Dick Vitale Bracket: ESPN Analyst Reveals His 2014 March Madness Bracket Picks

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2014

Jan 22, 2014; Coral Gables, FL, USA;  College basketball announcer Dick Vitale before a game between the Duke Blue Devils and Miami Hurricanes at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball guru and ESPN analyst Dick Vitale practically lives and breathes college hoops, so it's only fitting that amateur bracketologists across the nation look to him for advice for March Madness. 

Following a wild Selection Sunday filled with surprises and snubs, the field of 68 teams is set, and "Dickie V" isn't wasting any more time, already setting his tournament picks in stone for all of America to see via DickVitaleOnline.com.     

Here we'll break down Dickie V's 2014 NCAA tournament bracket ahead of Tuesday's first-round action. 

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Credit: Bleacher Report

East Region

Dick Vitale's East Region Picks
Round of 64Prediction
Fri, March 21(1) Virginia Over (16) Coastal Carolina
Fri, March 21(8) Memphis Over (9) George Washington
Thu, March 20(5) Cincinnati Over (12) Harvard
Thu, March 20(4) Michigan State Over (13) Delaware
Fri, March 21(6) North Carolina Over (11) Providence
Fri, March 21(3) Iowa State Over (14) NC Central
Thu, March 20(7) Connecticut Over (10) St. Joseph's
Thu, March 20(2) Villanova Over (15) Milwaukee
Round of 32Prediction
Sun, March 23(1) Virginia Over (8) Memphis
Sat, March 22(4) Michigan State Over (5) Cincinnati
Sun, March 23(3) Iowa State Over (6) North Carolina
Sat, March 22(2) Villanova Over (7) Connecticut
Sweet 16Prediction
Fri, March 28(4) Michigan State Over (1) Virginia
Fri, March 28(3) Iowa State Over (2) Villanova
Elite EightPrediction
Sun, March 30(4) Michigan State Over (3) Iowa State

Like many experts and analysts, Vitale is high on No. 4 Michigan State coming into the tournament, and why not? 

As WLNS-TV sports anchor Kevin Gehl points out, the Spartans are a popular pick this March:

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The Big Ten tournament champions have won three straight and play well enough on both sides of the court to go far. Like many of his colleagues, Vitale has the Spartans coming out of this region, beating No. 13 Delaware, No. 5 Cincinnati, No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 Iowa State on their way to the Final Four. 

As far as upsets are concerned, Vitale doesn't project any in the East, picking all chalk through the round of 32. In the Sweet 16, he goes No. 4 over No. 1 with Michigan State beating Virginia and No. 3 over No. 2 with the Cyclones defeating Villanova. 

Despite a deep run to the Elite Eight, Vitale doesn't believe in Iowa State enough to predict a win over Michigan State. 

Midwest Region

Dick Vitale's Midwest Region Picks
Round of 64Prediction
Fri, March 21(1) Wichita State Over (16) Cal Poly/Texas Southern
Fri, March 21(8) Kentucky Over (9) Kansas State
Thu, March 20(12) NC State Over (5) Saint Louis
Thu, March 20(4) Louisville Over (13) Manhattan
Fri, March 21(6) Massachusetts Over (11) Iowa
Fri, March 21(3) Duke Over (14) Mercer
Thu, March 20(10) Arizona State Over (7) Texas
Thu, March 20(2) Michigan Over (15) Wofford
Round of 32Prediction
Sun, March 23(8) Kentucky Over (1) Wichita State
Sat, March 22(4) Louisville Over (12) NC State
Sun, March 23(3) Duke Over (6) Massachusetts
Sat, March 22(2) Michigan Over (10) Arizona State
Sweet 16Prediction
Fri, March 28(4) Louisville Over (8) Kentucky
Fri, March 28(2) Michigan Over (3) Duke
Elite EightPrediction
Sun, March 30(4) Louisville Over (2) Michigan

Vitale's big upset in the Midwest Region is No. 12 NC State over No. 5 Saint Louis. It's a bold pick, but not overly surprising considering the Wolfpack's ACC tournament run and doubts many have about the Billikens following their 1-4 finish down the stretch.

Outside of that pick and No. 10 Arizona State over No. 7 Texas, he likes chalk to hold up in the round of 64. But the round of 32 is where things get interesting. There, Vitale likes No. 8 Kentucky to topple No. 1 Wichita State, ending the Shockers' perfect season and busting brackets across the country.

In addition to the Wildcats, he projects No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Louisville to reach the Sweet 16. 

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 08:  Stephan Van Treese #44 , Tim Henderson #15, Russ Smith #2, Rick Pitino and Luke Hancock #11 of the Louisville Cardinals after the game against the Connecticut Huskies at KFC YUM! Center on March 8, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the Midwest regional semifinals, Dickie V likes Rick Pitino's Cardinals to avenge their earlier loss to in-state rival Kentucky and the second-seeded Wolverines to avenge their December loss at Duke. 

In a regional-final clash between Louisville and Michigan, Vitale likes the experienced Cardinals, led by senior point guard Russ Smith to edge the Wolverines, securing the Midwest Regional crown for the second straight year.

