NCAA Tournament 2012 Bracket: Picks and Projections for Every Game

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Michael Snaer #21 and the Florida State Seminoles celebrate after their 85-82 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the Madness of March fully enveloping our college basketball loving souls, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the 2012 NCAA tournament bracket.

Every year, your flawless bracket is busted by Cinderellas and schools that just don’t know how to lose. Like a fool, you come back every time.

The following is the ultimate cheat sheet to ace your office pool and win big. All winners are in bold.

Printable Bracket here.

Play-In Round

Tuesday, March 13

(16) Western Kentucky vs. (16) Mississippi Valley State, 6:40 p.m. ET

(14) Iona vs. (14) Brigham Young, 9:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday, March 14

(16) Vermont vs. (16) Lamar, 6:40 p.m. ET

 (12) South Florida vs. (12) California, 9:10 p.m. ET

Play-In Round Teams to Watch:

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: head coach Stan Heath of the South Florida Bulls coaches Ron Anderson Jr. #1 of the South Florida Bulls and Jawanza Poland #5 of the South Florida Bulls against the Villanova Wildcats during their second round game of the 2012 Big
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

While this group of games will consist of the usual mediocre basketball, there are two teams in this group that could cause serious damage in the NCAA tournament: South Florida and Iona.

It’s obvious that a team like South Florida that comes from the tough Big East Conference can and will be a contender, but Iona can be even more dangerous.

Iona averaged more points per game this season (83.3 ppg) than any other team in the nation and will look to carry to scoring prowess into the field of 64.

Second Round

Thursday, March 15

(11) Colorado State vs. (6) Murray State, 12:15 p.m. ET

(9) Southern Miss vs. (8) Kansas State, 12:40 p.m. ET

(13) Davidson vs. (4) Louisville, 1:40 p.m. ET

(13) Montana vs. (4) Wisconsin, 2:10 p.m. ET

TBA at (3) Marquette, 2:45 p.m. ET

(16) UNC-Asheville vs. (1) Syracuse, 3:10 p.m. ET

(12) Long Beach State vs. (5) New Mexico, 4:10 p.m. ET

(12) Harvard vs. (5) Vanderbilt, 4:40 p.m. ET

TBA at (1) Kentucky, 6:50 p.m. ET

(12) Virginia Commonwealth vs. (5) Wichita State, 7:15 p.m. ET

(10) West Virginia vs. (7) Gonzaga, 7:20 p.m. ET

(14) South Dakota State vs. (3) Baylor, 7:27 p.m. ET

(9) Connecticut vs. (8) Iowa State, 9:20 p.m. ET

(13) New Mexico State vs. (4) Indiana, 9:45 p.m. ET

(15) Loyola (MD) vs. (2) Ohio State, 9:50 p.m. ET

(11) Colorado vs. (6) UNLV, 9:57 p.m. ET

Thursday’s Biggest Winners and Losers

MOREHEAD, KY - JANUARY 18:  Steve Prohm the head coach of the Murray State Racers gives instructions to Donte Poole #11 during the OVC game against the Morehead State Eagles at Johnson Arena on January 18, 2012 in Morehead, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While many of the teams favored in the bracket will go over on the opening day of the field of 64, there will be plenty of surprises.

Teams like Murray State, Harvard and Colorado will upset their matchup and continue on with what could be a dream run. While the schedule looks rather cut and dry, years of wrong picks slows that notion.

The big losers of Thursday will be Vanderbilt and VCU because of the hype they entered the NCAA tournament with and how they will be bounced in the round of 64. While many may fall into the VCU trap again on their brackets, avoid them here at all costs.

