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Our March Madness picks: A prelude to humiliation...

A photo-illustration from the University of Pittsburgh website.
A photo-illustration from the University of Pittsburgh website.

Each year, I sit down with my daughter Lora -- a rabid sports fan with strong opinions about 9News' Susie Wargin -- to fill out NCAA tournament brackets for both the men's and women's basketball championships as part of a friendly contest organized by my wife's peers in the Archdiocese of Denver school system. We usually do pretty well, although our track record in the women's tourney is better than it is with the men's version. If we bottom out in 2009, however, we'll have company. After filling out our brackets, I discovered that we picked the same men's Final Four teams as President Barack Obama.

As usual, we let sentimentality dictate a few picks. For instance, Lora loves the Kansas Jayhawks, and even though they're probably a year away from making a legit run, we've got them reaching the Elite Eight anyhow. And while UCLA is a favorite pick for a first-round ouster, we've got them beating VCU because, well, I went to grad school at UCLA, and I can't pick against the Bruins in the friggin' first round. And on the women's side, both of us are probably guilty of putting too much faith in Notre Dame. Still, we feel pretty good about our championship selections: Connecticut in the women's contest (it's gonna be a coronation) and Pitt in the men's.

We'll update our success, or lack thereof, throughout the tournament. In the meantime, take a gander at our prognostications below.

NCAA Tournament Bracket 2009: Men's

MIDWEST BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Louisville over Morehead State Siena over Ohio State Utah over Arizona Wake Forest over Cleveland State West Virginia over Dayton Kansas over North Dakota State USC over Boston College Michigan State over Robert Morris

WEST BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Connecticut over Chattanooga BYU over Texas A&M Purdue over Northern Iowa Mississippi State over Washington Marquette over Utah State Missouri over Cornell Maryland over California Memphis over Cal. State Northridge

EAST BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Pittsburgh over East Tennessee State Oklahoma State over Tennessee Florida State over Wisconsin Xavier over Portland State UCLA over VCU Villanova over American Texas over Minnesota Duke over Binghamton

SOUTH BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

North Carolina over Radford Butler over LSU Illinois over Western Kentucky Gonzaga over Akron Arizona State over Temple Syracuse over Stephen F. Austin Clemson over Michigan Oklahoma over Morgan State

MIDWEST BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Louisville over Siena Wake Forest over Utah Kansas over West Virginia Michigan State over USC

WEST BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Connecticut over BYU Purdue over Mississippi State Missouri over Marquette Memphis over Maryland

EAST BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Pittsburgh over Oklahoma State Florida State over Xavier Villanova over UCLA Duke over Texas

SOUTH BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

North Carolina over Butler Gonzaga over Illinois Syracuse over Arizona State Oklahoma over Clemson

MIDWEST BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Louisville over Wake Forest Kansas over Michigan State

WEST BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Connecticut over Purdue Memphis over Missouri

EAST BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Pittsburgh over Florida State Duke over Villanova

SOUTH BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

North Carolina over Gonzaga Syracuse over Oklahoma

MIDWEST BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Louisville over Kansas

WEST BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Memphis over Connecticut

EAST BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Pittsburgh over Duke

SOUTH BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

North Carolina over Syracue

FINAL FOUR:

Memphis over Louisville Pittsburgh over North Carolina

CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pittsburgh over Memphis

NCAA Tournament Bracket 2009: Women's

TRENTON BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Connecticut over Vermont Florida over Temple Virginia over Marist California over Fresno State Arizona State over Georgia Florida State over North Carolina A&T Notre Dame over Minnesota Texas A&M over Evansville

BERKELEY BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Duke over Austin Peay Michigan State over Middle Tennessee State Tennessee over Ball State Iowa State over East Tennessee State Texas over Mississippi State Ohio State over Sacred Heart San Diego State over DePaul Stanford over UC Santa Barbara

RALEIGH BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Maryland over Dartmouth Utah over Villanova Kansas State over Drexel Vanderbilt over Western Carolina Wisconsin Green Bay over LSU Louisville over Liberty South Dakota State over TCU Baylor over UTSA

OKLAHOMA CITY BRACKET, ROUND ONE:

Oklahoma over Prairie View A&M Georgia Tech over Iowa Xavier over Gonzaga Pittsburgh over Montana Purdue over Charlotte North Carolina over UCF Rutgers over VCU Auburn over Lehigh

TRENTON BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Connecticut over Florida California over Virginia Florida State over Arizona State Notre Dame over Texas A&M

BERKELEY BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Duke over Michigan State Tennessee over Iowa State Ohio State over Texas Stanford over San Diego State

RALEIGH BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Maryland over Utah Kansas State over Vanderbilt Louisville over Wisconsin Green Bay Baylor over South Dakota State

OKLAHOMA CITY BRACKET, ROUND TWO:

Oklahoma over Georgia Tech Pittsburgh over Xavier North Carolina over Purdue Auburn over Rutgers

TRENTON BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Connecticut over California Florida State over Notre Dame

BERKELEY BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Duke over Tennessee Stanford over Ohio State

RALEIGH BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Maryland over Kansas State Baylor over Louisville

OKLAHOMA CITY BRACKET, SWEET SIXTEEN:

Oklahoma over Pittsburgh North Carolina over Auburn

TRENTON BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Connecticut over Florida State

BERKELEY BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Duke over Stanford

RALEIGH BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Baylor over Maryland

OKLAHOMA CITY BRACKET, ELITE EIGHT:

Oklahoma over North Carolina

FINAL FOUR:

Connecticut over Duke Baylor over Oklahoma

CHAMPIONSHIP:

Connecticut over Baylor


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