Bohls: My bracket? I’ve got Villanova ruling the NCAA roost this year


I’m stealing a page from TBS and its God-awful television show Sunday announcing this year’s college basketball bracket and getting right to the point.

Villanova’s going to win it.

For the second time in three years. Sorry to dispel all of the drama.

Why will Nova win?

The Wildcats got the guards. They got the coach, who’s got the clothes. They got the pedigree. Heck, they crushed Xavier, a No. 1 seed, twice.

As for Sunday’s announcement show, it went over like a lead balloon, which is parlance for Rick Pitino’s coaching future. I miss the old bracket reveal by region. It still gives every team hope for that very last 68th slot.

Still can’t believe the USCs and Middle Tennessee States of the world — the ones given the shaft by the selection committee that somehow invited five teams that finished 8-10 in their conferences — found out they were left out because they were simply missing from TBS’s version of the ABCs.

Let’s see, they’re past the B’s, so, hey, Baylor, you’re out. We’re into the M’s, so, sorry, Louisville. Let’s go to the O’s, and, yes, Oklahoma, you’re in — we suppose because they were so impressed by Baker Mayfield. But just as quickly, Kansas-killer Oklahoma State vanished from the 68-team field when Penn and Providence popped up.

Even Texas players were reciting their ABCs on Sunday evening. I’m guessing TBS wanted to use this platform as an educational refresher to show the majority of college basketball players are in school to learn the alphabet and not just denominations of U.S. currency.

Speaking of the investigation into college basketball excesses, which will resume at a snail’s pace, it makes you wonder if USC, Louisville and Oklahoma State were all punished for their roles in the flesh-peddling that unscrupulous agents and coaches were running. All three were bubble teams. All three were named in the FBI probe. All three stayed home.

Arizona was named, too, but the committee couldn’t very well omit the Wildcats without being obvious, so instead stuck them with a shockingly low 4 seed despite a 27-7 record, 7-foot-1 superstar lottery pick Deandre Ayton and the biggest boulder on their shoulder.

Villanova will be joined in the Final Four by Arizona from the FBI’s Most Wanted List, Big Ten regular-season champion Michigan State and the bluest of blue bloods, defending champion North Carolina, out of the tissue paper-soft West Regional.

That would mean my Final Four would be formed by a No. 1; a No. 2; a miscast, underseeded No. 3; and a No. 4.

I really wanted to pick the Spartans and my favorite coach, Tom Izzo, but they disappoint regularly. The Tar Heels, of course, escaped mention by the FBI investigation and were all but cleared of all academic fraud despite committing, well, academic fraud for decades. Go figure.

With that out of the way, here are some tips for filling out your bracket, assuming you don’t want to win if you follow my advice:

Here are a couple of teams to root for.

How do you not pull for Tennessee and former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes? He’s a personal favorite and a strong candidate for national coach of the year. Tennessee vs. Texas in a Sweet 16 game is almost too much to hope for.

I love disciplined Davidson and came close to picking it to knock off Kentucky. I’m pulling for TCU and Texas Tech.

You want a dark horse?

This is a much more athletic Mark Few Gonzaga team, with a 6-11 NBA prospect in Killian Tillie. The Bulldogs might not be that dark a horse.

Another is 12th-seeded San Dakota State, which I am taking to eliminate Ohio State.

Need a real long-shot upset?

Try 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago to knock off sixth-seeded Miami. The Ramblers are on fire with a 10-game win streak and have a road win over Florida. I’d love to pick the loose Longhorns to ride their defense and return of Mo Bamba to a Sweet 16 berth, and they could escape defense-challenged Nevada, but I just can’t see it with their scoring droughts.

You got to score to win.

That’s kept Virginia from advancing farther than it could have. I like Tony Bennett a lot and would love to see a new ACC team crack the Final Four. But I’m not sure the Cavaliers have the superstar to ride.

Favorite player to watch.

I think Alabama’s Collin Sexton might be the most athletic player in the field, but he’s coming off a concussion. You’ll get a kick out of the shot-blocking Sagabe Konate of West Virginia; he has blocked six or more shots in five games.

Flip a coin.

Florida might confound you. The Gators have been good enough to beat Auburn, Kentucky and Cincinnati and advance far, but bad enough to lose to the bottom of the SEC, like Ole Miss and South Carolina, and bow out early.

Of course, flipping a coin for every game might not be that dumb a tactic.



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