TOMMY'S TAKE: Choosing a Champion

To read Tommy's Take on the teams that made the 2018 NCAA Tournament and the selection process behind it click here.

Since I can’t change the NCAA Tournament, let’s break it down...

SOUTH: My pick to come out of this region is, ARIZONA.

DeAndre Ayton - multiple reports say the freshman was offered $100K to play at Arizona, if true, he's been worth every penny

This is the toughest region with the overall top seed Virginia at the top, the best 5 seed with Kentucky, the most under seeded team in Arizona and they all get lucky because they get the worst 2 seed in Cincinnati. A lot of people will tell you that Tennessee will go to the elite 8 this year but don’t believe them, Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield are talented but Rick Barnes doesn’t have KD on his team like he did at Texas and that’s where I am taking my first big upset with Wright State. I also love this Nevada team slated at a 7 seed, they are a squad that not a lot of people know about because they play so late at night but watch out as the Wolf Pack can make a run. Arizona v Nevada.

WEST: My pick to come out of this region is, NORTH CAROLINA.

Joel Berry II - Lead UNC to National Championship in 2017

UNC got the worst 1 seed in their bracket because of course they did. They also will be playing their games in Charlotte because of course they will and they also have a cake walk to the elite 8 because yep you guessed it, of course they do. The NCAA selection committee loves North Carolina and they should make their third straight Final Four and play Gonzaga in the elite 8. The West bracket is weak, it’s that simple. Michigan is hot coming off a Big Ten championship but have had a whole week off to cool down but that could set up a rematch of last year in the Sweet 16 with UNC. The teams to look out for in this region are San Diego St., Missouri and South Dakota St. I think the Aztecs pull of the upset over Houston and Missouri gives Xavier one hell of a game. Gonzaga v UNC.

EAST: My pick to come out of this region is, PURDUE.

PJ Thompson - Senior Guard from Indianapolis, Indiana. Veteran leadership and experience always plays a key role in March

If Purdue can get back to playing at a confident level and execute the inside-outside game they are one of the best teams in the country which is why I think they can make a run because they have a favorable draw in the East. Villanova as the 1 seed is a lot of people’s picks to win the whole damn thing but if Purdue and Nova play in the Elite 8 it is going to be an old-fashioned dog fight dating back to last year when those two teams battled it out in Mackey and the Wildcats came ahead by three points. Florida is a team that can make a deep run if they don’t get upset by St. Bonaventure so you might want to look out who wins that play-in game before you make any crazy decisions. I think West Virginia battles Villanova in the Sweet 16 and SF Austin takes down Texas Tech in the 1st round, bold right? Villanova v Purdue.

Oh yeah, Pops if you’re reading this… PURDUE IS TAKING DOWN BUTLER!

MIDWEST: My pick to come out of this region is, DUKE.

Marvin Bagley III - Duke's Freshman Superstar, first freshman in ACC history to lead the conference in points and rebounds per game.

Duke is the best team in the country, hands down. I think Duke has the best coach, the best player and the most will to win a National Championship this year and they also have a nice draw to get to the Elite 8. A second round matchup with Rhode Island could be fun as E.C. Matthews will have to go against the stout guards from Durham but not a single team in the country as a stop to Marvin Bagley III which is why I put them in the Final Four. Kansas sits atop this region potentially waiting for whoever comes out of the Duke-Michigan State matchup in the Sweet 16 as I see no teams coming close to the Jayhawks as they could get a scare from Seton Hall in the second round but Bill Self isn’t losing a NCAA tournament game that is played in Wichita, Kansas. Kanas v Duke.

FINAL FOUR: Arizona vs. North Carolina and Purdue vs. Duke.

IF this is the Final Four you will be seeing me in San Antonio because there is no way I would ever miss this.

North Carolina has the experience, the guard play and the ability to rebound to take away the dominant post play of Deandre Ayton and I would see North Carolina winning that game which means they would await the winner of Purdue and Duke.

Purdue and Duke in the Final Four, a kid can dream right? There is nothing I would rather see in life than this matchup in a Final Four but when this game would be played there would be no answer to the athleticism that Duke possesses and Duke would prevail.


The best rivalry in college basketball for the fourth time this season and this one means the most as Duke looks for their sixth National Championship and North Carolina looks to go back-to-back? Sign me up.

I already said earlier that Duke is the best team in the country, that was my hint. Duke takes down UNC and Coach K picks up another National Championship while Grayson Allen walks away as tournament MVP.



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