Barack Obama Keeps NCAA Tournament Tradition Alive, Releases Bracket


North Carolina may just go all the way. Obama has the Blue Devils taking out last year's national champion, Villanova, in the regional final. A good example is Florida, a No. 10 RPI team according to ESPN, is a No. 4 seed in this region. In an odd twist of fate, neither VCU nor St. Mary's has a team, so there's a void in the 7-10 matchup of the West. Seeding (placing the strongest teams against the weakest) helps the big-draw teams skip along through the tourney TV schedule. OR was favored to be the fist seed in the early part of the season but Chris Boucher's injury will affect the team's defense. The same goes for No. 2 Duke and No. 4 Florida. But the Jayhawks nearly seem as though they've been undervalued all season, maybe because winning the Big 12 regular season has become an annual rite in Lawrence. They're not quite there yet.

Don't forget higher seeds can also wind up in the Final Four, as Wisconsin did in 2000 when the Badgers wound up as a No. 8 seed.

I think MI, which is streaking now, will take care of Louisville in the second round. In recent years the Rams have been known to get hot late in the season and pull off some pretty big upsets when the big dance comes around.

At the bottom of the Midwest bracket is Louisville, which earned its No. 2 rating around Christmas when it was playing so well. CBS will once again be the main channel for all of the tournament action as well as the Final Four and National Championship games. But this still could prove to be the best team in this region. We all know that there will be some big surprises, but you don't want to over do it. Seniors and guards win in March and Iowa State has both. For the first time ever, in this alternate universe a No. 16 seed upsets a No. 1 seed.

Watch out for: the Irish. And they'll note that Gonzaga has had chances before and not made it to the Final Four. Northwestern? Seems like a reach.

West: 2 Arizona over 1 Gonzaga. Fans in Chicago might not love it, but it would be spectacular. March Madness is here and this is by far the best tie of the year. -14 upset? OR had better be careful with the Gaels. How many No. 12 seeds will knock off No. 5 seeds this year? Virginia's pack-line defense will be stressed.

Oh, there are still plenty of businesses that take steps to inhibit workers from following the games, but some companies have actually started encouraging employees to watch the games because it makes them happy.

Middle Tennessee State pulled off the biggest shocker as a No. 15 seed a year ago with a 90-81 win over Michigan State, which went into that tournament as trendy pick to win a national title.

This year, all three have a chance to make it consecutive seasons with a tournament win. Southern Cal and Kansas State vs. Wake Forest. The Shockers are favored by a hefty margin - six points. No respect at all for the Big Ten. If you like the favorite, lay the points.

11 Xavier over 6 Maryland. For numerous early round games, though, you'll need a password through your cable or satellite TV subscription.