Conference Tournament Champion Picks

AAC– Louisville: I wasn’t sure if Louisville was a national title contender until this weekend. I thought they might have lacked some depth without Kevin Ware and Chane Behanan. Also I thought a weaker schedule this season in the new conference would hurt them. Now I think they will win the AAC tournament because of Russ Smith and an experienced supporting cast. I have them playing Memphis in the championship game because the tournament is in Memphis. The Tigers will beat Cincinnati is the semifinals and get revenge for two regular losses including one last Thursday.

ACC– Duke: I believe in Louisville because of Russ Smith and believe in Duke this March because of Jabari Parker. I think the freshman will take Duke to the next level this weekend in Greensboro. I have Pittsburgh beating North Carolina in the quarterfinals because the Tar Heels have struggled the last two weeks. Virginia will beat Pittsburgh in the semifinals before losing to Duke Sunday.

Big East– Villanova: After two blowout losses earlier this season to Creighton, I like Villanova to buckle down on defense and defeat the Bluejays in the championship game.

Big Ten– Wisconsin: I can see half a dozen teams win this tournament. I have liked Wisconsin all year because of their balance on offense and defense. Ohio State has struggled this season but has had recent success in this tournament. I’m concerned with Michigan State’s late season struggles and think Iowa will beat them in the quarterfinals.

Big 12– Oklahoma: The Sooners aren’t the most talented team in the conference but I’ve been impressed with them this season. They have a great coach in Lon Kruger and ended the season winning three straight and five of their last six games. I have them beating Iowa State in the championship game after the Cyclones defeat Kansas in the semifinals. It looks like Kanas center Joel Emiid will be out this weekend and Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim can have a strong game with Emiid out.

Pac 12– Arizona: The best team in the conference could get a quarterfinal scare from underrated Utah. However, I think Arizona will win the tournament and Sean Miller will have his team ready especially after his classic rant at last season’s Pac 12 tournament.

SEC– Florida: Is there any other choice? They ran the table in conference play and are clearly the best team in Atlanta this weekend. Kentucky will fall in their first game as they continue to free-fall before the NCAA tournament. LSU and Ole Miss are sleepers to make the championship game. I have Tennessee beating Arkansas in the quarterfinals in a game that could decide who goes to the big dance.


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