The 2012 NCAA Tournament will get underway this week. While the First Four will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Round of 64 will kick off on Thursday and this is where the predictions truly begin.
The South region is pretty stacked, with nearly all the top seeds being household names. More than that, though, the top seeds were all excellent teams throughout the 2011-12 NCAA season. This should be the most interesting bracket to watch, even if it does end up coming down to Kentucky vs. Duke.
No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 16 Miss. Valley OR Western Kentucky: Hmm, the best team in college basketball, or one of two teams who are fighting for the right to lose to them? Tough call.
No. 8 Iowa St. Cyclones Vs. No. 9 Connecticut Huskies: Perhaps the most evenly-matched game in the second round of the South Region. UConn wants that slipper to fit one more time, but I like Iowa State in this one.
No. 5 Wichita St. Shockers vs. No. 12 Va. Commonwealth Rams: There are only a couple of South Region games in the second round that I think could be upsets. This is one of them. I think the VCU Rams can pull it off, but watch out for terrible ESPN.com headlines immediately afterward. (Just a guess: "VCU Shocks The Shockers.")
No. 5 UNLV Runnin' Rebels vs. No. 11 Colorado Buffaloes: This is the other game that I think could be an upset. A run to the Pac-12 conference title seems to have tricked the Buffaloes into thinking they're better than they actually are. They may figure it out quickly in this game, though. I think UNLV takes it.
No. 2 Duke Blue Devils vs. No. 15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks: It's a rule that Duke must make it to at least the regional finals each year so fans can keep hating a team until they find a team to root for. This year will be no different.
The South seems somewhat tailor-made for a Kentucky-Duke face-off in the regional finals. Let's see if another team can rain on that parade.
Stay with this NCAA Predictions StoryStream throughout the day as SBN Seattle's crack team of bracketologists give you their picks.