March Madness: Staff Picks

Kevin Dowd

Final Four: Kentucky, Memphis, Syracuse, North Carolina

Champion: Kentucky over North Carolina. I really think Kentucky is a cut above every other team in the country this year. They have the best talent, the best coaching, and the best player — Anthony Davis, who might be the most destructive defensive force in college basketball since Marcus Camby. I think he’ll be the difference against the Tar Heels. As for Memphis? Someone has to take a risk around here.

Josh Liebeskind

Final Four: Kentucky, Marquette, Syracuse, North Carolina

Champion: North Carolina over Kentucky. I love the size and athleticism of North Carolina — its smallest starter is 6-foot-4 point guard Kendall Marshall. With a mix of veterans and young players with postseason experience, the Tar Heels are poised to raise the championship trophy come April 2. Don’t get me wrong, Kentucky is ridiculously talented, but the Tar Heels will be the better team in New Orleans.

Taylor Soper

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

Champion: Michigan State over UNC. I don’t know why, but I like Michigan State to go all the way. They have a veteran coach in Tom Izzo and a veteran player in Draymond Green. Plus, they’re playing well right now. They’ll meet the Tar Heels in the final if John Henson is healthy. I like Syracuse, but I just can’t pick all No. 1-seeds in the Final Four. And Kentucky got a pretty favorable bracket so I think they’ll make it to New Orleans.

Andrew Gospe

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

Champion: UNC over Kentucky. For much of the season, the Tar Heels haven’t played up to their considerable potential as the preseason No. 1 team. But I think they will in the tourney — they’re the most talented, the most athletic, and the deepest team in the country, and they’ll avenge a one-point December loss to the Wildcats.

Pete Treperinas

Final Four: Kentucky, Missouri, Syracuse, Kansas

Champion: Kentucky over Kansas. Kansas will have better luck against Kentucky in the paint with Thomas Robinson, but should he or Jeff Withey get in foul trouble, Kentucky’s bigs will create problems. Simply put, Kansas won’t have the depth to keep up with such a talented, high-powered team. This has “classic title game” written all over it, but I have the Wildcats cutting down the nets. Their superstars and their superstar coach have been poised to win this game nearly all year.

Thuc Nhi Nguyen

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

Champion: Kentucky over Ohio State. I know, it’s a lot of chalk in that Final Four. I have Ohio State knocking off Syracuse in the Elite Eight because the Orange is slipping lately, but the rest of the No. 1 seeds are safe to me. In the end, Kentucky just has too much talent and too much athleticism to not win the championship this year.

Daniel Rubens

Final Four: Baylor, Missouri, Syracuse, North Carolina

Champion: UNC over Missouri. The Heels have been consistently among the best teams all year long. They finished in the top four nationally in points, assists, and rebounds per game. Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson are a dominant inside presence, and Kendall Marshall’s ability to distribute the ball to that trio makes UNC the team to beat.

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