Many brackets will have Final Fours that include a combination of the following teams: Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida, Syracuse, Purdue and Connecticut.
Yeah, those are all good teams, but where's the fun in picking the favorites? Why not take a chance for once and go with a team no one else is giving any credit to make a serious run?
I'm sure the people who picked Butler to make it to the Final Four last year looked like geniuses. Granted, 95 percent of them were either Butler graduates or were friends with one of the players, but that's beside the point.
The point is, it's fun rooting for the underdog. They're not expected to win, which means low expectations, but a huge reward if they pull off the upset for those who actually predicted it.
Well, my friends, here are 10 teams that could make you look like a genius in April if you have the guts to take a chance on any one of these teams. I am, and it's the last one on the list.
As a friend of mine said to me yesterday, "I never count out the Fighting Izzo's." Even though they've been arguably the most disappointing team in the country this season, Tom Izzo knows how to win in March like Charlie Sheen knows how to act insane.
The Spartans have made the Final Four six of the past 12 seasons, including the last two, which is by far the most of any school during that time.
Kalin Lucas is still on the team, along with Delvon Roe and Durrell Summers, each of whom played key roles in the Spartans' Final Four appearances the last two seasons. It's not like they don't have enough talent to win, and with one of the best coaches in the country, that can sometimes be enough to make a deep run.
I know about the 5-10 finish to end the season. I know these guys have seriously underachieved much like the aforementioned Spartans. Still, the Wildcats have the talent to get to the Final Four.
The backcourt trio of Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Maalik Wayns is one of the best in the country, and when Mouphtau Yarou plays well inside, this is a tough team to beat.
The frontcourt, specifically Yarou and Isaiah Armwood, has always been the key for a Jay Wright team. When there's an offensive force in the paint, the Wildcats are able to make a deep run much like they did back in 2009 when they had Dante Cunningham.
If the Wildcats are able to get quality production up front, they could turn the season from disappointing to Cinderella-like.
We all either watched the game, or saw the highlights of Washington's miraculous overtime win over Arizona for the Pac-10 championship. I don't like to key in on one game to transform a team, but if there was ever one, I would choose Washington's.
Isaiah Thomas is one of the best guards in the country and has shown he can carry a team for stretches. The Huskies also have some solid size up front in Justin Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning, which makes them multi-dimensional.
Coming out of the west side of the country, fans aren't as exposed to these players as they are a Connecticut or North Carolina, but the Tar Heels may meet their tournament demise in the second round thanks to this rabid bunch of dogs.
O, and if we could just have Gus Johnson commentate every game, that would be great. Just clone him or something. Thanks.
Another West Coast team that isn't getting enough publicity. The Bruins are officially back from the dead that has been the last couple seasons.
Led by Reeves Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA has a formidable duo up front and solid guard play with Malcolm Lee.
In the NCAA's, most Final Four teams are multi-dimensional offensively and have the versatility to match up with almost anyone.
Those would count as two check marks for the Bruins.
The crazy thing is that UCLA meets fellow slideshow member Michigan State in the first round. Whoever wins that game could make some serious noise in the coming weeks.
The Red Storm lost one of their best players in D.J. Kennedy to a torn ACL that occurred in the Big East tournament last week.
That injury hurts, but it isn't fatal. The Storm still have All-Big East player Dwight Hardy and a slew of athletic players that will be a matchup nightmare for many teams.
They're also one of the few teams in the country that defeated multiple No. 1 seeds (Pittsburgh and Duke).
While their away-from-home record isn't all that promising, the experience of St. John's and the confidence coach Steve Lavin has instilled in this ball club will make them a tough out.
Word on the street is Chris Wright is going to be back close to 100 percent by the time the Hoyas play their first game.
Georgetown was 21-6 before Wright went down and were probably on their way to a top three or four seed.
With Wright in the lineup, the Hoyas beat nine NCAA tournament teams, going 10-5 in the Big East. It's no secret that when these guys are all healthy, they're one of the better teams in the country.
Add on to the fact that they got upset by Ohio in the first round (further ruining my bracket), and Wright and co. will be determined not to underestimate opponents and make their stay at the NCAA hotel more than just a day or two.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the best NBA big-man prospect in the country, Derrick Williams. When a team has an elite-level talent like Mr. Williams at its disposal, it can hang with almost anybody.
Williams is incredibly consistent and no team except for Texas has the bigs to match up with him in their region. If they're able to get by the Longhorns, or they're upset by Oakland in the first round (more likely than people might think), Williams will be able to dominate every other team, including Duke.
When a team has such a big advantage in the paint, it forces the opponent to make the choice of either stopping the points in the paint, leaving Arizona's shooters with good looks, or stopping everything but the paint, which would allow Williams to put up 30 points and 15 rebounds with ease.
Pick your poison.
If a team is not accustomed to playing a certain way, it makes them uncomfortable, and vulnerable.
Well, the Cardinals run and press...a lot. They're one of the best-conditioned teams in the country and are incredibly athletic.
Unless a team has come across an up-tempo team of the Cardinals' caliber (not likely), they will have to make major adjustments to their game plan should they run into Rick Pitino and his players.
Louisville's also one of the teams able to force opponents to play at their pace, so whether a team wants to or not, the winning score will probably be in the high 70's when the opponent may want it in the 50's...or 30's like Wisconsin and Penn State.
My, some transition, right? Speaking of the Badgers, while their style of play puts even the most old school basketball fan to sleep, these guys are certainly capable of making a run.
Shockingly, this Badgers team is one of the better offensive squads Bo Ryan has had in some time. They have an excellent inside-out duo in Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor, both of which are capable of dropping 20 points routinely along with 10 rebounds (Leuer) or eight assists (Taylor).
While they aren't the most athletic bunch in the world, they can still play at a faster pace if necessary. They average around 70 points per game, which isn't horrendous.
In a region as seemingly wide open as the Southeast, a Wisconsin run to the Final Four is possible if they catch a couple breaks.
Find me an expert picking San Diego State in the Final Four and I won't call them a dark horse. It's been quite some time since I've seen a No. 2 seed get as little respect as the Aztecs.
Yes, they played in a weaker conference and were only able to beat BYU when Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team.
Consider this, though, they still beat five NCAA tournament teams during the season. They have a coach in Steve Fisher who has plenty of experience in the Final Four (the ESPN documentary on the Fab Five is a must watch for any basketball fan, by the way).
In terms of talent, the Aztecs have a future NBA lottery pick in Kawhi Leonard and three guys who may make a roster in seniors D.J. Gay, Billy White and Malcolm Thomas. For a non-major school, that's pretty impressive.
Then there's their predicted road to the Final Four. Their first weekend is definitely winnable with games against Northern Colorado and either Temple or Penn State (neither team scares me). Then, the regional will be in their backyard of Anaheim, where their fans will dominate the arena.
For a motivational tool, the Aztec players simply need to turn on ESPN and watch how almost no "experts" believe they can make it to the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four.
In a year when no great team has emerged, it could enable another non-major school to spoil everyone's bracket by going further than anyone thought. Well, almost anyone.