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Clayton Picks the Entire Tournament Correctly: The Miss Cleo of College Football’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket

Down the Drive has asked me to put my powers of clairvoyance to use on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

AAC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Down the Drive has asked me to put my powers of clairvoyance to use on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

“But ‘The Miss Cleo of College Football,’” a voice from on-high asks. That voice is one of the voices from the heavens that transmitted the future to me last fall. One of the voices that made you enough money to quit your job, move into the Big Rapids, Michigan Red Roof Inn, hire your cousin Chad to fetch you Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Readys three times a day and watch fishing shows off-and-on till the break of dawn from Thanksgiving night until that night last week when the Mecosta County Sheriffs showed up and made you leave Room 235 for refusing to pay your bill. Or maybe that was just me.

“What do you know about basketball, ‘The Miss Cleo of College Football’?” that voice from the heavens asks again.

“Yes, I gained fame and fortune as the ‘Miss Cleo of College Football,’ picking every single game correctly all autumn,” I responded. “But I also covered Bearcats’ basketball this winter. To prepare UC fans for each game, I created an informative and hilarious video vault column, which you should go read right now. And then you should follow me on twitter @ClaytonTrutor.”

“You’ve convinced me!” That voice said before handing over an advanced copy of the April 4th, 2017 Arizona Republic.

Without further delay, here are your Final Four: Virginia, Gonzaga, Kansas and Butler.

Stick around to see how we get there and who gets to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Note that I only offer my astute analysis on the First Four and Round of 64 matchups. I just tell you the exact score of the games in subsequent rounds. For more in-depth information on later round matchups, call Miss Cleo at 1-900-MIS-CLEO. 99 cents for the first minute. $2 for each additional minute. Kids, please ask for your parents’ permission before calling.

USC v UCLA Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The First Four

East Region: No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s vs. No. 16 New Orleans: The other day, my brother and I were playing some NBA Live 95. Sonics center and University of New Orleans basketball standout Ervin “Non-Magic” Johnson contributed a workmanlike 12 points and eight boards to Seattle’s (and my brother’s) 108-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The University of New Orleans Privateers will beat Mount St. Mary’s in a similarly workmanlike fashion.

New Orleans 67, Mount St. Mary’s 60

East Region: No. 11 Providence vs. No. 11 USC

Southern Cal doesn’t have an answer for Austin Croshere.

Providence 72, USC 64

Midwest Region: No. 16 North Carolina Central vs. No. 16 UC-Davis

“My take on superheroes is that if they existed in today’s real world, they would be huge celebrities, the ultimate stars, the trend setters.” – Rob Liefeld, on UC-Davis’ likely use of a 2-3 zone to contain North Carolina Central’s dribble-penetration.

NC Central 101, UC Davis 82

West Region: No. 11 Kansas State vs. No. 11 Wake Forest

Pencil in Wake Forest as Cincinnati’s opponent this Friday night.

The Demon Deacons are going to go as far in this tournament as their big man John Collins takes them. Collins, the most versatile low-post player in the ACC, is the centerpiece of their offense. A genuine point forward, Collins creates great shots for himself and open looks around the perimeter for the outstanding array of long range shooters on the Demon Deacons’ roster.

Wake Forest 81, Kansas State 67

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Virginia Cavaliers Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s work our way through the East Region

Round of 64

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 16 New Orleans

The defending national champion Villanova Wildcats plan to turn down their NCAA bid this year for a shot at the NIT. These kids have never been to New York, son. They have never seen Keith Hernandez smoke a cigarette on no subway. They didn’t get to go to Ray Knight and Nancy Grace’s wedding. They never ate no big sandwiches with Wally Backman or cried themselves to sleep on the Staten Island Ferry in Darryl Strawberry’s arms. These kids don’t know the mysteries of Jesse Orosoco. They have never called Ron Darling ‘darling.’ They’ve never gone roller skating with David Cone. They don’t know what it’s like to go sunbathing with Howard Johnson on Rockaway Beach or to give Roger MacDowell a belly raspberry after he falls during ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Everyone should get the chance to ride on a horse drawn carriage through Central Park, driven by none other than Ron Gardenhire. Everyone should get a chance to bend over backwards to kiss the statue of Continental League founder William Shea.

This is really just an ad for my summer program. We match kids from suburban Philadelphia with members of the ’86 Mets. They all do it for free. Except Wally Backman. He charges a $300 fee.

