Crystal ball sees Carolina over UCLA

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By Bobby Brockman

It's happened once, twice, maybe three times during its previous 22-year trial-and-error run on the national tournament scene.

The old crystal ball was wiped off and made his/her/its picks just after the selection committee revealed the 65 teams on Sunday night.

It's one of those deals that the crystal ball normally changes the January picks for the entire year and this March is no different.

The crystal ball's picks in January of Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA to make the Final Four were exactly the number-one seeds the committee tabbed on Sunday.

The crystal ball did pick Kansas to win the national title nearly three months ago.

But, that would be too simple to stay with those picks. So, here's the choices made approximately 10 minutes after the bracket was revealed on Sunday.

The crystal ball does see more upsets this season than in years past, but then again if you don't hit those right on the head, you end up a game or two behind in office pools.

The No. 8-9 games are also hard to pick and that's where it starts with a slumping Indiana team to down Arkansas in the first round.

The crystal ball normally picks No. 9s over 8s, but this year went with three No. 8 (Indiana, UNLV and Brigham Young) with only No. 9 Oregon surviving.

Other first-round "upsets" should see No. 11 St. Joseph's over No. 6 Oklahoma in the Charlotte Region, No. 10 Saint Mary's downing No. 7 Miami, Fla. in the Houston Region and No. 10 Arizona upending No. 7 West Virginia in the Phoenix Region.

Not many bumps in the road projected today or tomorrow, but expect that to change on Saturday and Sunday.

Hitting the curbs on their way to the Sweet 16 could be No. 2 Tennessee falling to No. 7 Butler in the Charlotte Region, No. 5 Clemson over No. 4 Vanderbilt in the Detroit Region and No. 6 Purdue over No. 3 Xavier in the Phoenix Region.

Still not many upsets as we head to week two in "The Tourney."

Making the Elite Eight should be North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Georgetown, Pittsburgh (upsetting top Houston seed Memphis), Texas, UCLA and Duke.

Still nothing earth-shattering other than Coach Cal's team being left at home and all four No. 1 seeds are still alive.

Let's cut that in half.

North Carolina to down Louisville in Charlotte, Georgetown to stop Kansas' run in Detroit, Texas to edge Pittsburgh in Houston and UCLA to march past Duke in Phoenix.

In San Antonio, two of men's college basketball's most historic teams, North Carolina and UCLA make it to Monday night's championship game.

What about the Tar Heels 72-68 over the Bruins.

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In other post-season tournaments:

The crystal ball is sticking with Connecticut to win the women's Final Four with Tennessee, LSU and Maryland also dancing in Tampa.

The Lexington Catholic boys' squad looks to be in line to win the Sweet 16 on Saturday at Rupp Arena. That is, if they survived yesterday's first-round match-up with University Heights.

Something tells the crystal ball for some reason not to expect a LexCath-Mason County title tilt.

Other tournament championships should go to Massachusetts in the men's NIT, North Carolina State in the women's NIT and Washington (they've got a Brockman, Jon, on the team, don't they) in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.

Now, if you're a gambling person, just go bet the opposite!

The crystal ball just hopes the remote control has some backup batteries.