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March 19, 2014

Making some picks, checking them twice

Ada — While my 2014 March Madness picks certainly won’t win you a billion dollars — heck, they won’t win you a 2-for-20 deal at your favorite local restaurant — I’m going to share them with you anyway.

From this writer’s points of view, this year’s men's NCAA Tournament bracket is one of the most convoluted in recent history. So let’s get started.

WEST REGION

Love that both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are in this region. Fans are chomping at the bit for a projected Sweet 16 matchup. Can’t see it happening, though.

I was torn between the OSU-Gonzaga first-round matchup. Should be a great game. I finally decided a big play by Marcus Smart down the stretch will be the difference.

The buck will stop there for the Cowboys, but expect them to play top seed Arizona tough before bowing out.

Many national pundits are picking North Dakota State to upset the Sooners in the first round, but I think Lon Kruger’s bunch will find a way to grind out a first-round victory. And although my bracket has San Diego State defeating OU, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Sooners advance to a Sweet 16 showdown with Arizona.

Which brings us to the top seed in the West. Nick Johnson will carry the Wildcats on to the Elite 8.

I like No. 2 seed Wisconsin to battle its way out of the bottom of the West bracket and meet Arizona in the Elite 8. The Badgers have two freshmen (Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes) who will help push them to a Final Four berth.

EAST REGION

I could see No. 12 Harvard making a bit of a run if Michigan State weren’t standing in the way in the second round. The Spartans are this guy’s pick to advance to the Final Four out of the East. Congrats to Virginia for nailing down a No. 1 seed at the last minute, but the Spartans will knock the Cavaliers out in the Sweet 16.

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