Villanova 77, New Orleans 72

No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech

This March, expect a triumphant last hurrah from the remnants of that 2015 Badgers team. Also, you should expect that new Batman movie to be something else. I saw it the other day and let me tell you, George Clooney was the right choice for the caped crusader. Putting an established actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger across from him in the Superman role was a similarly astute choice by director Wes Craven. As was the director’s decision to have Batman rap all his lines.

Wisconsin 74, Virginia Tech 62

No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington

Transported from the Lost Land by Solaar’s power, Virginia coach Tony Bennett found himself back in his true home: Rome, 408 AD! Bennett hurried to the camp of his uncle, eager to rejoin his loved ones and begin the beguine. But this coach of God-like power isn’t the Tony Bennett that the Bennett clan remembers. He has much nicer sunglasses and a newly cleft chin. Bennett buries himself in his armor, craving only oblivion.

Virginia 82, UNC-Wilmington 72

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State

18 Albanys. 21 Clevelands. 18 Buffalos. 15 Nashvilles. 15 Rochesters. 12 Denvers. 12 Houstons. 11 Dallases. 30 Salems. 20 Columbuses. 28 Springfields.

There is but one Gainesville and one Johnson City that matters. And Johnson City is in the old Smoky Mountain Wrestling Territory and that is good enough for me. Good enough for me to believe that ETSU will beat the spread, but not quite beat the Gators.

Florida 61, East Tennessee State 60

No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 Providence

Tim Jankovich (TJ): Bobby Murcer is an Oklahoma man and so was Mickey Mantle. So is Jim Ross.

Ed Cooley (EC): With North America in disarray, the Oklahoma ambassador arrived yesterday in search of Magnus, who has gone to live as a Goph. In a Goph Bar, Magnus befriended Felina, whose boyfriend, Slagger, thinks Magnus is out to steal his woman.

TJ: They fought. It inspired mutual respect.

EC: Sycho Sid defeated Rexo with her flamingo powers and escaped the Spider Allen moonbase. Back on earth, they ditched the Oklahoma ambassador who had sold them out to Rexo.

TJ: Kids parted ways as friends. Went back to where they was from.

EC: Will Sycho Sid, Flamingo Kris and Pete regroup in time to save Torque from Ax’s hit squad?

TJ: Owasso, Oklahoma’s own Shake Milton was a popular high school hall monitor who had few worries in life. That was before he discovered that he was a member of the Ultratech Exiles, who could help him harness his pyrokinetic powers.

EC: In a brave new world filled with ultra-technology, ultra-magic, ultra-heroes and ultra-villains, it’s only natural that the Ultratech Exiles would be at the forefront of both high-tech research and high-tech marketing. Ultratech has created electricity-manipulating jumpstarters that are capable of creating energy from the organic components of a Giant Eagle dumpster.

TJ: From what I hear, they are represented in public by Leo Kontopoulous, an exoskeleton-clad individual who is a trademark, a spokesperson, a product demonstrator and a real ultra-hero all wrapped up into one man. Before founding Ultratech, his favorite companions were computers, gadgets, and video cassettes. Now he has friends in the Ultratech Exiles such as Freex Plug, and Windsor Knot, who all have the power to commune directly with data-streams.

SMU 82, Providence 67

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State

“Long ago in a kingdom located on the Wold, the king of an ancient realm ordered his court magician to create a friend to entertain the young prince. The magician obeyed and created Lord Pumpkin. Giving his creation a magic candle was his first mistake. Giving him free will was his second. Lord Pumpkin planned and waited. When the timing was right, he blew a dragon-like flame from his candle and torched the king, prince and all knights loyal to the court. Now, Lord Pumpkin rules and all live in fear.”- excerpts from NMSU coach Paul Weir’s pre-game pep talk before its first round matchup against the Baylor Bears.

Baylor 93, New Mexico State 28

No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette:

South Carolina’s Frank Martin is an American original and an irascible genius, but I don’t think he has any answers for Marquette’s front court of Dwayne Wade, Jerome Whitehead and Maurice Lucas.

Marquette 61 South Carolina 57

2. Duke vs. 15. Troy

I have one thing to say to all you Duke Blue Devil basketball fans out there. I have five predictions for the 2017 Major League Baseball season:

1. Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge will hit 40 home runs this season, strikeout 200 times,and get elected Bronx borough president this fall by popular acclaim after a four week run in Kinky Boots.

2. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager will shave for the first time before the All Star break.

3. Orioles slugger Chris Davis will continue his evolution into Rob Deerdom this year. 30 plus home runs and fewer than 70 RBIs.

4. Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw will hit 40 home runs, sign a big off-season contract, celebrate by gorging on Von Trier’s Brats and show up in 2018 shaped like Pablo Sandoval.

5. Plucky Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall will have a 2017 that looks a lot like Cardinals great Tommy Herr’s 1982. He will drive in 100 runs and hit fewer than 10 homers.

Duke 84, Troy 73

Round of 32

(8) Wisconsin 85 (1) Villanova 83

(5) Virginia 67 (4) Florida 62

(3) Baylor 78 (6) SMU 71

(2) Duke 68 (10) Marquette 64

Sweet 16

(5) Virginia 75 (8) Wisconsin 71

(3) Baylor 83 (2) Duke 77

Elite 8

(5) Virginia 82 (3) Baylor 74

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary's Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Now for the Midwest Region

Round of 64

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State

Gonzaga is the most complete team in this tournament. Junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss has a nice touch on medium and long-range jump shots and is very effective on the drive. Jordan Matthews is an outstanding outside shooter as well as a quick, efficient ball handler and distributor. Zach Collins and Johnathan Williams are similarly deadly from beyond the arc. Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski is a massive stone-like giant that can crush anything in his path. Inside, this mountain-like hero is a gentle soul with a heart of gold.

Gonzaga 91, South Dakota State 55

No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt:

At the dawn of history, two powerful immortals, Willie the Wildcat and Mr. Commodore, were born to a warrior tribe that was mostly slain. The two parted as brothers and struggle once again in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Following post-game refreshments, they will meet once again to fight the Geomancer Gilad in the greatest battle of all-time: the Anni-Padda Unity Conflict.

Vanderbilt 64, Northwestern 62

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton

Princeton football coach Bob Surace is handsomer than Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, but Mike Brey is one of the handsomest coaches in college basketball. In person, he looks 10 years younger than he does on television. Princeton basketball coach Mitch Henderson is a bit of a Kevin McHale/Muldoon type in the looks department.

Notre Dame 72, Princeton 59

No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell:

Marie Osmond’s hobbies include fishing, horseback riding, skiing and snowmobiling with her three children. On the other hand, Lee Greenwood collects jean jackets.

The immortal Bob Huggins could be friends with the both of them. He shares all of their hobbies plus he has a legendary love for candlelit dinners.

West Virginia 83, Bucknell 62

No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier:

Did you know that Xavier is the only campus in America that both appeared in Police Academy III (the graduation scene at the beginning) and has a fully-operational Ann Taylor Loft on campus? This weekend only, Ann Taylor Loft-Xavier is offering 30 percent off all Carson Tassel Suede Pumps. These fanciful, sensationally strappy silhouetted pumps are regularly priced at $179. If you head over to our convenient location on Victory Parkway, you can get them for just $148! With spring approaching, it is just about time for all you ladies out there to show off those freshly waxed feet of yours in this undeniably sophisticated and simultaneously comfortable pair of three inch heels.

Xavier 81, Maryland 70

3. Florida State vs. 14. Florida-Gulf Coast

Bobby Bowden: Yngwie Malmsteen can do some amazing things with that Stratocaster of his. This Swede has pioneered a frenzied neoclassical style that fuses equal parts of Paganini, Blackmore, Hendrix and Bach in a pyrotechnical display of intricate melodicism and screaming metal crunch.

Terry Bowden: I’m more of a Maxi Priest man, myself. He has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for his novel blending of reggae with other pop forms.

Bobby Bowden: I prefer hanging out with Vanilla Ice and his Posse to listening to Maxi Priest’s 1989 album Bona Fide, which includes a number of conventional pop ballads aimed at broadening his appeal.

Terry Bowden: I hang out with Vanilla Ice, too. We hang out at his The Woodlands, Texas estate and ride his jet skis, drive his limited edition Emerson-Fitipaldi 5.0 convertible and watch copious amounts of Miami Vice in our jammies.

Bobby Bowden: Miami Vice is my least favorite show of all time. I don’t like The Woodlands either. That is some Houston non-sense. I am a Metroplex man, myself. That’s why my favorite band is Lord Tracy, which was formed in Dallas in 1985 as 3-D. In 1986, they changed their name to the Traci Lords, but the actress who shares that name filed a lawsuit against them, which caused them to change their name.

