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Bracket Racket is back, ready to pick your NCAA winner

This is the fifth version of Bracket Racket, my way of picking the NCAA champion.

Last year was a darn good year for the Racket.

Heck, let's be honest. It was an excellent year. My formula correctly picked the championship game -- Kentucky vs. Kansas -- and it picked the winner.

How do you top it? I guess simply do it again.

I've tweaked the equation over the years, and after last year's success, there's not much to update.

Here's the path to narrow your picks to one champion:

First things first, first-round games are a joke: Honestly, no national champion will emerge from this group. And why does Dayton get to host this every year?

The Sour 16: While we're being honest, no 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed. Go with history.

Capital losses: It's easier to say UNLV instead of University of Nevada at Las Vegas. It still doesn't make them a threat to win it all. Take all teams that use capital letters off your list (UNLV, UCLA, VCU).

Let me state this simply: State schools, those with State in its name, are eliminated. Colorado State, Oklahoma State, New Mexico State, Michigan State, Wichita State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Ohio State, South Dakota State, Northwestern State, San Diego State and N.C. State won't win. 

Bad seeds don't grow: Any team seeded nine or lower won't win. Won't happen. No way. Cross off Missouri, Oregon, Valpo, Cincinnati, Albany, Ole Miss, Belmont, Harvard, Iona, Villanova, Akron, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Florida Gulf Coast, Temple, Cal, Montana, Bucknell, Davidson, Colorado and Pacific from your list.

Pass the smell test: These teams just aren't championship material: St. Louis, Memphis, Michigan, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Creighton, Butler and Illinois.

Catholic bias: The schools leaving the Big East to form the new Big East, also known as the Catholic 7, won't win either. Sorry, Georgetown and Marquette.

Which brings us to the Terrific Twelve. It's not the Elite Eight, but they still are special enough to get pointed out: Louisville, Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Syracuse, Pitt and Miami (Fla.).

Pitt isn't it: Back in the tournament, the Panthers won't last long, let a lone win it all.

Last year's winner didn't even make the tournament, so let's eliminate the runner-up from title consideration, so bye-bye Kansas. North Carolina, an eighth seed, won't win either, so they're gone too.

Blatant BSG reference: I'm a big fan of Battlestar Galaticia, so let's take out four more teams to give us the Final Five. So, see ya, Wisconsin, Arizona, Syracuse and Gonzaga.

The Final Five are, drum roll, pleas: Louisville, Duke, Florida, Indiana and Miami.

It's an exciting group. All would be worthy champions. But there can be only one.

Duke (I can't believe Bracket Racket picked them) beats Indiana in the championship.


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