March is finally here, and the upset talk is heating up. Who's this year's Cinderella? Who will make the unexpected run?
Admittedly, I really don't know who will be this year's sweetheart. No one really knows.
But here is a look at a tournament chock-full of realistic Cinderellas—and no, AR-Pine Bluff over Duke is not a likely upset in my books.
Midwest Region Opening Round
Kansas has no shot at losing to lowly Lehigh, as much as every college basketball fan (outside the state of Kansas) would want that to happen. They move on and take on a tough UNLV team who will have come off a win over Northern Iowa.
Michigan State will take care of business over New Mexico State and will square off against a pumped up Houston Cougar team fresh off an upset over a shocked group of Maryland Terps.
In the lower half of the region, Tennessee will go down against the MWC tourney champs San Diego State. They'll meet a Georgetown team that has been playing some great ball as of late.
Georgia Tech will use their Gani Lawal-Derrick Favors inside duo to overpower Oklahoma State and face the Evan Turners, also known as the Ohio State Buckeyes, after they take care of UCSB.
Midwest Region Road to the Final Four
Kansas squeaks by the Runnin' Rebels, while Houston puts up a huge scoring total in their victory over another shocked opponent in Michigan State. Houston's magic ends against Kansas. Sorry folks, this one is just too unlikely.
Georgetown gets handed their plane tickets home by the Aztecs of San Diego State. Georgia Tech uses their size again to take down the Buckeyes. The Yellow Jackets end San Diego State's run and head to the Elite Eight against Kansas. G-Tech then takes down the Jayhawks in a classic David-Goliath matchup.
West Region Opening Round
Syracuse is tested by Vermont, who deserved a seed in the 14 range, but come out with the win. Florida State beats a deflated Gonzaga team behind the hugeness (if that's even a word) of Solomon Alabi. UTEP's size leads them past the thin Butler frontcourt and into a bout with now 31-4 Murray State.
Xavier beats Minnesota, an undeserving tournament team. They face Pitt, who takes care of Oakland. Florida beats upstart BYU and takes on K-State, who beat North Texas.
West Region Road to the Final Four
Alabi has his way with the Orange due to the absence of big man Arinze Onuaku. UTEP beats Murray State to advance. Xavier beats Pitt behind big man Jason Love and Jordan Crawford. U of F beats a sleeping Wildcat squad.
Alabi finally faces a team with the size to halt the Seminoles' tourney hopes as UTEP advances to face Florida, who gets big numbers from their backcourt in Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. UTEP prevails behind a huge scoring output by Randy Culpepper.
East Region Opening Round
Kentucky dispatches ETSU easily. Wake advances past an underachieving Texas squad. Cornell upsets Temple, taking out their anger due to a lousy seeding on the Owls. The Terriers of Wofford take down Wisconsin in a stunner.
Washington beats an undersized Marquette team after the Huskies' Pac-10 championship run and advances to play New Mexico, who coasts by Montana. Mizzou earns the right to face West Virginia, who has come off a beating of Morgan State, after they beat Clemson.
East Region Road to the Final Four
Wake upsets Kentucky with Al-Farouq Aminu's athleticism and Ishmael Smith's speed. Cornell beats upstart Wofford to advance. Washington uses its star power in Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter to escape the Lobos' push for the Sweet 16. West Virginia takes down an overmatched Mizzou group.
Cornell defeats Wake behind Ryan Wittman's sharpshooting, while West Virginia takes down a Washington team that will have run out of gas. Cornell punches their tickets to Indy after defeating West Virginia.
South Region Opening Round
Duke beats the team with the best name in the tourney, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Seriously, that's a sweet name). Louisville shows Cal why they should not have made the NCAAs. Texas A&M beats Utah State in a close one. Siena works its upset magic once again and takes down an undermanned Purdue squad.
Fresh off a conference title, Old Dominion takes down upstart Notre Dame in a thriller. Baylor takes down Sam Houston State without a problem. Richmond represents the A-10 and defeats St. Mary's in a nail-biter. Villanova owns Robert Morris to advance.
South Region Road to the Final Four
Louisville takes down a top team in Duke after beating Syracuse twice in the regular season. They square off against tournament sweetheart Siena, who takes down Texas A&M. Baylor downs Old Dominion to face an upstart Richmond squad fresh off an upset over Villanova.
Louisville ends Siena's run and advances to square off against Richmond after another major upset, this time over Baylor. The Cardinals top the Spiders to advance to the Final Four despite a great effort by Richmond.
The Final Four
UTEP continues the magic and takes down Georgia Tech behind another star performance by Randy Culpepper. Ryan Wittman shoots and scores as the Big Red advances past Louisville.
All right, it's UTEP-Cornell in the national championship game. Cornell hits a boatload of threes and defeats the Miners in a close one to seize the national championship victory. Wittman takes Tournament MVP honors.
Listen, I'm not crazy. I know this will in all likelihood not happen. But I just wanted to visualize the most awesome tournament ever within a tiny bit of reason. This is just that: the most amazing tournament ever with decently likely upsets. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.
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