My favorite part of the old Blue Ribbon Tournament Preview edition was counting down the entire field from the first loser to the last winner. Now, for the second year in a row at ESPN.com, we forecast every game in every round (with every score!) of the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
If these picks work out, thank me. If they don't, blame ESPN.com for running them. But, during my four previous March visits to Bristol, I have projected 10 of a possible 16 Final Four teams. So here goes:
In the Jaguars' last visit (1993), they took out No. 3 seed Georgia Tech. This time, Duke crushes Southern in Greensboro, 83-56.
Who wins between a Husky and a Great Dane? In the wild? Who knows. In the arena? UConn brings a quick end to Albany's first dance, 82-64.
62. ORAL ROBERTS
Oral Roberts can score, so the Golden Eagles figure to hang with Memphis for a while. Tigers run away late, though, 80-68.
The Hawks get two games in four days, getting closer to home with each date. Villanova completes its week unceremoniously, besting Monmouth 75-53.
There are No. 16 seeds in this bracket that don't have as rough a matchup as the Quakers. Texas? In Dallas? No chance for Penn, which falls 76-58.
The Wildcats were 4-9 in true road games this season. Friday in Dayton is going to be worse than a road game. Ohio State prevails 74-61.
Bruins win! Bruins win! The UCLA Bruins, that is. Enjoy San Diego, Belmont, before losing, 68-59, in a closer-than-expected contest.
57. NORTHWESTERN STATE
The Demons can play (ask Oklahoma State and Mississippi State). But they can't beat suddenly surging Iowa. It's a game for 30 minutes, but NW State drops a 66-58 decision.
56. SOUTH ALABAMA
USA routed Western Kentucky for the Sun Belt championship. Florida doesn't figure to be nearly as accommodating in this contest. Another game underdog goes home, 80-65.
55. MURRAY STATE
These Racers don't race all the much. So they hang with young (and potentially nervous?) North Carolina before falling 70-62.
If Xavier had a healthy Brian Thornton, this might be an upset against Gonzaga (although Xavier wouldn't be a No. 14 seed). Instead, X can't stop both Adam Morrison and J.P. Batista. Zags in a tight one, 75-71.
With only one holdover from last year's team, these Tigers won a very watered-down Big West. BC is no longer in the Big East, but don't count on the Eagles forgetting what UOP did to Big East foes the last two NCAA Tournaments. BC breezes, winning 76-63.
52. AIR FORCE
The least worthy at-large team of this era is no match for Illinois. The Illini speed past the Falcons 69-55.
Iona would need Jeff Ruland in the lineup, not coaching, to match up with Baby Shaq and the LSU Tigers. The defensively challenged Gaels do down 85-71.
The Braves could have been a factor if their seed were remotely fair. Instead, they're up against a Kansas team that is on a serious roll. Bradley loses 74-64.
A decent seed and a decent draw for the Grizzlies. Nevada is more decent across the board, though, and bests Montana by a 75-66 count.
48. KENT STATE
Shades of 2002 against Pittsburgh? I don't think so. This Pitt team is underseeded, and Antonio Gates now plays football. The Flashes get panned, 72-65.
47. TEXAS A&M