The games didn’t go on, but ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi went ahead and chose the NCAA field based on his projections for what the NCAA tournament selection committee would do if they’d been able to pick the field. We figured we’d go ahead and fill out his bracket. Can’t be wrong for once.
I told my boss I was going to pick Hofstra to go all the way. (Hey, prove me wrong.) But the idea was to give it a best guess. Here it is. And it would have turned out to be historic. A Final Four with no teams from the Power 5 leagues.
There were some tough picks along the way. I had Rutgers having a real chance to win a couple, but St. Mary’s with an even better chance, and that’s who Lunardi had the Scarlet Knights facing right away.
Lunardi provided the opportunity for the game I most would have wanted to see, Villanova against Penn State in the second round, the championship of Pennsylvania on the line. I’d gone back and forth during the year on who would win that one. I thought Penn State for much of the season, but Villanova has had more left in the tank lately, so the Wildcats at the buzzer.
Not that 'Nova fans will love this bracket, since I’ve got West Virginia taking out Jay Wright’s team in the Sweet 16. The Mountaineers are great defending the three-point line, so I just didn’t like the matchup for Villanova.
I didn’t know who I had getting to the Final Four until I started picking games. This season wasn’t like last season when many of us had Virginia going all the way and when the Cavs got lucky a couple of times, so did we. This season, San Diego State could have won, or Gonzaga, or a dozen other teams. But watching Dayton live and on television, that group was the real deal, no one-man team. But I always pick teams with a future lottery pick to win it, and that’s what Obi Toppin will be.