Picking winners for 2014 bracket

Using Lunardi's first bracket to project potential surprises, Final Four teams

Updated: April 18, 2013, 11:14 AM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
NapierElsa/Getty ImageShabazz Napier and a guard-heavy UConn team could make a Final Four run next season.

Just a few short weeks ago, the brackets for the 2013 tournament were announced, I made my picks, and I, along with a lot of other people, at least got the national champion Louisville Cardinals correct in advance. Since I'm clearly on a roll here, I've decided to go ahead and get my picks on the record for the 2014 tournament. Why wait until the last minute, right?

My colleague Joe Lunardi has been so kind as to lay out the 2014 field of 68 for us already. Based on Joe's projections, here's how I see the tournament unfolding next year, with my potential surprise team, potential disappointing team and pick to win in each region (plus my national title pick at the end).


MIDWEST REGION

Surprise: Colorado Buffaloes
After the early exit against Illinois in this year's field of 68, Tad Boyle's team will rebound and make a deep tournament run in 2014. With the exception of Sabatino Chen, the entire CU rotation returns intact, meaning continued strong defense from a group that held Pac-12 opponents to just 0.96 points per trip this past season.