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2012 NCAA Tournament Predictions; March Madness Final Four Picks & Championship Prediction

2012 Ncaa Tournament, Austin Rivers, Ncaa Tournament Predictions

Final Four Teams

#2. Duke Blue Devils
Duke suffered a loss to Florida State in the ACC Tournament that cost them any chance at securing a #1 seed. Duke has a young but extremely talented team with Austin Rivers and Seth Curry leading in scoring and the Plumlee brothers both averaging over 7 rebounds a game, over 6 points per game, and a block each per contest. After the first round, Duke will most likely face Notre Dame, Baylor, and Kentucky. Kentucky will by far be their toughest challenge, but their depth and skill should be able to overcome Kentucky’s amazing athleticism and young talent. Duke makes the Final Four even though they have a very tough path to New Orleans.

#1. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State was rewarded for winning their first Big 10 Tournament Championship in over 10 years with a #1 seed and a decently easy road to the Final Four. The Spartans toughest challenge will be from Memphis in the second round and Missouri in the Elite 8. I do not see Missouri making it to the Elite 8 due to very tough possible matchups against Florida and then either Murray State or Marquette. Michigan State has the senior leadership of Draymond Green and a very strong supporting cast.

#1. North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina has seemingly minimal pressure on them despite being a #1 seed and their past history of championships and Final Fours. North Carolina is the best overall team in this Final Four. UNC is 2nd in the nation in points, 1st in rebounds, and 4th in assists per game. UNC has lost only 1 of their last 10 games and shouldn’t have trouble until they face Kansas in the Elite 8. UNC should be able to advance over Kansas in a very close and high scoring game.

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#2. Ohio State Buckeyes
Despite a close loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game, Ohio State has had a great season and has wins against Duke, Michigan State, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Ohio State will have to face a very hot Florida State team, but has faced similar teams in the past and should be able to push on to face Syracuse. I think Syracuse should be worried about a matchup against Wisconsin, who is a much more physical team. Ohio State plays a similar brand of basketball to that of Cincinnati who recently upset the Orange in the Big East tournament. I expect the Buckeyes to come out of the East section of the bracket on the shoulders of Sullinger, Thomas, and senior William Buford who has been playing like he desperately wants an NCAA Championship.

2012 National Champion: Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State’s defense and rebounding will be too much to deal with for Duke and North Carolina in the Final Four. Beating them back to back seems impossible, but Florida State recently pulled off this feat and Michigan State has a deeper bench. Izzo and the Spartans take home the NCAA Championship in 2012.