Fat Guy’s Corner

Let the madness begin

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

The Michigan State Spartans added a Big Ten Tournament championship to the trophy case this past weekend. Yes, after that devastating loss on the final day of the Big Ten regular season, coach Izzo told the Izzone crowd, “The Spartans will bring back the championship.” The ole coach made good on his promise by defeating the OSU Buckeyes, 68- 64. Draymond Green hits a huge three and Brandon Wood hit for a career-high 21 points in a Spartan uniform. It was MSU’s first win in the tourney since 2000. The victory earned the Spartans a numberone seed in the NCAA Tournament. Actually, I thought they deserved to be ranked ahead of North Carolina as a number-one seed. The Spartans, I am sure, have no complaints. Thursday, the bouncing of the orange pumpkin kicks off the greatest weekend of hoops ever created — Bracket Mania! It’s time to go through the four regions and get some Fat Guy predictions.

The South Region has the numberone overall seed in the Kentucky Wildcats. No one has more pressure in my eyes in this tournament than one John Calipari. He’s the recruiter of one-and-done college basketball players. Hey, I don’t hold it against him, like many others do. The rules say you can do it, and he just does it, just like the Nike slogan says! John has yet to win an NCAA title and this team is loaded to accomplish that feat. Will they do it? I don’t know if they will win it all, but they will make a Final Four appearance. The Wildcats will come out of the South. I feel Wichita State will make the Sweet Sixteen. VCU, last year’s Final Four surprise, loses to the Shockers in round two. U-Conn also loses to Iowa State as a nine seed. Say goodbye to last year’s NCAA winners in round two, also. Keep an eye on Baylor, as it is playing good basketball right now. Duke is a solid sleeper, as no one is talking about them.

The East Region has number-one seeded Syracuse. The “Cuse” have been known to gag in the NCAAs over the years. I feel as though they could again. I have KSU taking them down in round number three. It’s my shocker of the tournament. I just don’t like the way the “Cuse” is playing right now. This bracket has three other teams which could be Final-Four bound — the number-two seeded Buckeyes, the number-three seed FSU, or numberfive seed Vanderbilt. The East has some potential to be a volatile bracket.

My dark horse is number-five seed Vanderbilt. It has four seniors starting and is experienced. In the first-round upset, look for Montana to take down “Bucky The Badger” Wisconsin.

The Midwest Region has North Carolina as the number one seed.

Could Carolina be on a collision course to play number-four seeded Michigan?

I believe so. Michigan has the MAC winners, the Ohio Bobcats. It’s ironic that the team Ohio is actually who they play. We all know Ohio State is now known as the team from OHIO, according to John Beilein and Brady Hoke. Michigan will reach the Sweet Sixteen and then lose to Carolina. Belmont will upset number three seeded Georgetown as a number-14 seed. I like St. Mary’s over the Boilermakers of Purdue. How about the U-of-D Titans drawing a 15 seed and having to play Kansas? I am pulling for the Titans, as I am not taking Kansas to go very far. Let Dicky V scream and shout about a U-of-D upset!

The West Region is home for Big Ten champs MSU Spartans. The experts are all in love with the green and white. A couple of them like them to win it all. MSU needs to be on guard for either St. Louis or Memphis. A possible upset could loom in round three for them. However, I like MSU to make the Sweet Sixteen. The other two dangerous teams, I feel, are Missouri and Marquette. Missouri is a popular choice to make the Final Four. They play four guards, so if you like guard play, this is your team. Marquette is also solid and could make a run in the tourney. I want to see how the Murray State Racers do in this bracket, too! They only have one loss on their resume this season.

The brackets are filled out and I hope all of you do well. Be the king of the office pool! Make some greenbacks. Take home the cheddar! Make some cabbage! Win some Ben Franklins! Enjoy the March Madness and the basketball mania! thefatguy@mihomepaper.com

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