By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
I've never been good at picking the NCAA Tournament. I've never won a pool. Never really been close, actually.
I use my heart too much. I pick the teams I like and against the teams I don't like.
So this year I'm trying something different. I'm giving myself three seconds to pick each game. No research. Just a gut feeling. And random, irrelevant thoughts.
SECOND ROUND (because that's what they call the first round now)
(1) Louisville over (16) does it really matter?
Louisville drubs the winner of North Carolina A&T and Liberty.
(9) Missouri over (8) Colorado State
I know nothing about the Rams. Missourah is very talented.
(12) Oregon over (5) Oklahoma State
A 12 always beats a 5. And Oregon is even better than your typical 12.
(4) Saint Louis over (13) New Mexico State
I saw Saint Louis play in KC ... this means nothing. But the Billikens are pretty dang good.
(6) Memphis over (11) Middle Tennessee or St. Mary's
I'm tempted to pick St. Mary's if the Gaels win the play-in ... but nope.
(3) Michigan State over (14) Valparaiso
Dang, those replays of Bryce Drew hitting the buzzer-beater for Valpo look dated. I'm old. Anyway, Sparty rolls.
(7) Creighton over (10) Cincinnati
Teach me how to Doug(ie) McDermott.
(2) Duke over (15) Albany
Is this Albany, N.Y., we're talking about? Doesn't matter either way.
(1) Gonzaga over (16) Southern
Missouri Southern might have a better shot.
(9) Wichita State at (8) Pittsburgh
I feel like Wichita could be a lot like Tulsa in the sense that I always thought Tulsa sucked until I spent time there. Plus ... WuShock.
(12) Ole Miss over (5) Wisconsin
Another 12-5. Marshall Henderson will probably choke. But I hope not.
(4) Kansas State over (13) Boise State or La Salle
Does the Boise State basketball team play on a blue court? Just checked. Nope. But it is called Taco Bell Arena. Lame.
(6) Arizona over (11) Belmont
Belmont could prove to be a 'Killer B' again ... but probably not.
(3) New Mexico over (14) Harvard
"How do you like them apples?"
(10) Iowa State over (7) Notre Dame
Iowa State deserves some good fortune after that home loss to KU. Notre Dame deserves to lose every game for a decade after their recent uniform choices.
(2) Ohio State over (15) Iona
Wonder how embarrassing it is for Iowa when Iona gets in and the Hawkeyes don't?
(1) Kansas over (16) Western Kentucky
WKU is the Hilltoppers. Lawrence is in the eastern part of Kansas where there are actually some hills. What does that mean? Nothing.
(8) North Carolina over (9) Villanova
Like I'm going to pick against a Roy Williams-Kansas second round matchup.
(5) VCU over (12) Akron
Chances Akron pulls the upset? Zip.
(4) Michigan over (13) South Dakota State
Jackrabbit is a cool mascot, though.
(11) Minnesota over (4) UCLA
Wasn't Minnesota pretty good early on?
(3) Florida over (14) Northwestern State
Covering the MIAA, I'm pretty tired of directional school names.
(10) Oklahoma over (7) San Diego State
The opposite pick if you were to ask me where I wanted to live for the next 10 years.
(2) Georgetown over (15) Florida Gulf Coast
FGC's name makes me think the school is way up near Alabama. Just looked. It's not.
(1) Indiana over (16) teams with crappy abbreviations
LIU Brooklyn or JMU ... doesn't matter
(8) N.C. State over (9) Temple
American Aquarium are one of my favorite bands. They're N.C. State fans.
(12) Cal over (5) UNLV
UNLV nearly lost (81-80 in OT) to a team (Dixie State) that Pitt State beat. Plus, I've been on Cal's campus. It's purty.
(4) Syracuse over (13) Montana
This isn't FCS football, Griz.
(6) Butler over (11) Bucknell
I kinda want to pick the upset ... but BUTLER.
(3) Marquette over (14) Davidson
Marquette has great unis.
(2) Miami over (15) Pacific
Here I am.
ROUND OF 32
(9) Missouri over (1) Louisville
Both of these teams have a penchant for losing big games. I think Louisville will lose this one.
(4) Saint Louis over (12) Oregon
Billikens playing for Majerus.
(3) Michigan State over (6) Memphis
Memphis still the class of C-USA. That's not saying too much.
(2) Duke over (7) Creighton
Dookies say "Go back to Omahahahaha"
(1) Gonzaga over (9) Wichita State
Gonzaga is overrated. But Shockers seem to lose winnable games a lot.
(4) Kansas State over (12) Ole Miss
K-State's defense can shut down Henderson and Co.
(3) New Mexico over (6) Arizona
Neighborly brawl goes to Lobos.
(10) Iowa State over (2) Ohio State
I don't know why I don't have any faith in the Buckeyes ... but I don't
(1) Kansas over (8) North Carolina
Will Roy show up in the next round wearing a Jayhawk sticker?
(4) Michigan over (5) VCU
Rams won't get a chance to repeat their upset of KU.
(3) Florida over (6) UCLA
UCLA shows how down the Pac-12 is.
(2) Georgetown over (10) Oklahoma
Sooners really no match here.
(1) Indiana over (8) N.C. State
Wolfpack could make it interesting.
(4) Syracuse over (12) Cal
Orange gets easy walk into Sweet 16.
(6) Butler over (3) Marquette
Just feels like Butler belongs in Sweet 16.
(2) Miami over (10) Colorado
Maybe the Buffs would have a shot if they were playing at Boulder's elevation.
(9) Missouri over (4) Saint Louis
Tigers too strong for the school up the road.
(2) Duke over (3) Michigan State
Coach K beats Izzo in clash of top coaches.
(4) Kansas State over (1) Gonzaga
Wildcats (not Mildcats) catch a break with a weak No. 1 seed.
(3) New Mexico over (10) Iowa State
Steam runs out for Cyclones.
(1) Kansas over (4) Michigan
Hail to the victors ... who will be from the Sunflower State.
(2) Miami over (6) Butler
Like I said, it just feels like Butler belongs in the Sweet 16.
(2) Duke over (9) Missouri
Duke says "Sorry about the whole Quinn Snyder thing ...but we're still gonna go ahead and beat ya."
(4) Kansas State over (3) New Mexico
How the heck did I end up with the Wildcats in the Final Four!?
(3) Florida over (1) Kansas
Kansas struggles with well-coached teams. Bill Donovan coaches well.
(1) Indiana over (2) Miami
Hoosiers say "We're inland. We aren't scared of Hurricanes." (With apologies to the K-State Mask)
Duke over Kansas State
K-State shouldn't be this far to start with.
Indiana over Florida
Hoosiers not the home team down south, but they'll get the job done against the Gators.
Indiana over Duke
Guess we'll have to hear about how Indiana is the center of the hoops universe now.