Terry Bowden: I saw Lord Tracy open for Soul II Soul at Club Soda in Montreal. I like their funki-dred lifestyle, which combines MCing, turntablism, graffiti and b-boy culture.

Bobby Bowden: I like all of that except b-boy culture. I prefer the culture of Northern Ontario, especially the culture you find in the town of Buckhorn, where Canadian pop sensation Alannah Myles grew up. Her family raised horses on their ranch in Buckhorn. Later on, when Myles and her collaborators needed a place to write and rehearse, they just went back to the ranch.

Terry Bowden: I like Alannah Myles’ backup band. They got a lot of substance. I love the way that they emerged from Manhattan’s Lower East Side grunge-rock scene in 1987. Their work is proof positive that there is more to this bunch than their tattoos, motorcycles, and attitude.

Bobby Bowden: If you ask me, FSU’s chances in this tournament depend largely on the way that sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon plays. He scores well on the drive and has an above average outside touch. He possesses good quickness too. If I were Leonard Hamilton, I would tell Dwayne that he needs to square up more before taking the outside jumper and he needs to move better without the ball.

FSU 86, FGCU 80

No. 7 St. Mary’s vs. No. 7 Virginia Commonwealth

Pregame festivities for this one will consist of me ceremonially licking Randy Bennett and Will Wade’s heads. It will be my second highest profile gig of 2017. I rang in the New Year by giving Bret Bielema and Rob Ryan belly-raspberries outside the Wawa in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

St. Mary’s 74, VCU 72

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota

North Dakota coach Brian Jones fuses George Clinton’s wacky P-Funk sound and attitude with hip hop, delivering a triple dope, super-stupid, cold-ignorant underground humpty-funk style rap game that has expanded popular music’s boundaries with its open-mindedness. He also has a really common name.

Arizona 64, North Dakota 60

Round of 32:

(1) Gonzaga 83 (9) Vanderbilt 70

(5) Notre Dame 75 (4) West Virginia 70

(3) FSU 84 (11) Xavier 61

(7) St. Mary’s 67 (2) Arizona 62

Sweet 16:

(1) Gonzaga 79 (5) Notre Dame 72

(3) FSU 81 (7) St. Mary’s 78

Elite 8:

(1) Gonzaga 75 (3) FSU 70

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Onto the South Region

Round of 64

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 NC Central:

Kansas’ powerful backfield combination of Gale Sayers and John Riggins will be enough to overcome North Carolina Central’s sizeable front-line. KU’s Frank Mason and Josh Jackson are also pretty good.

The most boring 30 for 30 is kind of about Kansas basketball. It’s about some guy named Reggie who buys the rules to basketball and brings them to Tornado Alley and they sing “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” at the end. As the Young Indiana Jones said, “The Cup of Coronado belongs in a Museum!”

Kansas 83, NC Central 51

No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Michigan State

What a treat of a first round matchup. Two of the best coaches in college basketball: Tom Izzo and Jim Larranaga. I love Michigan State’s versatile freshman point guard Cassius Winston. He reminds me of a young Steve Smith with his play-making ability, defensive bravado and excellent dribble penetration. This Miami team has a lot of veterans from their March runs of the previous two seasons. I ate each of my four favorite candy bars while figuring out my pick for this one: Kit Kat, Oh Henry!, Coffee Crisp and Krackel. This led me back to Larranaga.

Miami 64, Michigan State 58

No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada

Reno is being considered for next year’s version of MTV’s The Real World. Ames is not.

Nevada 81 Iowa State 58

No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont

I guarantee you that Vermont is going to make it to the Sweet 16. There is not a deeper team in the Tournament than John Becker’s club from beautiful Burlington, Vermont. For the Catamounts to make it to the Sweet 16, they are going to have to beat a very good Purdue team. Purdue might be good, but so was Brock Lesnar and look what Goldberg did to him at Survivor Series. Expect something similar this Thursday night in Milwaukee.

Vermont 85, Purdue 52

No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island

My crystal ball says Rhode Island is a Sweet 16 team as well. Despite my selection of the Rams in this one, that doesn’t mean that my dispute with the State of Rhode Island has come to an end.

