PRESQUE ISLE, Me. (WAGM) - When I was young, Christmas Eve was torture. The anticipation and the excitement of Christmas Day was oh so close but just out of reach. Santa is about to hop in his sleigh and bring some awesome presents. But I had to wait! I hated that. Fast forward to today and that's how I feel on the eve of March Madness. Tomorrow and Friday are my favorite days of the year, it's like Christmas for basketball fans and it's oh so close. I know some of you out there are still noodling your brackets, so here's some inspiration as you make your last minute adjustments.
Here are my Elite 8. In the East Region I have Duke and Michigan State. Sparty should have been a one seed after winning the Big Ten, but here they are, playing the best player, Zion Williamson, and the second best team, Duke, in the country. Blue Devils win to go to the Final Four.
Down on the bottom in the west region, while I was tempted to pick my Alma Mater Syracuse to go all the way, I decided to take a somewhat Pragmatic approach. Gonzaga got the wake up call they needed by losing to St. Mary's in their conference championship and they will use that fuel to get to the Elite 8 where they'll beat the Buffalo Bulls.
In the south, much like the East, the one and two get the elite 8. Virginia and Tennessee have easy paths and both teams are veteran teams playing with chips on their shoulders after losing in the conference tournaments. Especially Virginia after being the first one seed to lose to a 16 seed last year. Shout out UMBC Golden Retrievers. For that reason, UVA advances.
Last region, the UNC Tar Heels will take on the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa State can fill it up from three and are playing phenomenal basketball. Anytime you're looking at the tournament, identify those teams that are peaking at the right time and take a chance. Iowa State is my chance pick to get to the Elite 8 but UNC is my pick to get to the final four.
I know, super chalky, but these are the best four teams. Duke beats Gonzaga and UNC beats UVA setting up the ultimate national championship of bragging rights. Duke UNC. The Tar Heels were one missed jump shot away from beating a Blue Devil team with Zion. They do hit the shot this time and beat the Blue Devils and win the national championship.
Book it, people! And when you win your pool, send a thank-you note.