The Daily makes its picks ahead of March Madness

Northwestern may not have made the NCAA Tournament, but that’s no reason to ignore the bracket. Five sports writers for the Daily give their take on the bracket and how Big Ten teams will fare.

Josh Walfish

Final Four: Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri The Wildcats and Orange are clearly the two best teams in the tournament, but I have the Tar Heels winning it all because I think they actually have the most talent. North Carolina lost by a single point to Kentucky in Lexington, and I think the Heels can knock off the Wildcats on neutral court. Sleeper: Belmont Georgetown has underachieved in the NCAA Tournament in the last three years. They lost to VCU last year as the 6-seed, Ohio the year before as a 3-seed and lost in the round of 32 in 2008 as a 2-seed. Belmont on the other hand went to Cameron Indoor Stadium and lost to Duke by only one point and are averaging 81.5 points per game, fourth most in the nation. The Big Ten team that will survive the longest: Tie between Michigan State and Ohio State I see both the Spartans and Buckeyes getting to the Elite Eight and losing. Both teams have played excellent basketball this season, but I don’t know if they can play consistent enough to reach New Orleans. The Big Ten team that will get knocked out first: Purdue I think the Boilermakers have Sweet 16 talent and a round of 32 draw. Getting Kansas in the third round is a tough draw for Purdue and I don’t see them winning that battle.

The second round game I am most looking forward to: Ohio vs. Michigan Most of the reason I am looking forward to this game is that “Ohio” is how Michigan football coach Brady Hoke and basketball coach John Beilein refer to Ohio State, and the Bobcats were not happy. The actual game is interesting because Ohio is a potent upset threat after taking down Georgetown two years ago. Plus, Michigan was not at its best during the Big Ten Tournament last week.