Chicago sports stars, media personalities' NCAA tournament predictions

March 14, 2012|RedEye

There's no escaping March Madness.

Thursday's real launch of the NCAA tournament—who really counts those play-in games—will send hard-core and casual fans alike into hysterics as four TV channels bombard the senses with buzzer-beaters, Cinderellas and blowouts all day long.

Chances are, most people's brackets will be busted by noon, but that's all part of the fun.

RedEye asked some local sports stars, media personalities and our very own staffers to make a few predictions about the tournament and share them with our readers.

For fun, of course. Wager based on these picks at your own risk.

Andrew Shaw

Blackhawks, @shawz15er

Your Cinderella team: Texas

Your first-round upset: Davidson over Louisville

Your overrated team: Duke

Your Final Four prediction: Syracuse, Kansas, New Mexico, Kentucky

Your title game pick: Kentucky over Kansas

Your tourney quote: It's do or die boys.

Darren Haydar

Wolves, @dhaydar20

Your Cinderella team: Vanderbilt

Your first-round upset: Texas over Cincinnati

Your overrated team: Georgetown

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, North Carolina

Your title game pick: Kentucky over North Carolina

Your tourney quote: I really like the Wildcats this year, and not the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (my alma mater) either!

Dan Gargan

Fire, @realdangargan

Your Cinderella team: Montana

Your first-round upset: VCU over Wichita State—the ol' 5-12 game.

Your overrated team: Vandy

Your Final Four prediction: Gotta take the Hoyas … and Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State

Your title game pick: Kentucky over Georgetown to win it all.

Your tourney quote: Who doesn't want to go to New Orleans? Be wary of the back door getting there.

Sarah Kustok

Comcast SportsNet reporter, csnchicago.com

Your Cinderella team: North Carolina State

Your first-round upset: Long Beach State

Your overrated team: Syracuse

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas

Your title game pick: Kentucky over Kansas

Your tourney quote: At least we can count on the DePaul women to carry the state of Illinois.

Sarah Spain

ESPN 1000, @sarahspain

Your Cinderella team: Murray State

Your first-round upset: California over Temple

Your overrated team: Syracuse

Your Final Four prediction: Ohio State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State

Your title game pick: Kentucky over North Carolina

Your tourney quote: I'm Sarah Spain, and I support this bracket.

Tracy Swartz

RedEye reporter, @tracyswartz

Your Cinderella team: St. Bonaventure is up for an adventure.

Your first-round upset: Florida State upsets my stomach.

Your overrated team: Syracuse. Fruit on the bottom.

Your Final Four prediction: Not keeping this private: Baylor, Ohio State, North Carolina, Marquette.

Your title game pick: Baylor rides the RG3 wave over OSU. The curse of the Bears beats OSU's curse.

Your tourney quote: Florida is in seventh heaven (though Jessica Biel has a prior engagement).

Elliott Serrano

RedEye blogger, @geektome

Your Cinderella team: The X-Men of Xavier University

Your first-round upset: Harvard over Vanderbilt

Your overrated team: Indiana

Your Final Four prediction: Connecticut, Michigan State, Ohio State, North Carolina

Your title game pick: Michigan State over North Carolina

Your tourney quote: "This is madness! THIS IS SPARTA!"

Christine Pawlak

RedEye contributor, @electrachicago

Your Cinderella team: Creighton

Your first-round upset: Harvard over Vanderbilt—go Ivy League!

Your overrated team: Syracuse

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Marquette, Ohio State, North Carolina

Your title game pick: Kentucky over North Carolina

Your tourney quote: No LinSanity, no Dwight Howard Trade Watch™, just actual basketball games! How novel!

Marc Silverman

ESPN 1000, @waddleandsilvy

Your Cinderella team: Belmont

Your first-round upset: UNC-Asheville--yes a 16 beats a 1!

Your overrated team: Georgetown

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida State and North Carolina

Your title game pick: Kentucky over North Carolina

Your tourney quote: Congrats Kentucky. At least until you have to vacate the title.

Bag Boy

RedEye sports masochist, redeyesports@tribune.com

Your Cinderella team: VCU

Your first-round upset: Montana over Wisconsin

Your overrated team: Syracuse

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida State, Kansas

Your title game pick: Michigan State over Florida State

Your tourney quote: They have a Loyola in Maryland, too? What's that make, six?


Ben Johnson

iO writer/peformer, @crotchfat

Your Cinderella team: Florida State. Technically a huge major conference school, but in Tallahassee basketball is a "Cinderella sport."

Your first-round upset: Stomach. Pizza Bites are looking too good this year.

Your overrated team: Georgetown. Which means they'll make it to the Elite 8.

Your Final Four prediction: That one weird guy from the office will have the best chance of winning the pool.

Your title game pick: Tom Izzo's exploding jugular over Jim Boeheim's beleaguered crossed arms.

Your tourney quote: "Hold onto your hat! [or something else equally stupid]"--Julianna Margulies, 70,000 CBS promos for "The Good Wife."

Whizzer

RedEye's prognosticating pooch, @redeyewhizzer

Your Cinderella team: Wichita State Shockers, of course.

Your first-round upset: Harvard over Vanderbilt.

Your overrated team: Gonzaga, always and forever.

Your Final Four prediction: Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse, Kansas

Your title game pick: Kentucky over Kansas

Your tourney quote: March Madness, when gambling is A-OK with everybody.

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