The Lamron sports staff breaks down their NCAA brackets

PAT NOLAN:

Amazingly, my bracket is still in good shape, because I guessed the Final Four right somehow.This hasn't been a huge year for upsets (I think the second time in 18 years that a #12 seed didn't upset a #5 seed), but almost everyone got screwed over by Duke losing to VCU in the first round. There were almost a few surprises, like Xavier taking Ohio St. to overtime in the second round. That should've been an easy win for Ohio State, but they had to fight for it.I think I overestimated certain teams, like Notre Dame and Maryland, and I totally underestimated USC. I did not think they had a shot at beating Texas. I was also surprised by Butler, who I hadn't really heard anything about before the tournament. They played pretty well in the beginning and looked primed to pull some upsets. UNLV was another school that played a lot harder than I anticipated.I'm in second place in my pool of almost 50 right now just because of my Final Four picks. I knew I could count on Kansas to choke against UCLA (it's a shame, I really like Kansas), and Georgetown beating UNC was so clutch. I like UNC, but I knew Georgetown was the pick that could take me to the top. They're a good team, but a lot of people had them not making the Final Four. I've got them beating Florida to win the championship, but that could really blow up in my face.I think Florida and Ohio St. were the two sure things in this year's tournament, because they were in weaker regions. Texas A&M and Louisville could have both given Ohio State a run for their money, but fortunately for the Buckeyes those two teams were taken care of. And Florida's just been pretty nasty since last year. It's a great time to be a Gator.

Best Pick: #2's Georgetown and UCLA in the Final FourWorst Picks: #6 Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, #6 Duke over #11 VCU, #12 ODU over Butler, #12 Arkansas over #5 Texas

CHRIS TRIPODI:

I've been seriously following college basketball and filling out NCAA tournament brackets since the start of this millennium, but by looking at my bracket's performance this year, one may think that I was just another newbie putting in a random bracket and seeing if it hit. Well, it didn't.In the first round, I had six double-digit seeds winning, including #12 Arkansas over #5 USC and #11 George Washington over #6 Vanderbilt, while USC and Vanderbilt ended up in the Sweet 16. The only one I actually hit was Winthrop over Notre Dame, but I advanced the Eagles into the Sweet 16, an obvious mistake seeing how they were ousted by #3 Oregon. As slight solace, I was three out of four in 8-9 games, my typical weakness, losing only with Arizona against Purdue. I had two #10's in the Sweet 16 in Georgia Tech and Creighton, neither of which made it out of the first round. I even had the Yellow Jackets in the Elite 8, which I still don't regret in hindsight. If they beat UNLV in the opening round, I think they would've knocked off Wisconsin as well. If I hadn't picked Oregon to get upset by Winthrop, I would've had the Ducks in my Elite 8. Generally my low-rated sleepers do rather well. Especially a few years back, when I correctly predicted #8 UCLA to beat #1 Cincinnati to make the Sweet 16 and #12 Missouri to reach the Elite 8. But there weren't any huge upsets heading into the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8, which pretty much doomed my bracket.My Final Four picks proved to be atrocious, another dooming factor. Florida, Kansas, UNC, Texas A&M. I had UNC beating Florida in the title game, but now that the Tar Heels are out I would bet on the Gators to cut down the nets and become the first team to repeat since Duke in the early 90's, taking down an Ohio State team that I grossly underestimated. But the way my bracket has gone this year, the Gators have no chance.

Best Picks: #11 Winthrop over #6 Notre Dame, #5 Butler in the Sweet 16Worst Picks: #10 Creighton and #11 Winthrop in the Sweet 16, #10 Georgia Tech in the Elite Eight, #3 Texas A&M in the Final Four

TRAVIS CASS:

This year, my bracket has been mediocre at best. I always try to pick a substantial amount of lower seeds to advance, with the understanding that the tournament usually features a bevy of upsets. However, this year that was not the case, and my bracket suffered as a result.I picked Creighton to advance to the Sweet 16 as a #10 seed; they flamed out in the first round. I chose Texas A&M to advance to the Final Four; they fell in the Sweet 16 to Memphis. I did, however, correctly pick several first round upsets, including VCU over Duke and Winthrop over Notre Dame.Only Florida and UCLA remain from my projected Final Four. I originally picked Florida to repeat as national champions, and I won't deviate from that choice now: Florida will defeat Georgetown on Monday night for the title.

Best Picks: #2 UCLA in the Final Four, #7 UNLV in the Sweet 16Worst Pick: #10 Creighton in the Sweet 16

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