See who David Bruton has picked to go all the way in this year's NCAA Tournament.
KENTUCKY — Danny Trevathan**
This has been an incredible season for Kentucky. How much have you been watching them?"I've checked out most of their games. It's just been exciting to see how they come out there and play with so much emotion and play together. It's amazing to see the way Calipari gets them going every year, finding those young groups of guys with so much potential and just so much to live for. It's a thrill to watch them go out there and play the way they do."
Undefeated coming in to the tournament, I mean, what can people even say at this point?"Their play speaks for themselves. They're loud about it, they're fine with being themselves and playing out there, and going out there and just playing 110 percent. Calipari, like I said, I just sit back and watch it year, every year since I left college, every year since I've been there. Every year they're a great group of guys, they're elite and they're pros. They're pros, but they're freshmen. They go out there and embarrass people and I enjoy them going there and rubbing it in people's faces."
Do you have a prediction for them? Chris Harris Jr. told me he's a little anxious about possibly seeing Kentucky later."Every year I think they're going to win it all, but I don't speak that, because I don't like to put that against them, put too much on their plate. I believe in just taking it one game at a time and just being on their side and watching those guys play. I'm a Kentucky Wildcat and you see 34-0 for a reason. Those guys are going out there and balling, and he should be scared. Tell [former KU Jayhawk] Chris [Harris Jr.] he should be scared — they're No. 2 for a reason, too — but at the same time, it's all about who plays the best on that day."
WISCONSIN — Owen Daniels
Owen Daniels' Wisconsin Badgers are a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. See how far they go in his bracket, and who he has in his Final Four.
I was looking up some stats on the Badgers and I saw they're ranked as the best overall offense in the NCAA. What's the most impressive part about this team? **"They're very efficient. They're not necessarily going to score 80 points a game, but they're very efficient in what they do and some of it's kind of been a theme of Bo Ryan's teams. Not only do they shoot more free throws than other teams shoot but they make more than other teams attempt. They're making a crazy amount more free throws, even than other teams attempting. That adds to it, makes games easier to win and adds to their efficiency."
What is it about them that makes them stand out from other teams?
"I think other teams get in foul trouble and we do a good job of playing good, clean defense, where we're obviously avoiding foul trouble and then on the offensive end, they've got to be coached well with how many free throws they're shooting to put themselves in those situations to draw fouls. I've been impressed the whole time I've been watching the program since back in 2001 that it's kind of been a theme for them."
And how impressive has Frank Kaminsky been?"He's a beast. Frank the Tank, man. He just seems to be, obviously, a great player, a steady player, a guy that can do everything — a seven-footer that obviously is a factor inside and can shoot the ball from anywhere. He's got a great supporting cast, but everything runs through him. If he's playing pretty well, they've got a pretty good shot."
What do you make of their region in the West?
"There's obviously some good teams in that region. For them being the No. 1 seed and having Arizona also be in that region as a 2 seed is a little funny to me, but they're a team that Badgers fans travel well. There are going to be plenty of Badgers fans in the stadium giving them a home-court feel, I guess you could say. They play well everywhere and I'm hoping they can get through that."
There's a chance you could face my Tar Heels, too."I think that might be a first, true test if we both make it there. That one stuck out to me. I think Wisconsin, UNC and Arizona in that bracket will be the teams to beat."
Obviously I don't want to jinx anything or count our chickens before they hatch, but how amazing would that possible Final Four matchup with Kentucky be?
"I'm looking forward to it for a number of reasons. They had that game last year where Kentucky won on the last-second three, and to be able to have a rematch, and having, really, the two most complete teams—in my opinion— in the country. Kentucky is so tall and so athletic and coached well, managed well, and you can say the same thing about Wisconsin. It's a little different, maybe not quite as flashy as the Kentucky team but very solid basketball and know how to win games. They both have been in this position many times and, on a personal level, my wife went to the University of Kentucky so there's a little added incentive there to see that game again." How far do you think Wisconsin goes this year?