The State of Rhode Island is not allowing me to change my name to Frank Stallone. I called up the Probate Court in Lincoln and they told me I couldn’t just change my name to Frank Stallone because he has more twitter followers than I do. ven if they allowed me to change my name to Frank Stallone, I would have to pay $200 in processing fees. I assured them that the real Frank Stallone would take care of that for me.

Rhode Island 74, Creighton 72

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona:

When I was growing up, Iona had a lot more ads on WPIX during reruns of Growing Pains than Ed Orgeron did. I’m happy that he got the LSU job and I think that he’s going to win this game, but that does not matter as far as this story goes. All the neighborhood kids would show up at my house during Growing Pains, expecting me to make them English Muffin pizzas. Which I did. While I was making their pizzas, they would chant “Iona Buick. Iona Xbox 360. Iona Pot-Belly Stove. Iona 0.8 GPA and I can’t play in the tournament” and I was never able to hear any of Growing Pains, except for the theme song. All nine of my neighbors stood in silent reverence once B.J. Thomas’ honeysuckle voice struck up the opening notes to “As Long as We Got Each Other.” They would sway back and forth until the song’s final refrain. Then they would drop down into the lotus position for the next half-hour.

Orgeron 22, Iona 17

No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State:

When it comes to Oklahoma State golfers, I say stick with David Edwards. That boy made All-American in 1977 and 1978. He won the national title in 1978 by shooting a 65 at the Great American Bash. When it comes to Oklahoma State tennis players, I say stick with Lori McNeil. She was part of the Big Eight doubles championship teams both in ’82 and ’83. Ike Groce really put a great team together there in Stillwater in those days. That was back when Garth Brooks was working as a bouncer at a bar right there in Stillwater called “KASH BEAUCHAMP’S.” He met his first wife when kicking her out of “KASH BEAUCHAMP’S” for fighting with these two fellers from Arkansas who said that Buddy Ryan was a better guard for the OSU Cowboys football team in the mid-1950s than John “Marmaduke” Ward was in the mid-1960s.

Oklahoma State 67, Michigan 64

No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State

Louisville has a lot of great eating and drinking establishments, especially Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar on West Main near the Yum! Center. If you aren’t in Louisville, I suggest a trip to “KASH BEAUCHAMP’S.”

If “KASH BEAUCHAMP’S,” my favorite pretend bar in Stillwater, Oklahoma, ever gets bottle service, I want the VIP section to be stocked with Indianapolis Indians pitcher Dan Gakeler, Tidewater Tides pitching coach John Cumberland, Louisville Redbirds infielder Julian Martinez, Oklahoma City 89ers catcher Dave Engle, Nashville Sounds catcher Terry McGriff and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons pitcher Steve Sharts.

Louisville 107, Jacksonville State 103

Round of 32

(1) Kansas 87 (8) Miami 82

(13) Vermont 78 (12) Nevada 70

(11) Rhode Island 101 (3) Oregon 27

(2) Louisville 17 (10) Oklahoma State 16

Sweet 16:

(1) Kansas 77 (13) Vermont 76

(2) Louisville 75 (11) Rhode Island 67

Elite 8:

(1) Kansas 85 (2) Louisville 78

Xavier v Butler Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Finally, the West Region

Round of 64

No. North Carolina vs. No. 16 Texas Southern

Tar Heel basketball legend Larry Miller was the ACC Player of the Year in both 1967 and 1968. Tar Heel football legend Ken Powell was an All-American as a senior in 1949. You know what they had in common? They both majored in business administration. So did former UNC quarterback Mark Maye (1984-1987). Mitch Kupchak was a psych and poli-sci double major. Kenny Smith was an industrial relations man. 980s Tarheel guard and longtime college head coach Buzz Peterson must really like maps. He majored in geography!

UNC 99, Texas Southern 54

No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Seton Hall: Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington and center Angel Delgado are the 2017 versions of long and lithe Terry Dehere and bread truck Jerry Walker, but Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley is a cross between Corliss Williamson and Road Warrior Hawk. Hawk and Corliss are the people’s tag team champions.

Arkansas 72, Seton Hall 70

No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee State

“Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were,” – opening line to upcoming novel by 19-year-old American gaming legend Goldie Gopher.

Minnesota 77, MTSU 76

No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Winthrop

Butler Blue (BB): Sterett, Texas’ own Boxcar Willie could rattle off country lyrics before he could even talk in sentences.

