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2018 NCAA Tournament: The VU Hoops Staff picks

Go ahead... make fun of us.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Pittsburgh Practice Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The moment you probably didn’t even realize you were waiting for... the VU Hoops Staff picks!

Chris and Catherine weren’t able to enter their picks, most everyone else did. Does your bracket look like any of ours’?

East Region

Writer East Final Villanova's Path or any upset commentary
Writer East Final Villanova's Path or any upset commentary
Mike J. Villanova over Texas Tech I'm calling a Butler upset of Purdue.
Brendan Villanova over Purdue Villanova rolls through the first weekend, pulls away late against West Virginia, and wins a close one against Purdue. Upset Special: Butler over Arkansas in the first round.
Billy Witchita St. over Purdue In 2015, I picked Villanova to get to the Final 4. Same last year. In 2016, I picked them to lose early. I'll go with the reverse jinx. I don't think anybody else is particualry good in this region, so I'll go with Witchita State.
Jack Villanova over Purdue Murray State to the Sweet 16, and we beat Purdue because they somehow get outrebounded by teams like Rutgers.
Ryan Villanova over Purdue Don't be surprised if Texas Tech gets bounced by either Florida or the Bonnies, either of those two teams could give Tech a run for their money. If both teams win their first round games, WVU vs. Wichita St. will be a great game.
David Cassilo Villanova over Florida I'll take Villanova's route over the other No. 1 seeds, but this won't be a walk in the park. Alabama brings Sexton and defense. Wichita St. would bring experience on par with the Wildcats. Purdue (if they get there) brigs significant size. Still, Villanova is better than all of them and should return to the Final 4.
Brian Villanova over Purdue Villanova gets past Virginia Tech because the 'Cats style of play won't falter against VT, and faces Wichita State in a game where a ton of people (you know they will) are going to pick Wichita for some reason. Close out the region with a Villanova/Purdue game that SHOULD have happened in the Bahamas. The Wildcats were the best team at Atlantis in November, and they should be able to pull out of this one as well.
Jake Villanova over Purdue VIllanova is put to the test in the East against Virginia Tech and an experienced Wichita St. Team. Meanwhile, Purdue waltzes to the 8 after TTU and Florida are upset early. Getting tested early pays off, as Nova dominates Purdue to reach the Final 4. Stone Cold stunner as Stephen F. Austin upsets Florida.
Eugene Villanova over Purdue Nova definitely has a nice path to San Antonio compared to the other No. 1 seeds out there. No real major upsets here, unless if you count No. 10 Butler beating No.7 Arkansas. Not too scared of the Round of 32 matchup between Virginia Tech or Alabama. The Wildcats looked fabulous in the Big East Tournament coming in, and they're looking primed for a deep run. Purdue might have some great size and length, but it's nothing Villanova can't handle.

South Region

Writer South Final South Commentary
Writer South Final South Commentary
Mike J. Arizona over Miami I am completely ready for anybody to win this bracket. I originally had Virginia in the Final, but when the news of Deandre Hunter's injury was broken in the VU Hoops comments announced, I dropped the Cavs down a few notches.
Brendan Arizona over Cincinnati I had Virginia making the Championship until they lost Hunter. Without him, I think their run ends in the second weekend and opens the door for Arizona. They're playing like a team possessed right now. Upset Special: Another Big East upset as Creighton makes the Sweet 16 on the strength of 50+ points from Marcus Foster in his first two games.
Billy Kentucky over Cincinnati I had Virginia winning the whole thing before the Hunter injury, but I think that's a huge loss. Kentucky is starting to put it together and that 2nd game against Arizona could really go either way, but I love Shai Gilgeous Alexander and I think he leads them to San Antonio.
Jack Cincinnati over UVA This could all easily be spoiled by the $100,000 dollar man DeAndre Ayton, but this Cincy team looks terrifying to play against. I have Cincy winning it all
Ryan UVA over Cincinnati Loyola Chicago makes the sweet 16 in their first tourney appearance ever. Even with the injury to Hunter I think UVA is dangerous enough to come out of the region. Arizona doesn't make it out of the first weekend.
David Cassilo Arizona over Cincy This is the hardest region to predict, and I'll go Arizona because they have the best player and favorable matchups. Still, Kentucky is the wild card -- could lose to Davidson, could win the region. Nevada is also capable of a surprise run here. The injury bug is likely enough to keep Virginia from San Antonio.
Brian Arizona over Cincy Every bone in my body wants me to have Arizona exiting this one earlier than the Final Four, but despite everything that has happened this season on and off the court, this is a talented team and the Wildcats of the West are due for a run.
Jake UVA over Cincinnati The region goes as chalk as you can get with strong teams seeded 1-6. Despite the loss of Hunter, UVA is as good as it gets this year. Cincinnati gives UVA a fight but they've not had to face a team this good all season. Miami pulls a fast one on UT in R2.
Eugene Arizona over Miami The door is wide open in the South. Although I didn't think Virignia was going to win by a landslide (with DeAndre Hunter healthy), the Hunter news certainly dampered the Wahoos a little bit, at least in my eyes. Also not buying into the Virginia wannabe from Ohio. Sorry, not sorry, Bearcats. Gimme D-Money Ayton and Arizona.

