The Kansas Jayhawks won on Sunday, although they waited until nearly the very last moment to do so. That win is the single event from Sunday that has potentially saved my entire bracket. I'm sure I'm hardly the only one who saw their picks go up in a cloud of dust during the tumultuous events in the Round of 32 over the past couple of days.
The actual results of the 2012 NCAA Tournament have laid waste to the carefully-thought-out brackets of millions of fans, as well as to the haphazardly-thought-out bracket of yours truly. But with the field narrowed to just 16 remaining teams, surely the picks will only get easier from here on out, right?
I've just been informed "that's not how that works." Well, regardless, let's pres ahead with the predictions for the regional semifinals of the tournament, better known as the Sweet 16. All teams that were not my picks in the Round of 32 appear with an asterisk (you will see a lot of those).
No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers: Hey, I picked both of these teams correctly! Although the Hoosiers were able to eke out a win against the Va. Commonwealth Rams, they'll have a much more difficult time pulling off a win against Kentucky, the true number one team in the tournament. Kentucky will make the Elite Eight.
No. 3 Baylor Bears vs. No. 10 Xavier Musketeers*: Did the Lehigh Mountain Hawks crap the bed, or did Zavier finally play up to the level of their ability? The debate will rage on for ... I dunno, at least until the end of the article. I don't think either team can make it past the Elite Eight (particularly since the winner of this game will have to face Kentucky), but I think Baylor's ability to make plays off the glass will be the difference in this one. Bears to advance.
No. 1 Michigan St. Spartans vs. No. 4 Louisville Cardinals*: You know, in every round of predictions, I keep saying "Louisville is about to be exposed," yet they keep winning, possibly to stick it to me. I haven't head back from my sources on that one yet. But here we go again: The Cardinals will not win this game. Spartans to the Elite Eight.
No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No. 7 Florida Gators*: Florida finally looked like a dominant team on Sunday, but they were playing Norfolk State. This is the toughest game to predict in the Sweet 16. I originally picked Mizzou to defeat Marquette in this bracket. If the Gators can keep the momentum rolling, they should have an easy time knocking off the Golden Eagles. Making that huge assumption, I'm picking the Gators to make the Elite Eight.
No. 1 Syracuse Orange* vs. No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers: Similarly to the Louisville situation, I keep expecting the 'Cuse to lose in horrific fashion. And yet ... the Badgers looked less-than-convincing in their three-point win against Vanderbilt. I predicted the Kansas St. Wildcats to take out Wisconsin here, so I guess I have to pick the team that did Kansas State in. Syracuse to advance.
No. 2 Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats*: Ohio State is a much, much better team than Cincinnati. I guess I don't have anything else to add to that. The Buckeyes will make the Elite Eight.
No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 13 Ohio Bobcats*: UNC is the weakest No. 1 seed in the tournament, but they still have enough to best the feel-good story of the Bobcats. Ohio made their first Sweet 16 since the 1960s this year. They won't make the Elite Eight.
No. 11 N.C. State Wolfpack* vs. No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks: The Wolfpack are another good feel good story, but (spoilers) I'm picking the Jayhawks to win this bracket. Sorry, N.C. State, but it's all I have left. Kansas to advance.
Hey, that actually was a lot easier this time! I bet the Elite Eight will be a cakewalk. Until next time ...
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