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October 17, 2017

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Let’s talk brackets … but don’t follow my lead

I'll be honest — I'm one of those guys who every year walks around to my friends and co-workers with my freshly filled-out bracket, and will proclaim "Here are the answers, in case you're curious."

It's a good thing people typically don't take my advice.

I'm the guy who picks at least one random selection to go to the Final Four, and likes to avoid putting No. 1 seeds in the national semis at all costs. Last year, I'll be honest, I had Purdue in the title game.

That said, this year is the first time in which I feel absolutely not one shred of confidence in my picks. None. All four of my Final Four picks could be done in the first weekend and I wouldn't be shocked.

So please don't use reverse logic in following my picks, thinking that the first time I'm down on my prognostications will mean my bracket turns into a golden ticket of sorts.

I just think I'm that much worse off...

Instead, I want you to share your Final Four picks and top upsets below. I love talking brackets with anyone and everyone who wants to, so let's get some conversation going below.

Here are mine:

Final Four: Kansas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Duke

The only two in that field I feel remotely confident in are Syracuse and Duke. Syracuse is, I think, the most versatile team in the country, while Duke's region is mysteriously thin on contenders. I picked Kansas by default, because if things were just a bit different, I'd have taken Michigan State. But the Spartans have some inner issues and lingering injuries going right now. If Kansas plays like it cares, it's as dangerous a team as you'll find. Problem is, it's a 50-50 chance the Jayhawks actually do that. And West Virginia is a matchup nightmare with its size across the board. But, not going to lie, I was this close to picking Morgan State to pull off the first-round upset. That game will be much closer than you think. I promise.

Three big upsets

Murray State over Vanderbilt: You don't win 30 games by accident, folks. The Racers can score with anyone. Plus, I covered point guard Isaac Miles when he was in high school at Bishop Miege in Kansas City. He lives for situations like this, and has been huge for the Racers all year. Vandy was also incredibly uninspiring on Saturday in the SEC semis against Mississippi State.

Butler over UTEP: No, a 5-seed beating a 12-seed isn't what many people would really consider an upset. But I've heard so many people talk about UTEP as a sexy pick. Why is everyone so in love with the Miners? Yes, they're athletic and flashy. But they're sloppy, while Butler can break anyone down, and has one of the most dangerous starting lineups in all of college basketball. I'm not buying the UTEP hype, sorry.

BYU over Kansas State (second round): This is the exact kind of team Kansas State will easily overlook. Honestly, outside of Kansas, I think this is the toughest backcourt match-up KSU has had all year, especially with the late-season emergence of Michael Loyd Jr. If BYU's big men can keep KSU's from going bananas on the glass, I think Jimmer Fredette out-duels Jacob Pullen and that's enough for the Cougars to get by.

Discuss ...

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