Midwest Picks

Writer Midwest Final Midwest Commentary
Writer Midwest Final Midwest Commentary
Mike J. Duke over Kansas I think this Duke team is about ready to start clicking.
Brendan Duke over Kansas The Blue Devils are one of only two teams in the country that are Top 10 in both Adj. offense and defense on Oddly enough, the other team is their likely Sweet 16 opponent in Michigan State. I still like Duke to come out of this region and be a really hard out when they face Nova in the Final Four. Upset Special: New Mexico State also makes the second weekend as a 12 seed after beating Clemson and Auburn.
Billy Duke over Kansas I think the winner of Duke/MSU in the Sweet 16 gets to the Final 4 and I think Duke wins. New Mexico St. over injury riddled Clemson and Auburn.
Jack Michigan State over Kansas Tom Izzo. March. Middle Tennessee is nowhere to be found. Duke can't play man defense. New Mexico State honestly might make the Elite 8. Give me Sparty or give me death.
Ryan Duke over Kansas I still do not understand the hype with Michigan State. Baylor, Butler, KSU, Seton Hall, Syracuse, etc. had more quadrant one wins this season. The Blue Devils are getting hot at the right time and will have a fairly time against Kansas's 'eh' defense.
David Cassilo Duke over Kansas Duke is somehow flying a bit under the radar due to the Michigan State hype. But this is as talented a team as you'll find in the country. On the top half, Kansas gets a nice draw that should have them coast to the Elite 8, but I don't think they match up well with either Duke or MSU.
Brian Duke over Kansas Duke is a flawed team (who isn't this year), but they're better than I want to give them credit for. Kansas should be able to progress through their half of the region; maybe Seton Hall or Clemson can give them a scare, but they'll square off against the Blue Devils who will be battle hardened a bit after dealing with a possible challenge from Michigan State.
Jake MIchigan State over Auburn Talking heads have all but declared Trae Young dead and gone, so naturally OU goes on a run, taking down URI and Duke before falling to Tom "This is March" Izzo. KU is weaker than it's been in the past, but some upsets push them into the Elite 8. NMSU has a guy who drops 20 per night and they're a #12 seed. Sign me up.
Eugene Duke over Auburn This is just where all the villains win. If Udoka Azibuke is not healthy or 100%, I can see Seton Hall pulling off an upset of Kansas behind the play of Angel Delgado and the rest of the 'Core Four.' Second, the committee gets what it wants by seeing Trae "Ignore my turnover stats" Young go up against Duke. Third, the Blue Devils take down the Auburn Tigers to go to the Final Four. However, there is one redeeming factor--count me in for New Mexico State beating Clemson in that 5/12 matchup.

West Picks

Writer West Final West Commentary
Writer West Final West Commentary
Mike J. Gonzaga over UNC I think the Zags are underseeded and knock off the Musketeers
Brendan Michigan over Xavier Mr. Beilein has his Wolverines finally playing defense to match their offense. This may be Chris Mack's best team yet, but it still won't get him over the Final Four hump. Upset Special: Providence makes the second weekend after upseting Texas A&M and UNC.
Billy Xaiver over Michigan Michigan is getting hot at the right time and Gonzaga is under seeded but Chris Mack has had some good tourney runs so I'll put them through (even with that defense). Also, South Dakota St. over Ohio St.
Jack Gonzaga over Houston The Zags and Xavier are pretty equal, and the winner of that game comes out of the region.
Ryan Gonzaga over UNC As much as we all hate the Tar Heels, their 14 quadrant one wins are for real, but Gonzaga finally gets the better of them this year. Xavier suffers an early exit at the hands of Florida St.
David Cassilo Michigan over Gonzaga This is your prototypical John Beilein offense, except this time it comes with an elite-level defense. Sign me up. Xavier, Gonzaga, and UNC all overacheived this season, while Michigan seems to be peaking at the right time.
Brian UNC over Gonzaga We all love Gonzaga, secretly, deep down... even Mike. That said, March is when UNC likes to overachieve, and I think they get to the regional final and pull ahead in a battle.
Jake Gonzaga over Michigan Gonzaga goes from never making the Final 4 to making it in back to back years (but does Mark Few have what it takes to win the big game??). The Jack Rabbits of South Dakota St upset Ohio St in the 12-5, as is tradition.
Eugene Michigan over Gonzaga Michigan is looking real nice for this time of year. The Wolverines look good offensively and even better defensively. Gonzaga gets another solid run under Mark Few, but won't be able to solve the Wolverines. Upsets? Providence takes out UNC--if not, Michigan will. Also, the luck runs out for Xavier in the Sweet 16, who falls to Gonzaga.

Final Four Picks

Writer CHAMPIONSHIP Comments
Writer CHAMPIONSHIP Comments
Mike J. Nova over Gonzaga I'm just getting the BINGO cards eady with "Phil Booth scored 20 points in both of Villanova's Championships."
Brendan Villanova over Michigan Enough of this "I'm worried about the 2nd Round matchup" malarkey. ATTITUDE people!
Billy Duke over Xavier Basically every team has major flaws and the Hunter injury and my refusal to pick Villanova basically has me throwing my hands up at this point.
Jack Cincinnati over Villanova Either team could easily win this but Cincy's defense just edges out Nova's offense for me
Ryan Villanova over Gonzaga I don't want to pick 'Nova because of the jinx but I really can see them doing it this year. Humble and hungry boys.
David Cassilo Villanova over Michigan These are the two teams playing the best in the country right now. That doesn't necessarily mean March success, but it doesn't hurt. Despite this being the "title game," the two best teams to me are Villanova and Duke, and the winner of that game will cut down the nets.
Brian Villanova over UNC I could also see Arizona getting there -- fulfilling their preseason prophesized status, but I like the idea of picking UNC for the rematch too much to pass up.
Jake Villanova over UVA I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Go cats.
Eugene Duke over Michigan Villains win. Coach K gets ready to reload with the top three freshmen in the Class of 2018. ESPN has Duke takes for hours. Days. Wait, months. Dick Vitale is Dick Vitale.