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Bracket Racket 4.0 picks your national champion

There are many ways to pick an NCAA tournament champion.

Some might pick their alma mater, others could go for a long-time favorite team while some could pull a name out of a hat.

Me? I have a pretty good formula going. It's called Bracket Racket. The success is uncanny.

Here's how we go from 68 to 1:

First things first, first-round games are a joke: Seriously, the NCAA wants us to think the eight teams playing "first-round" games have a chance while 60 others get a bye into the second round? Missouri Valley State, Western Kentucky, BYU, Iona, Lamar, Vermont, Cal and South Florida all are eliminated.

It's not sweet being a 16: Don't be a hero, scratch off the No. 16 seeds remaining.

Capital losses: Teams that go by capital letters are outta here: VCU, UNLV, WVU (go home, Mountaineers).

Wrong statement: I hate to break it to you, but schools with state in its name won't win it all this year. That means Iowa State, Wichita State, New Mexico State, South Dakota State, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Murray State, Colorado State, Norfolk State, Kansas State, Florida State, Ohio State, San Diego State and N.C. State won't win it. And, yes, there goes a No. 1 seed (Michigan State).

High-percent loss: Teams with a high seed are a great bet to lose. It's just not in the numbers for double-digit seeds Colorado, Xavier, Lehigh (they weren't beating Duke anyway), Davidson, Virginia, Harvard, Montana, Texas, St. Bonaventure, Loyola, Ohio, Belmont, Purdue and Detroit. And while we're at it, let's throw ninth-seeded St. Louis and Southern Mississippi in that group, too.

It's a Catch-22: Teams with 22 or fewer wins won't win. UConn, Notre Dame, Alabama and Detroit are eliminated. That leaves, coincidentally, 22 teams. Amazing how that happens.

Doesn't smell right: There still are some teams left that don't pass the smell test, which means I think there's no way they'll win. This eliminates all the computer formulas built into Bracket Racket, but sometimes you just need a human touch. Those no-chance teams are Memphis. Florida, Vanderbilt, Creighton, Gonzaga, Temple, Cincinnati, New Mexico, Baylor and St. Mary's.

That leaves the Terrific Twelve. They're so good, they get listed: Kentucky, Indiana, Duke, Louisville, Marquette, Missouri, Syracuse, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgetown and Kansas.

The Double Standard: While teams with State in their names won't win, a school names after a state will. So eliminate Duke, Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse and Georgetown, leaving us with the Super Seven.

Blatant BSG reference: I'm a big fan of Battlestar Galaticia, so let's take out two more teams (Indiana, Michigan) to give us the Final Five.

From those five teams, I expect Kentucky and Kansas to play in the championship game.

And as much as I hate to do it, Kentucky, the No. 1 team, cuts down the nets in New Orleans.

Good luck and happy picking.


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