It's a safe bet talented preseason No. 1 Indiana and No. 2 Louisville will march all the way to Atlanta. Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer gets a lot more attention, but men's basketball coach Thad Matta might be the Buckeyes' better sideline leader. Matta's No. 4 Ohio State squad should make it to Atlanta too.

March will be special if at least one surprise team crashes the Final Four.

My favorite underdog is Creighton. Bluejays forward Doug McDermott is a coach's son who can shoot lights out, rebounds well and makes his team better. Creighton is not loaded with future NBA players, but the fundamentally sound Bluejays remind many of former Final Four darling Butler.

Ilimon@tribune.com

Indiana, Michigan solid

Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

It is difficult to think of another basketball program that has been rebuilt the way Indiana has. Architectural students should study the Hoosiers. With preseason player of the year Cody Zeller, Indiana has the talent, depth and confidence to become the NCAA tournament champion this season.

Speaking of projects being rebuilt, Michigan has done some remodeling as well. The Wolverines, led by point guard Trey Burke, could challenge their Big Ten foe in the Final Four. The other Final Four attendees will be a dream for CBS ratings. Kentucky and rival Louisville could wind up playing for a chance to advance to the title game. A projection like this makes it hard to wait for March to roll around.

sryan@tribune.com