Great news for area basketball fans, the Ludington Orioles beat Clare 62-45  tonight to advance to the Class B Region 16 Championship.  After humiliating Cadillac by 51-21 previously, the boy Orioles will play Gladstone (a team with a 4-4 record in a tough conference) on March 15 in Grayling with momentum going their way. 

While I don't want to jinx the home team by hedging bets on how far they go into the state tourney, I will note that the calendar on the wall says it's March and that can mean only one thing:  the NCAA Tournament is on and March Madness has set in. 

Our state has perennial representatives MSU and UM in the Midwest corner of the brackets and although they both haven't had stellar seasons the Wolverines finished the season by winning the coveted Big Ten Tournament and yet managed to be seeded only seven.  The Spartans had a hit and miss season, but Tom Izzo's squad has rarely disappointed in the tournament, often going much farther than the odds-makers allowed. 

Your challenge, if you decide to accept it, is to choose the colleges that advance to the Sweet Sixteen, the Final Four, and the ultimate winner.  Face it, nobody really cares about the Thirsty Thirty-twos and the Elite Eight, or even the Toothy Twos, it's just a transition you have to get past. 

 

It's simple really, the teams you pick to advance to each stage will be compared with the experts that determined the seedings.  They have chose the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seed teams (that's the number near the team for the unwary) to be the teams in each of the four sections to be the ones most likely to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.  This rarely happens as all these teams are good, but some have bad days and others have great days, and upsets happen. 

Your first task is to pick the sixteen teams that will advance, and do a better job than those who chose the seeds.  Don't be a dullard and select the 1-4 seeds yourself, you can't possibly beat the odds-makers then, only tie them-- and ties are boring.  Have bad vision?  Click on the picture and it will fill your screen.

Still having trouble deciding what to do, I'll go out on a limb myself; here are my picks starting from the top right 16th:

Wisconsin, Virginia, Baylor, Duke.   Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Xavier, VCU.

Michigan State, Purdue, Oregon, Michigan.  Arkansas, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Kentucky.

Pick your sixteen and let's see if we can have somebody beat the odds.  There will be a prize for those who do.  

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I'd rather fail on picks and see more upsets... And M to win it all.

I never pick Duke or Norte Dame

But...

Villanova-  Florida-  Baylor-  S Carolina-  Nwestern-  W Virgina-  Florida St-  Arizona-  

Miami-  Purdue-  Oregon-  MICHIGAN-  N Carolina-  Butler-  UCLA-  Kentucky

I love the upsets too, but if they were the norm, they just wouldn't be upsets.  Good picks, Brad.  Hurry in to get your choices locked in.  In a weeks time we will do the same on the road to the Final Four.

See ya picked ...Xavier...

A sentimental favorite, of course. 

What if the Final Four turned out to be:  Xavier, Louisville, Florida and Dayton.  The XLFD Final Four.  It could happen.

These are my picks. Villanova, Florida, Baylor, Duke, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Florida State, Arizona, Kansas, Purdue, Oregon, Louisville, North Carolina, Butler, Kentucky, UCLA

Please donate my prize to the "Save Ludington From Stupid Politicians" foundation.

Besides football this is my favorite time of year for this sport! Those kids so hungry for a career! MARCH MADNESS!!! LOVEIT!! MSU, U of M Oakland favs, but its all awesome!

Gladstone and Ludington hooked up in a dandy Class B boys’ regional basketball championship game Wednesday until the fourth quarter. The Orioles outscored the Braves 27-15 in the fourth and pulled away for a 63-48 victory at Grayling High School.  With the win, the Orioles (23-2) advance to the state semifinals Tuesday March 21st at Battle Creek Central and take on Lake Fenton (20-5), which defeated Frankenmuth 68-52. Gladstone finishes its season with an 18-6 record.

Meanwhile, the countdown to the Sweet Sixteen has already started, Michigan and MSU will both play today, while about half of the other first round match-ups have occurred.  We have three predictions in.

Winners in the brackets and their seeds over the last week in the path to the Sweet 16:

Wisconsin8, Florida4, Baylor3, SC7

Gonzaga1, WV4, Xavier11, Arizona2

Kansas1, Purdue4, Oregon3, Michigan7

Butler4, NC1, Kentucky2, UCLA3

The seedmasters chose an impressive 12

I scored only 8.  Frowns, but I did pick 3 of 4 upset teams.

Brad scored 12.  Great job, nabbed two upsets.

Willy Scored 11.  Good job, but no upset picks.

Brad, Willy, feel free to choose a Final Four. 

Mine will be:  Wisconsin, Xavier, Michigan, Kentucky.  Go X.

Final 4-

Michigan (obvious)

N Carolina (followed when Worthy)

S Carolina (award for beating Duke)

Gonzaga (cuz I remember them being underdogs)

Discalimer- I don't watch bball till March... And then shoot from the hip (not granny though)

Florida vs Gonzaga. Michigan vs Kentucky. Michigan vs Gonzaga final with a Michigan win of it all! 3 of my original final 4 picks still active, Villanova let me down! Love March madness!

Final Four

Florida - Gonzaga - Kansas - UCLA

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