South Region

Dick Vitale's South Region Picks
Round of 64Prediction
Thu, March 20(1) Florida Over (16) Albany/Mt. St. Mary's
Thu, March 20(8) Pittsburgh Over (9) Colorado
Fri, March 21(5) VCU Over (12) Stephen F. Austin
Fri, March 21(4) UCLA Over (13) Tulsa
Thu, March 20(6) Ohio State Over (11) Dayton
Thu, March 20(3) Syracuse Over (14) Western Michigan
Fri, March 21(7) New Mexico Over (10) Stanford
Fri, March 21(2) Kansas Over (15) Eastern Kentucky
Round of 32Prediction
Sat, March 22(1) Florida Over (8) Pittsburgh
Sun, March 23(4) UCLA Over (5) VCU
Sat, March 22(3) Syracuse Over (6) Ohio State
Sun, March 23(7) New Mexico Over (2) Kansas
Sweet 16Prediction
Thu, March 27(1) Florida Over (4) UCLA
Thu, March 27(3) Syracuse Over (7) New Mexico
Elite EightPrediction
Sat, March 29(1) Florida Over (3) Syracuse

While many are high on No. 2 Kansas in the South Region, assuming big man Joel Embiid can return from a back injury after the Jayhawks' first two games, Vitale likes No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Syracuse to reach the regional final.

What's more, his big upset in this region is No. 7 New Mexico over Kansas in the round of 32. Vitale explains his reasoning for the bold pick, per DickVitaleOnline.com: "Jayhawks won by 17 in regular season, turns with Embiid out this time."

It's hard to argue with the Gators pick considering Florida has won 26 straight games coming into the Big Dance and boasts an experienced core led by four seniors. Not to mention Billy Donovan's squad has reached three consecutive Elite Eights since 2011. 

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 16:  Scottie Wilbekin #5 and Casey Prather #24 of the Florida Gators celebrate their 61 to 60 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the Championship game of the 2014 Men's SEC Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 16, 2014 in Atla
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

But it is surprising that he likes the Orange to potentially get past No. 6 Ohio State and No. 2 Kansas considering they've lost five of their last seven games.

Regardless, Vitale likes overall top seed Florida to prevail in this region, which is hands-down the safest bet.

West Region

Dick Vitale's West Region Picks
Round of 64Prediction
Fri, March 21(1) Arizona Over (16) Weber State
Fri, March 21(9) Oklahoma State Over (8) Gonzaga
Thu, March 20(5) Oklahoma Over (12) North Dakota State
Thu, March 20(4) San Diego State Over (13) New Mexico State
Fri, March 21(6) Baylor Over (11) Nebraska
Fri, March 21(3) Creighton Over (14) Louisiana-Lafayette
Thu, March 20(7) Oregon Over (10) BYU
Thu, March 20(2) Wisconsin Over (15) American
Round of 32Prediction
Sun, March 23(1) Arizona Over (9) Oklahoma State
Sat, March 22(4) San Diego State Over (5) Oklahoma
Sun, March 23(3) Creighton Over (6) Baylor
Sat, March 22(2) Wisconsin Over (7) Oregon
Sweet 16Prediction
Thu, March 27(1) Arizona Over (4) San Diego State
Thu, March 27(2) Wisconsin Over (3) Creighton
Elite EightPrediction
Sat, March 29(1) Arizona Over (2) Wisconsin

Vitale doesn't forecast any upsets in the West Region, with his boldest pick projecting No. 9 Oklahoma State to beat No. 8 Gonzaga in the round of 64, per DickVitaleOnline.com: "Marcus Smart and company are a dangerous lower seed."

In the round of 32, he's sticking with the chalk as well, picking No. 1 Arizona to take down the Cowboys, No. 2 Wisconsin over No. 7 Oregon, No. 3 Creighton over No. 6 Baylor and No. 4 San Diego State over No. 5 Oklahoma. 

He has no surprises in the regional semifinals either as Vitale likes the Wildcats over the Aztecs and the Badgers over the Bluejays.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 15:  Nick Johnson #13, Aaron Gordon #11 and Gabe York #1 of the Arizona Wildcats walk on the court during the championship game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the UCLA Bruins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 15, 20
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Dickie V concludes a rather boring projection with the top-seeded Wildcats surviving Wisconsin in the West's regional final.

Final Four 

Dick Vitale's Final Four Picks
Final FourPrediction
Sat, April 5(4) Michigan State Over (1) Florida
Sat, April 5(4) Louisville Over (1) Arizona
National ChampionshipPrediction
Mon, April 7(4) Michigan State Over (4) Louisville

Despite picking No. 1 seeds Florida and Arizona to reach the Final Four in North Texas, Vitale has both juggernauts going down to No. 4 seeds in Michigan State and Louisville, respectively.

The defending champion Cardinals, whom Vitale describes as "a little deeper" than Arizona, are surely capable of upending an inexperienced Wildcats squad, but it's tough to see the Spartans knocking off a Gators team that has lost just two games all season long. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 16:  Gary Harris #14 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates during the 69-55 win over the Michigan Wolverines  during the finals of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 16, 2014 in Indianapolis,
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nonetheless, there's a strong case to be made for each of his Final Four picks in a parity-filled season.

National Championship

Unsurprisingly, Vitale likes the Spartans to complete their memorable tourney run in style this spring, by defeating the defending champions inside AT&T Stadium in North Texas on April 7.

A national championship victory would mark Izzo and the Spartans' first title since 2000 and third since 1979. Michigan State came close to winning it all back in 2009, falling short in a title-game loss to North Carolina, but will have an excellent shot to finish the job in 2014 following a favorable tournament draw.

With seniors Keith Appling and Adreian Payne and future NBA talent Gary Harris leading the way, Michigan State is primed for a deep run. But will it end with a title? 

At least Dickie V thinks so. 

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