Miller (Two votes)

    No. 4: Russell Westbrook (One vote)

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