Who would have thunk it! The state of Florida has three teams in this week’s Sweet Sixteen portion of the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.
A lot of bracket-pickers had Florida and Miami in the picture. Just a few grabbing at straws could have had Florida Gulf Coast making it this far.
The relatively new school in just its second year in the NCAA’s Division I is the talk of the country after having knocked off powerhouses Georgetown and San Diego in Philadelphia action last weekend.
Now the Eagles are headed to Texas where they’ll meet, of all people, Florida in a South Regional semi-final game Friday night at around 10 p.m. on TBS. The game will be played in Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington.
The winner of that game will face the winner of the Kansas-Michigan game Sunday for the right to go to Atlanta’s Final Four.
As for the other Florida team, Miami, they will meet Marquette in a Thursday game in Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center. The winner of that game will face the Indiana-Syracuse winner Sunday for the right to go to Atlanta.
In predicting my Sweet Sixteen last week I hit ten of them, missing on Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State, LaSalle, Oregon and Syracuse.
Trying to pick the Final Four this week, I think in the East Regional Miami and Indiana will win in semi-final action and Indiana will best the ‘Canes in the East Finals.
In South play, Kansas will nudge Michigan State and Florida will beat Florida Gulf Coast (despite the Eagles being everybody’s sentimental pick) in the semi-finals.
Kansas will then best the Gators because I still can’t see Florida winning a close game.
In the Midwest first round play, Louisville will best Oregon in what I feel will be a well contested game, and Michigan State will handle Duke. The Cardinals will then knock off the Spartans to advance.
In West play, Arizona will clamp down on Ohio State and Wichita State will clip LaSalle in the semi-finals. Arizona will then harvest the Shockers to advance to Atlanta.
Thus my Final Four picks are Arizona, Louisville, Kansas and Indiana.
My guess is as good as anyone’s, which is to say, it’s just a guess.