March Madness: Staff Final Four, Champion and Cinderella Picks
March Madness isn't just about the Cinderella stories and buzzer-beating shots. It's not just about watching to see if Kentucky can go undefeated, or if Arizona will get revenge against Wisconsin.
March Madness is also about bringing together friends -- even if they have no idea what a free throw is -- to fill out a bracket. It's about tracking your own picks, and rooting for teams you never thought you'd root for based on those picks.
By this point, the majority of you have filled out your own brackets. (Hopefully you have a sheet of integrity. If not, shame on you.) So have we.
Below you can find the Final Four picks for all numberFire employees and college basketball contributors, along with Cinderella picks (Cinderella choices had to be a double-digit seeded team). The team in bold is that person's projected champion.
|Nik Bonaddio||CEO and Founder||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Gonzaga||Dayton|
|Adam Kaplan||Chief Operating Officer||Kentucky||Michigan State||Arizona||Duke||Dayton|
|Keith Goldner||Chief Analyst||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Iowa State||Texas|
|Sam Hauss||Community Manager||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Gonzaga||Buffalo|
|Amar Rao||Software Engineer||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Gonzaga||Texas|
|Zach Kempner||Communications Director||Kentucky||Oklahoma||Wisconsin||Iowa State||Texas|
|Payom Dousti||Software Engineer||Kentucky||Virginia||Arizona||Duke||Davidson|
|Michael Worthington||Chief Technology Officer||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Gonzaga||Buffalo|
|Chris Rodriguez||Chief Marketing Officer||Kentucky||Virginia||Wisconsin||Duke||Ole Miss|
|Brian McGlade||iOS Engineer||Kentucky||Villanova||Arizona||Gonzaga||Texas|
|Brandon Gdula||Associate Editor||Kentucky||Virginia||Wisconsin||Iowa State||Stephen F. Austin|
|Stew Bratcher||Contributor||Kentucky||Virginia||Wisconsin||Iowa State||Eastern Washington|
|Daniel Lindsey||Contributor||Kentucky||Michigan State||Wisconsin||Utah||Indiana|
Of the 18 people, only three chose not to pick Kentucky as champion, opting for either Arizona or Wisconsin. However, every single Final Four involves Kentucky. Each Final Four, too, has either Wisconsin or Arizona, teams that rank second and third in our power rankings.
Things varied a little more in the East and South regions. The East saw two Michigan State Final Four picks, two Oklahoma selections and six Virginia picks. The rest went with the 1 seed, Villanova.
The South, perhaps the most up-for-grabs region in this year's tourney, saw four different teams represented as well -- 5-seeded Utah (selected three times), 3-seeded Iowa State (four), 2-seeded Gonzaga (eight) and 1-seeded Duke (three).
As for the Cinderella teams, there wasn't as much variety as you'd probably think. The most popular pick was Texas, who would (probably) need to knock of ACC Tournament champion Notre Dame to make it to the Sweet 16. Many, including yours truly, are on Buffalo, a team that would eventually lose to Kentucky prior to the Elite Eight.
Who's in your Final Four? Let us know in the comments section below!