Thanks to Greg Oden's fantastic block, I hit on three of my first four Elite Eight picks yesterday. I don't think today's games will top yesterday's action, but I'll be glued to my TV nonetheless.
Florida is still my pick to win it all, and I think they beat Butler fairly handily in the early game in the Midwest. The other game in St. Louis is a little more interesting, and while I wouldn't put it past UNLV and the Kruger Clan to pull the upset, my gut tells me Oregon is moving on.
In the East, I'm staying with the favorites in both games. North Carolina is too good in transition for USC, but get used to the Trojans on this stage with Tim Floyd coaching and blue-chip recruits O.J. Mayo and Brandon Jennings heading to Troy each of the next two years. The Tar Heels will get a much-anticipated showdown with Georgetown in the Elite Eight, though Vanderbilt is tricky enough to give the Hoyas fits.
One last note to consider during tonight's action. Oregon gets big contributions from Detroit natives in Malik Hairston and Tajuan Porter. What do you think would have been of Tommy Amaker had he kept both those players at in state? What if you add Florida's Al Horford, Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts and Tennessee's Ramar Smith to the mix? That's five Michigan natives playing big roles in the Sweet 16 for other teams. Give Michigan that lineup and the Wolverines' NCAA drought is over and Amaker still has a job. If I'm Bill Martin, I might actually look at Memphis coach and master recruiter John Calipari, despite the backage he brings.