Missing football already?  Baseball not getting here soon enough?  No need to fret, my peeps because we’ve got the two most exciting weeks of sports coming at you with the NCAA Men’s basketball tourney!  We’ve got perennial national powerhouses versus mid-majors with visions of slipping on Cinderella’s slipper themselves.  Dreams will be realized and shattered all at the same time when school spirit is put on the line in what promises to be another epic tournament where a true champion is crowned.  Are you listening BCS?  Now everybody fill out your brackets, grab a couple of cold ones, listen to what I have to say, and you could be the one with bragging rights around the office when it’s all said and done.  Dickie V’s got nothing on me!!  Let’s take a look at who’s going to be cutting down the nets and who’s going to play the spoiler.

The Big Dogs:

Kansas Jayhawks

Why they will win- Kansas is by far the most talented and experienced team in this tourney and it’s their championship to lose.  They have the perfect mix of upperclassmen leadership, freshman sensations, and top-tier coaching.  G Sherron Collins and C Cole Aldrich lead this bunch that has been there before.  Aldrich is the anchor in the paint and is a guaranteed double-double guy, while Collins is an athletic play-maker who leads the Jayhawks in scoring.  Freshman G Xavier Henry appears to be the missing piece of the puzzle to bring Kansas their second title in three years.

Why they won’t- Going in as the heavy favorite is a blessing and a curse all at once.  When everybody tells you that you are the best, you eventually start to believe it.  College kids are very impressionable and sometimes they buy into their own hype.  If they take some of these smaller schools lightly, Kansas could be in for a reality check that lands them home watching the finals from the couch.

Kentucky Wildcats

Why they will win- Whenever you have the best player on the floor you always have a chance to win.  Kentucky will always have that luxury (for one year anyway) when G John Wall is suiting up for the Wildcats.  Wall is the most explosive player in the country and with fellow Frosh F DeMarcus Cousins, they form the best young tandem in all the land.  Throw in 6’9″ forward Patrick Patterson and his 15 and 7 a game and you’ve got the recipe for another UK championship.

Why they won’t- One word, experience.  No one on the roster has even had a sniff of a national championship.  If history tells us anything it’s that young teams always have one stinker of a game during March madness.  The fab five was the best young team ever assembled but always found a way to lose when the stakes got too high.  Something tells me that this Calipari-led squad is destined to follow in those footsteps.

Syracuse Orangemen

Why they will win- The Cuse’ is bustin’ loose this year and have been throttling opponents all season long.  Led by Iowa State transfer and future lottery draft pick lock Wesley Johnson’s 16 and 9 a game, the Orange are the surprise stud of the season.   Senior guard Andy Rautins has been the calming factor and can make it rain for the team from upstate New York.  Nobody plays the zone defense better than Syracuse and if you’re not hitting your three’s, it’s sayonara suckers.

Why they won’t- The Big East is undoubtedly the toughest league in all of college hoops.  These teams beat the tar out of each other every single night.  This can really wear a team out come tournament time especially after the Big East tourney as Cuse’ also has the tendency to go cold from behind the arc as well.  If this happens in March it’s going to be lights out for the Orange.

Villanova Wildcats

Why they will win- This was a final four team a year ago before running into the freight train that was the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heel squad.  Whenever a team is tournament tested like Villanova is, they have to be considered one of the favorites.  With senior guard Scottie Reynolds leading the charge at 19 points per contest, the Wildcats are going back this year with confidence and a point to prove.  They like to get up and down the court at a frenetic pace and can blow you out of the building if you get down quick.

Why they won’t- Villanova is a small team who likes to run.  If you get a team with size that can slow down the tempo and maximize their possessions then you have a legitimate shot at beating the Wildcats.  Their tallest skill player is Antonio Pena at 6’8″, so if you get him in foul trouble Nova will have no answer.  Just don’t try to run with them.

Down a Step:

Duke Blue Devils

Why they will win- Being coached by one of the all-time greats in Coach K definitely gives you a shot every time you take the court.  Duke always preaches a team first attitude which has shown proven success in years past.  Led by the three-headed monster of G Jon Scheyer, G Nolan Smith, and F Kyle Singler, the Dukies thrive on fundamental basketball and sharing the rock.  One of these guys are always there to pick up the slack if somebody’s having an off night.

Why they won’t- While Duke has all of the skill in the world to win it they are simply too soft.  They are a team that can be bullied by stronger teams and don’t seem to have a lot of heart when the chips are down.  They are also a little slow-footed so some of the more athletic teams can cause match-up problems at both ends of the floor.

Purdue Boilermakers

Why they will win- For all of the criticism that the Big Ten Conference takes year in and year out, they always come up huge in the tournament.  Nobody believed in Michigan State last season and that’s why Purdue is a threat out of the conference this season.  Led by the Junior threesome of G E’Twaun Moore, F Robbie Hummel, and JaJuan Johnson, the Boilermakers have the complete inside-outside scoring balance that translates to victories in the big dance.  They are the physically strongest team in this year’s tourney and won’t back down to anyone.

Why they won’t- Similar to the Dukies, Purdue just isn’t the most athletic team to suit em’ up.  Sure, they know how to grind out a victory, but when faster teams are dictating the pace, the Boilermakers just won’t be able to compete.  Just like every year, it comes down to the match-ups.  Purdue needs a good draw to reach the promised land.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Why they will win- Most people are under the common misconception that having a high powered offense is the way to win a title.  Well, most people would be wrong.  Defense and rebounding are the keys to win in college hoops.  The Mountaineers boast three players that put up over 12 points and 6 boards a game in forwards Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and Devin Ebanks.  They get after you on the defensive end and hold opponents to a lot of one and done’s.  This is a team that will literally pound you into submission.

Why they won’t- There is little doubt that Butler is the heart and soul of this team.  He’s their go-to guy and he rightfully should be.  The only problem is when he doesn’t perform well, West Virginia will lose.  They don’t have enough play-makers that can create their own shots when things aren’t working for Butler.  This will ultimately lead to their ultimate demise.

Georgetown Hoyas

Why they will win- Throw out the Hoya’s record when the tournament comes around because this is the exact kind of team that can put it all together and make a run to the Final Four.  Someone does it every year and in 2010 it’s Georgetown, bet on it.  They have a dominant big man in Greg Monroe, and guards that can light it up from the arc with Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Jason Clark.  Believe me, this a team that nobody will be looking forward to playing when they get hot.  They’re going to be that 4 seed that gets to the Final Four.

Why they won’t- Plain and simple, they’ve lost more than a few games this season.  They are definitely beatable.  Sometimes their play can be a little erratic and they have a tendency to get down early in games which leads to discouragement.  Get into their heads and they will not win the mental war.

Prodigy’s Party Crashers

Siena Saints- Representing the 518, Siena is a team that will get into the tourney and will win a couple games.  They have won there the past two seasons and are in no shape or form scared of the big dogs.  With four players averaging over 13 a game the Saints are a fearsome bunch that play well in all facets of the game.  They know the routine, they play together, and they are going to spoil someone’s season.

Saint Mary Gaels- They don’t get a lot of press being way out West and are considered to be Gonzaga’s little brother in their conference.  That’s going to be just fine with the Gaels come March.  Saint Mary’s has someone on their squad that no one in the nation can match up with in center Omar Samhan.  He’s averaging 22 and 12 and at 6’11”, 265 he is a monster.  His presence alone opens up opportunities for everybody else.  With four other players scoring in double digits, the Gaels get over 80 points a game and are going to advance to the sweet sixteen, if not farther, this year.