Redemption Picks
by Dan Eberhard

Another year, another 20 bucks down the drain.  This time Kansas, Syracuse and Wake Forest are to blame for my bracket bust. Things were going well until about 10:30 on Friday night.  I picked 21 of the first 24 games right, but that's when all heck broke loose.
Bucknell was in the process of beating Kansas (a team in my Elite Eight) and Syracuse (a Final Four team) had an unlikely meltdown against Vermont.  Things progressively got worse as the weekend went along. Wake Forest and West Virginia played one of the best tournament games I can remember watching.  Unfortunately, that did nothing for my wallet.  The Demon Deacs (another one of my Final Four teams) took an "L" in double-overtime.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee? Crap. Are you kidding me?  Sure they've got Ed McCants, a distant cousin of Rashad McCants, but what were the chances they'd pull two upsets?  If you told me two teams from Wisconsin would make the Sweet Sixteen I probably would have slapped you.  Now I'm the one slapping myself. 

My bracket is torched.  Gone.  Game over.  But just for kicks and the slight chance at redemption, I'm going to give it another shot. Call it a cheap shot since only 16 teams remain, but I've got no where to go but up.

I'll start in the Chicago regional.  Cinderella's season comes to an end. No doubt, top-seeded Illinois takes care of business against 12th-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Salim Stoudamire scored 28 points in Arizona's win over UAB in the second round.  Stoudamire will help shoot the Wildcats past second-seeded Oklahoma State in a battle between legendary coaches (Lute Olson vs. Eddie Sutton).

Illinois was nearly perfect for 33 games leading up to the tournament. They'll be perfect for two more this weekend.  The Illini will advance to the Final Four.

In the Albuquerque regional, Washington and Louisville both come to the court with a chip on their shoulder.  The Huskies are the most overlooked one seed since St. Joe's last year.  Louisville was ranked 6th in the nation and won the C-USA Tournament, yet they landed a four seed. 

Louisville squeaked by La.-Lafayette in round one and then beat an uninspired Georgia Tech team.  Pitino's run ends here.  Washington beats Louisville and then goes on to beat Texas Tech to advance to the Final Four.

The Austin regional features a rematch between top-seeded Duke and fifth-seeded Michigan St.  The Blue Devils beat the Spartans 81-74 in Durham on November 30th, but  J.J. Redick said the only similarities from those two teams in November are the coaching staffs.  Duke wins again, but you'll only see it on WNCT if you have digital cable (N.C. State and Wisconsin will be the regular broadcast).

Kentucky knocks off Duke in the Elite Eight and advances to the Final Four.  Don't ask me how, it just happens.

The most intriguing region is in Syracuse.  North Carolina and N.C. State both advance giving everyone the match-up they want with a trip to St. Louis on the line.

The Heels dominated the Wolfpack in the regular season.  They'll win in a much more closely contested game to advance to the Final Four. Illinois, Washington, Kentucky and North Carolina.  There's your four.  Based on my first bracket I'm only right about 50 percent of the time so don't waste your money on this.

Dan Eberhard