Most Outstanding Player: These are your best bets to take home MOP honors.
Russ Smith, Louisville — Once the game slowed for him, he became an All-American.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana — You can put Cody Zeller here as well. Must be nice to have two All-Americans.
Otto Porter, Georgetown — Smooth and athletic, like a young Tayshaun Prince.
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga — If the Zags win it all, it will be because of Olynyk.
Final Four dark horses: Don’t be surprised if they end up in Atlanta.
Saint Louis: It has a veteran backcourt and is trying to win one for Rick Majerus.
Illinois: Could be wishful thinking but it did knock off top seeds Gonzaga and Indiana.
North Carolina: A bubble team in mid-February, the Heels have won 8 of 10.
Pittsburgh: Only one team stands in the way of a Panthers’ Final Four run: Gonzaga.
Look what we have here: These are the guys who are vastly underrated.
Colton Iverson, Colorado State: The former Minnesota center is a beast in the low post.
Allen Crabbe, Cal: Next stop? Lottery!
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova: Only a freshman, The Alphabet Man doesn’t mind taking big shots.
Ian Clark, Belmont: Captured OVC co-player of the year honors AND defensive player of the year.
Most valuable teams: According to Forbes, these four are winners where it counts the most.
Louisville: $38.5 million
Kansas: $32.9 million
North Carolina: $32.8 million
Kentucky: $32.1 million
Mr. Clutch: Give these guys the ball in the final seconds and get out the way!
Trey Burke, Michigan: His step-back jumper is lethal.
Seth Curry, Duke: Who wins a game of horse between Dell, Stephen and Seth?
Otto Porter, Georgetown: Who says he can’t shoot? Check the stats.
Doug McDermott, Creighton: Nickname is McBuckets. ’Nuff said.
Must-see matchups: These games make for compelling TV.
No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon: The Ducks are woefully under seeded, which is unfair for both teams but it still makes for an entertaining matchup. Dominic Artis makes Oregon go, while the Cowboys’ Marcus Smart can do a bit of everything.
No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 11 Belmont: Zona is 5-5 in its last 10; Belmont is perimeter oriented with Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark.
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits have Nate Wolters and a road win at New Mexico. Michigan has more talent but will need to play some defense, which isn’t its forte.
No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado: Both teams played well to start the season but sputtered in conference play. The Illini’s Brandon Paul can carry an offense while the Buffs’ counter with Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker.
Coolest alums: According to ExtraMustard.com these celebs represent the Final Four of cool.
Brad Pitt, Missouri: Fellow alum Jerry Sullivan is cooler.
Ken Kesey, Oregon: Wrote “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Lou Reed, Syracuse: Do-everything leader of The Velvet Underground.
Butch Vig, Wisconsin: Helped bring alternative rock to the mainstream.
Bracket busters: Wanna win your office pool? Stay away from these Phony Four.
Michigan: It has dreamy scorers in Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Nik Stauskas but the next time Michigan plays defense will be the first.
New Mexico: Unlike Michigan, the Lobos defend but their offense is a mystery.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles don’t like to shoot three-pointers and turn over the ball at an alarming rate.
Florida: Keep the game close and the Gators — 0-6 in games decided by nine points or fewer — will disintegrate.
Upset specials: These outcomes will have people shaking their heads.
No. 11 Minnesota over No. 6 UCLA: Tubby Smith’s teams are always tough defensively and the Bruins are without No. 2 scorer Jordan Adams. Toss in the rumors about Ben Howland being fired at season’s end and UCLA is ripe for an upset.
No. 14 Davidson over No. 3 Marquette: When Bob McKillop has good players he usually wins big and he has two in Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks. The Golden Eagles have decent talent but are horrible away from Milwaukee. This is almost a lock.
No. 10 Iowa State over No. 7 Notre Dame: Not really a huge upset — a No. 10 vs. No. 7 is similar to a No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup — but the Cyclones are athletic scorers and the Irish will have trouble keeping up.
No. 11 Bucknell over No. 6 Butler: The Bulldogs weren’t as formidable as expected in the A-10 and don’t have anyone to deal with 6-foot-11 Mike Muscala.
0: The number of teams invited from the state of Texas.
3: The number of double-digits seeds to reach the Final Four (LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011).
6: The number of 15 seeds to upset No. 2 seeded teams in 112 attempts. Two happened a year ago when Norfolk State toppled Oklahoma State and Lehigh tripped up Duke.
13: The number of years since the Big Ten won a national title. That would be Michigan State and Mateen Cleaves in 2000.