Big Ten will get 2 in
This seems like a good year to play it safe. It just feels like Indiana is back, doesn't it?
Tom Crean has had time to build and he has built. He has a big man, Cody Zeller, around whom a team can be built.
The Big East isn't what it used to be, but Louisville is, and it has that rare commodity in the one-and-done age — experience, especially in guard Peyton Siva.
I was tempted to veer from the mainstream on Kentucky — how can the Wildcats do it again with a whole new team? The same way they did last year with a whole new team. John Calipari has the knack for it.
Ohio State? Michigan? I'll stray a little from the straight and narrow and take the Wolverines and Trey Burke.
UCLA set for return visit
Los Angeles Times
Anthony Davis' unibrow stole headlines during Kentucky's run to the Final Four last season. And this time around, when the Wildcats make a return trip, the buzz will once again focus on the appearance of another Kentucky prized freshman center.
That would be potential future NBA lottery pick Nerlens Noel, who rocks an old-school hi-top fade hairdo.
Aside from Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville will also be among the last four on the Big Dance floor in Atlanta.
And which team will round out the group? UCLA. With blue-chip recruit Shabazz Muhammad eligible after a lengthy NCAA investigation, the Bruins' new up-tempo offense will flourish, speeding them back to the Final Four.
Creighton underdog pick
Iliana Limón Romero
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.
Indiana, Michigan solid
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.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun