I went into the selection show with a list of 11 potential Final Four teams. Four of them ended up in the Midwest Region. Despite that depth of competition, I'm still sticking with Louisville as my champion, No. 1 overall seed or not.
They tick all the boxes: excellent defensively (No. 1 in the Pomeroy ratings); very good offensively (No. 15 in KenPom); experienced (in the Final Four a year ago); backcourt strength and depth in Russ Smith and Peyton Siva; coaching (Rick Pitino); and a secret weapon off the bench, one-time Virginia Tech recruit Montrezl Harrell of Tarboro.
They'll probably have to beat Missouri, St. Louis and either Michigan State or Duke just to get to the Final Four -- a tougher three-game run than any pair Indiana or Gonzaga is likely to face, just for the record -- but the Cardinals are capable.