Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz's Sweet 16

The surprise in my NCAA Tournament picks is not Kansas winning it all. It's WICHITA STATE MAKES THE FIELD.

Here's my rationale: WSU is much improved. The Shockers are finally going to figure out how to win on the road. The Missouri Valley Conference will be good enough to send a couple of teams to the dance and, along with Northern Iowa, I'm going with WSU.

Here's my Sweet 16:

Butler Bulldogs

Are you going to pick against Butler? I'm not. Butler is simply a great basketball program and nothing the Bulldogs do should be a surprise. They're so well-coached, so smart, so tough to beat. Pencil them in. Oh, make it a pen.

Clemson Tigers

Trevor Booker is a solid scorer and fierce rebounder and newcomer Milton Jennings, a 6-9 freshman, is likely a future star. Clemson starts fast but then fades. It should be different this season because this is a deeper and more experienced team.

Duke Blue Devils

Forward Kyle Singler is off to a hot start. The surprise has been junior guard Nolan Smith. Duke was hurt by Elliot Williams' transfer to Memphis, but if the Blue Devils can find enough guards, they could pass North Carolina for the top of the ACC.

Georgetown Hoyas

The Hoyas finished 7-11 in the Big East and lost 12 of their last 16, missing the conference's NCAA party. Georgetown should fare better in a Big East that isn't quite as strong. Led by center Greg Monroe, the Hoyas are going to bring it defensively.

Kansas Jayhawks

Sherron Collins. Cole Aldrich. Xavier Henry. The improved Morris twins. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor. Promising freshmen. More? Bill Self on the bench? Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are supporting players again.

Kentucky Wildcats

Where John Calipari goes, the Sweet 16 goes. At a minimum. There is no rebuilding in Lexington, where Calipari hit the ground sprinting. He has perhaps the country's best freshman in 6-4 John Wall, who could be starting for most NBA teams.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State is going to miss Goran Suton and Travis Walton, but the return of Kalin Lucas, Chris Allen, Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers and Draymond Green softens those losses. Don't forget, too, that Tom Izzo is a pretty decent coach.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Most of the parts are missing from last season's championship team. But have you seen these guys? When they're not playing basketball, they're in circus freak shows with a 7-footer, two players who are 6-foot-10 and another two who are 6-9.

Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue lost to Connecticut in a disappointing Sweet 16 game. But the Boilermakers got that far with three sophomores _ Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore _ in key roles. All are back and better.

Syracuse Orange

Back-to-back wins over California and North Carolina have quickly elevated expectations, even though Syracuse lost significant firepower from last season's 28-10 team. Iowa State transfer Wesley Johnson is a star.

Texas Longhorns

There are no issues here. The Longhorns are loaded with guys who have been there before (Damion James, Dexter Pittman, Gary Johnson, Dogus Balbay) and guys who are going to be there soon (Jordan Hamilton, J'Covan Brown, Avery Bradley).

Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols don't have the overall talent of Kentucky, but they do have more experience. Tyler Smith returns and will be one of the best players in the SEC. The Vols were a first-round NCAA loser last season. Don't look for a repeat performance.

Villanova Wildcats

The Wildcats have added a great recruiting class to a top-notch group from a Final Four team. Senior guard Scottie Reynolds is one of the top playmakers and Villanova has enough experienced players to allow the freshmen time to adapt.

Washington Huskies

Look for two Huskies to make the all-conference team this season _ sophomore guard Isaiah Thomas and senior forward Quincy Pondexter. It'll be a work in progress for Washington, but there will be progress.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Bob Huggins has almost everyone back, including senior forward Da'Sean Butler, sophomore forward Devin Ebanks and 6-4 guard Casey Mitchell, the reigning junior college player of the year.

Xavier Musketeers

It's becoming habit to pick Xavier, even though Sean Miller left for Arizona. Assistant Chris Mack inherits only two returning starters, but does have Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford, the guy who created waves by dunking over LeBron James.

Rest of the field

America East — Boston U.

ACC — Florida State, Maryland, Wake Forest

Atlantic Sun — Campbell

Atlantic 10 — Dayton

Big East — Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Big Sky — Montana

Big South — Coastal Carolina

Big Ten — Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State

Big 12 — Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

Big West — Cal State Fullerton

Colonial — Virginia Commonwealth

Conference USA — Memphis, Tulsa

Ivy — Cornell

MEAC — Morgan State

Metro Atlantic — Siena

Mid-American — Akron

Missouri Valley — Northern Iowa, Wichita State

Mountain West — BYU, UNLV

Northeast — Mount St. Mary's

Ohio Valley — Murray State

Pac-10 — California, UCLA

Patriot — Army

SEC — Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt

Southern — Western Carolina

Southland — Stephen F. Austin

Summit — Oakland

Sun Belt — Western Kentucky

SWAC — Alabama State

WAC — Utah State

Elite Eight

Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Texas, Washington, West Virginia

Final Four

Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas

National championship

Kansas over Texas

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