March Madness 2019: Obama picks Duke to win it all

March Madness 2019: Obama picks Duke to win it all

Well, one of the biggest three weeks in sports is here. No matter how much thought, research and preparation goes into filling out the flawless bracket, nearly everyone's bracket will be busted by the conclusion of the tournament's first weekend. For anyone even faintly following college basketball, they have probably heard of Zion Williamson, the powerful yet athletic freshman who is nearly a shoe-in for the top pick in the NBA draft. For Tennessee fans, this Volunteer squad has the best chance of any team in recent memory to make the school's first Final Four.

As the deadline approached for finalizing those predictions in office pools and just-for-fun family contests, 36.6 percent of entrants on ESPN's online platform picked Duke to win it all. In a toss-up, I'll give this one to UNC. Six seeds are usually watching from the couches by the time the Elite Eight rolls around, but the Wildcats are in the south region, the weakest in my opinion, with the most vulnerable one seed (Virginia). They'll need to be efficient in a potential second-round matchup against stingy Syracuse and a potential Sweet 16 battle with lengthy Florida State. Also keep an eye on Belmont. Belmont catches Maryland in Jacksonville, FL in round one. They have played some incredible basketball against some of the best teams in the country this year, and they have won it all before after starting as a lower seed.

Gonzaga is the top seed but I don't see them advancing to the Final Four.

Michigan, Houston, Texas Tech, Kentucky, Florida State and Tennessee are among the programs flush with talent and could wind up as the last team standing. There will be one top seed in action on Thursday, as the West Region No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs square off with Fairleigh Dickinson, who earned this spot with a First Four victory on Tuesday over Prairie View A&M.

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In some seasons, one NCAA team with more star power than the rest of the field steals all the attention, allowing some of the other top seeds to slide under the radar. If we can pull off the play-in game against NC Central, we will get to play the best team in college basketball, the Duke Blue Devils. 4 seed - but I couldn't convince myself to wonder how long it will be before the "SLU coach Travis Ford should replace Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin" talk begins.

MI has been to the national championship game two times since 2013, including last year's runner-up bid, but I think Gonzaga win this region. The Auburn Tigers are also in the Midwest, seeded fifth.

Tennessee ranks third in offensive efficiency and shares the ball to the point that it's almost impossible to key in on one player. Colgate is a very good three point shooting team and so is Cincinnati.

If the Vols are able to get past Purdue, Villanova, or whomever they face in the Sweet 16, you can expect them to send Virginia packing. This has been a magical exciting season for Tennessee basketball but the best could be yet to come in 2020.

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