"Every time I've ever filled out a bracket—going back to high school, going back to […] 2000, second semester in 2001 when I knew I was going to Wisconsin, I've always put them as National Champion, when really in reality they probably didn't have the greatest chance to get there. So at this point, I'm putting them in an upset in the semifinals over Kentucky and then having them win it all, don't care who they play."
KANSAS — Chris Harris Jr.
How deep could Chris Harris Jr,'s Jayhawks go in the NCAA Tournament? Pretty far, based on his bracket
Perry Ellis has arguably been Kansas' best player. What has he done so well for the Jayhawks? **"He's been fairly consistent his whole career there and I just think he's a great, solid player. He brings that inside presence for us and I mean he's a guy for us that we're going to need to average almost a 15 and 10 in the tournament if we're going to win it."
Getting stuck in the same region as Kentucky has to be a tough draw."The chances are very hard for us in it because of Kentucky, man. They're so good. I think we do got a tough region but we have the talent. We have a great coach in Bill Self who's been able to have been there and that's taken teams with talent like when we got to the Final Four."
What is one of the biggest things that makes them so hard to beat?
"It's a huge matchup because their front line — their point guard is 6'5", 6'6" and that's their shortest guys on their lineup. That's crazy. KU, our shortest guy is 5'10" and he's our starting point guard, Frank Mason."
A couple of great coaches between those two schools, though."[Coach Cal's] just added so much talent to that team that they can go one through 10 deep. Their size, man, and they have great coaching. They're going to be tough to beat. Bill Self, he's probably one of the best coaches in the Big 12 and one of the tops in the country and as a team, they've improved the whole season as it's gone on, and I think they'll be ready to go when tournament time comes."
UNC-CHAPEL HILL — Sylvester Williams
Sylvester Williams was a Tar Heel, but how far does he have UNC going in the NCAA Tournament?
So our school had a pretty great run in the ACC Tournament before falling in the title game. What do you think of their shot in the Big Dance?**
I think we've got a good team. The point guard we've got in Paige, I think you've always got a chance with him. I think the biggest thing for them is just defense and taking more shots, feed the post.
People are saying they got a decent seeding, though they could face Wisconsin in the third game if they make it. How good do you think the West region is?Me, personally, I honestly think we've got a great chance at winning. I know Wisconsin is a good team and they're having a great year, but when you get in the tournament it's all about who's hot at the right moment. And I'm saying if we get the chance to get hot behind Paige, we've got a chance to really go.
It seems like having a great guard can drive an offense, especially in tournaments.
I think he's one of the best. His game is very special in the ACC, and I feel like going into the tournament, he's going to put a lot on himself and I hope he carries us pretty far.
Although some analysts think their road to the Sweet Sixteen is quite favorable, how hard is it to overlook a first-round matchup in Harvard?I think you've always got to watch out for the teams like that, the Harvards, the universities that had great years as well, but I definitely think this is a game that they can come out with a win.
Obviously Roy Williams is a coach who's taken a couple teams to NCAA titles; how do you see him leading this squad?
I think he's going to ride Marcus Paige, like the way he rode Ty Lawson a few years ago. I think he knows that you've got to have good guard play to win it.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE — Paul Cornick
Offensive lineman Paul Cornick has his North Dakota State Bison going deep in his NCAA Tournament bracket. See how far in his full bracket!
Were you surprised to see NDSU make it to the tournament?**
No, definitely not surprised. There's a culture of winning at NDSU. It's kind of spread around to all the sports. You've got to watch out for us.
So what you you make of their chances of beating Gonzaga?
I think they've got as good a chance as anybody at upsetting the No. 2 seed. I think our fans travel well so they'll be out there and NDSU, everybody overlooks North Dakota teams and then all of a sudden they're in the game, beating you.
What should we expect to see from this Bisons team?
Like any North Dakota State team, they work hard and they've got good fundamentals and they play smart basketball. They've got Lawrence Alexander, who tears up the court. He was the MVP of the league, I'm pretty sure.
How far will they go in your bracket?I'm giving them some credit in my bracket. I've got to, they're my school.
Check out who makes it to the Final Four in Jordan Norwood's March Madness bracket!