The Winthrop Eagle (TWE): That’s why his TV album, King of the Road, sold more than three million copies. That’s as many copies as Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.

BB: You ask me, that is Lindsey Buckingham’s master work. Really ingenious engineering on that record.

TWE: Wrong again Chuckles. Tusk is just a low-rent version of Tango in the Night.

BB: You know what I’m right about is Boxcar Willie. His hobbies include metal detecting and fishing.

TWE: Boxcar Willie’s got a theatre in Branson. He has those Lowe Sisters sing there sometimes. They’ve been to the Opry. They’ve had some hits on the old Cash Box charts. They got interviewed on Ralph Emery’s Nashville Now syndicated program back in 1988.

BB: So did I.

TWE: The Lowe Sisters open for the legendary Blackwood Quartet sometimes too. The Blackwoods are one of Branson’s hottest tickets. THE ONE FACE THAT REMAINS CONSTANT WITH THE BLACKWOODS IS THAT OF RON BLACKWOOD. NOTHING CAN STOP HIM. HE IS INDESTRUCTIBLE.

BB: So is T.G. Sheppard. That Humboldt, Tennessee native began his career playing in various rock bands in Memphis, but he went country and he can be seen most nights of the week at the Roy Clark Theatre in Branson.

Butler 88, Winthrop 48

6. Cincinnati vs. 11. Wake Forest: As I said earlier, John Collins is a certified g and a bonafide stud, but this Cincinnati club of ours has that 1992 feel to it. Troy Caupain is our confident Van Exelesque dribble penetration guy who makes all the open shots, dishes with the best of them and is unafraid to take the big one. Gary Clark, Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington are as consistent a group of scorers as one of Mick Cronin’s rough and tumble ballclubs has ever had. This team of ours was built for March.

The only thing that will keep Cincinnati out of the Final Four is a top secret NCAA investigation into a seven-man fantasy football ring in the UC Athletic Department that includes two football managers, two members of the swim team, a club lacrosse guy, the power forward on the intramural championship basketball team and the cousin of one of the guys from the swim team. This massive gambling operation, which brought in nearly $40 in 2016, will be broken up just in time to force the Bearcats to withdraw from the NCAA Tournament. NCAA sanctions are expected to include a five-year, institution-wide ban from post-eason play, demolition of the Fifth Third Arena, the loss of five basketball and swimming scholarships, and the return of the “Cincinnati Club Lacrosse” jackets to the Athletic Department, even though the guys on the team paid for them with their own money.

Cincinnati 75, Wake Forest 72

No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 14 Kent State:

One summer I got really into eating passenger pigeons. I cooked them in my Showtime Rotisserie as I stood atop Devil’s Tower. I collected basketball cards of former UCLA swingman Mitchell Butler and I collected Trader Joe’s bags until I had enough of each to make a parachute that served as my salvation one chilly August evening.

UCLA 88, Kent State 65

No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State

The New Kids on the Block still consider themselves “regular guys.” When Jonathan, Jordan, Joey, Danny and Donnie think about their superstar status, it really blows their minds (GET IT?). They are glad that their celebrity status gives them the chance to make their fans aware of important social issues like education crime, and drugs. Donnie’s favorite subject in school is math because “it almost always has a solution.” Danny’s favorite cartoon character is Woody Woodpecker. Jordan is quite the comedian! He cracks up the guys with his impressions of Elvis Presley.

Wichita State 82, Dayton 73

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky

Malik Monk 73, Northern Kentucky 38

Round of 32

(1) UNC 83 (8) Arkansas 82

(4) Butler 76 (5) Minnesota 65

(6) Cincinnati 78 (3) UCLA 70

(2) Kentucky 89 (10) Wichita State 77

Sweet 16:

(4) Butler 84 (1) UNC 80

(2) Kentucky 81 (6) Cincinnati 77

Elite 8:

(4) Butler 78 (2) Kentucky 72

Final Four (Days Inn Parking Lot, 1660 West Eliot Road, Tempe, Arizona):

National Semi-Finals:

(1) Gonzaga 75 (5) Virginia 72

(4) Butler 77 (1) Kansas 71

National Championship Game: (is on during the Monday Night Raw right after Wrestlemania, so I will be flipping over to basketball when I think of it during the ads)

(4) Butler 80 (1) Gonzaga 73

As always, this is a work of parody and not intended to be taken seriously. For more of the same, follow me on twitter @ClaytonTrutor