Friday, March 16

(11) Texas vs. (6) Cincinnati, 12:15 p.m. ET

(11) North Carolina State vs. (6) San Diego State, 12:40 p.m. ET

(9) Alabama vs. (8) Creighton, 1:40 p.m. ET

(10) Virginia vs. (7) Florida, 2:10 p.m. ET

(14) St. Bonaventure vs. (3) Florida State, 2:45 p.m. ET

(14) Belmont vs. (3) Georgetown, 3:10 p.m. ET

TBA at (1) North Carolina, 4:10 p.m. ET

(15) Norfolk State vs. (2) Missouri, 4:40 p.m. ET

(9) Saint Louis vs. (8) Memphis, 6:50 p.m. ET

(15) Lehigh vs. (2) Duke, 7:15 p.m. ET

(13) Ohio vs. (4) Michigan, 7:20 p.m. ET

(10) Purdue vs. (7) Saint Mary's, 7:27 p.m. ET

(16) LIU Brooklyn vs. (1) Michigan State, 9:20 p.m. ET

(10) Xavier vs. (7) Notre Dame, 9:40 p.m. ET

TBA at (5) Temple, 9:50 p.m. ET

(15) Detroit vs. (2) Kansas, 9:57 p.m. ET

Friday’s Biggest Winners and Losers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 09: (L-R) Ryne Smith #24, Travis Carroll #50 and Robbie Hummel #24 of the Purdue Boilermakers watch the final minutes from the bench of a loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Big Ten Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals at Ba
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As wild as Thursday could potentially be, there will be no better day on the 2012 calendar as Friday, March 16. With many of the top seeds in battle and some of the biggest underdogs in toe, Friday could be legendary.

With huge college basketball powerhouses like Georgetown and Notre Dame projected to lose in their first games, there is no telling how many high-ranked teams could get bounced in the round of 64 on Friday.

The biggest winners of Friday will be Purdue and Belmont, who will shock the college basketball world and move onto the next round. Both teams have great stories, but they will only get sweeter as they progress farther in the tourney.

Remaining Schedule:

Saturday, March 17

12-10 p.m.: Third Round Quadruple-Header (CBS)

7-12 p.m.: Third Round  (TBS)

6-10:30 p.m.: Third Round (TNT)

Sunday, March 18

12-7:30 p.m.: Third Round Triple-Header (CBS)

7-12 p.m.: Third Round  (TBS)

6-10:30 p.m.: Third Round (TNT)

7:30 p.m.: Third Round (truTV)

Thursday, March 22

7-12 p.m.: Regional Semifinals (CBS)

7:15-12:30 p.m.: Regional Semifinals (TBS)

(Also 6-11 p.m.: Division II Championship - CBS Sports Network)

Friday, March 23

7-12 p.m.: Regional Semifinals (CBS)

7:15-12:30 p.m.: Regional Semifinals (TBS)

Saturday, March 24

3-4:30 p.m.: The Road to the Final Four

4:30-9 p.m.: Elite Eight (CBS)

(Also 1-3 p.m.: Division II Championship, CBS)

Sunday, March 25

2-7 p.m.: Elite Eight (CBS)

Saturday, March 31

Noon: College All-Star Game (truTV)

3:30 p.m.: The Road to the Final Four: Outside the Games

4-6 p.m.: The Final Four Show

6-11 p.m.: Men's Final Four (CBS)

Monday, April 1

9 p.m.: Prelude to a Championship

9:30-11:30 p.m.: NCAA Men's Championship (CBS)

Final Four Prediction

Florida State vs. North Carolina State

Kentucky vs. Missouri

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after making a three-pointer against the Florida State Seminoles in the second half during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

While Kentucky over Missouri looks like the safe pick, they both will have to fight like dogs to get to this point. As far as the other game goes, both are considered underdogs and will show the world why they were not taken seriously enough.

NCAA Championship 2012 Prediction: Florida State Seminoles

Led by the amazing offensive talents of guard Michael Snaer, the Florida State Seminoles will ride the momentum they have created in their run to an ACC Conference Tournament title to win the whole NCAA tourney. It may sound like a long shot, but don’t forget who told you so.

Check back for more on the NCAA Basketball as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.


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