Watch for upsets
Todd M. Adams
First is Syracuse, just because of the strength of the Big East. Marquette is a dark-horse national-championship contender, and five other teams — Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cincinnati, South Florida and Louisville — have the talent to get hot.
North Carolina would be next, just because Duke is in the bracket. Kentucky is much better than anyone else in the SEC.
The other two leagues are more up in the air. Wisconsin always is a solid tournament team, so I'll take the Badgers in the Big Ten. And maybe the recent controversy will bring UCLA together. I'll pick the Bruins in the Pac-12.
Kentucky a no-brainer
The only no-brainer here is Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference, and with a freshman-laden roster led by presumptive All-American Anthony Davis, who's to say the Wildcats can be completely trusted?
So here goes the rest of the docket. ACC: Duke (10 titles in last 13 years). Big East: Marquette (13 wins in last 15 games). Big Ten: Ohio State (wins last week at Northwestern and Michigan State). Pacific-12: California (Jorge Gutierrez is the league's player and defensive player of year).
Marquette will surprise
Don't expect many surprises in the SEC. Kentucky will keep rolling as if it's still the regular season. The Big East always is filled with surprises and this season's big winner will be Marquette, which beat Louisville and Georgetown this season. Syracuse is the obvious favorite but it has to lose at some point, right?
No one can stop North Carolina in the ACC, especially after its regular-season-ending confidence booster against Duke. The Big Ten would have belonged to Michigan State but Branden Dawson's injury sets back the Spartans and opens the door for Ohio State.