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Our Final Opening Round Picks For The 2022 NCAA Tournament

Notre Dame and Rutgers put on a brilliant performance to set the mood for Thursday and Friday.

Notre Dame v Rutgers
DAYTON, OHIO - MARCH 16: Cormac Ryan #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts in the second overtime period in the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the First Four game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 16, 2022 in Dayton, Ohio.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Coaches aren’t supposed to have fun in the moment. They’re supposed to be laser focused and coiled tight as springs. They’re not supposed to act like Mike Brey acted when Notre Dame and Rutgers went to overtime.

Didn’t he get the memo?

Apparently not.

Brey looked thrilled that the game went to overtime. He was giddy! And it spread to his team - just look at the photo of Cormac Ryan with this article.

It was an amazing game that started on Thursday and ended, appropriately enough, for the Fighting Irish, early on St. Patrick’s Day. We call it a game but really, it was March distilled: it was a passion play.

Neither team could escape the other but it looked early like Rutgers might pull away. And honestly, we thought that that might be a team that could do make a nice run. We love their pugnacity. Rutgers is a wonderful basketball team and we would have enjoyed watching them play longer. But we’d much rather watch Notre Dame.

And by the way, Rutgers is the first team from a Power Conference to bow out. The Big Ten is down to eight.

Not that anyone cares after the nightcap, but we thought that both Bryant and Wright State played well. But that’s it for Wright State. They’re not going to take out Kansas.

So let’s move on to final first round predictions.

Western Regional:

  • Gonzaga vs. Georgia State: Gonzaga.
  • Boise State vs. Memphis. Tough one, but we’ll go with Memphis. Turnovers might kill them though. Memphis has been great since Emoni Bates called it a season.
  • UConn vs. NMSU: UConn.
  • Arkansas vs Vermont: Vermont.
  • Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Notre Dame.
  • Texas Tech vs. Montana State: Texas Tech.
  • Michigan State vs. Davidson: Davidson.
  • Duke vs. Fullerton: We don’t bet against Duke. Ever. Not because we’re Duke fans but because of what Duke has done for decades. It’s bad business. Not that we actually do bet.


  • Baylor vs. Norfolk State: Baylor.
  • UNC vs. Marquette: Still not sure here but ask yourself this: has UNC played a pressing team this year? Then ask yourself this: how would this UNC team do against a Rick Pitino team? Not saying Shaka Smart is Pitino smart but he presses and turns you over. So we’ll take Marquette here.
  • Saint Mary’s vs. Indiana: St. Mary’s.
  • UCLA vs. Akron: UCLA.
  • Texas vs. Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech.
  • Purdue vs. Yale: Purdue.
  • Murray State vs. San Francisco. We’ll take San Fran and the D.
  • Kentucky vs. St. Peter’s. Kentucky.


  • Arizona vs. Wright State: Arizona.
  • Seton Hall vs. TCU: Seton Hall.
  • Houston vs. UAB: Houston. Defense over offense.
  • Illinois vs. Chattanooga: Illinois.
  • Colorado State vs. Michigan: Tough call. We’ll take Michigan.
  • Tennessee vs. Longwood: Tennessee.
  • Ohio State vs. Loyola: you can bet against Sister Jean if you want. Not us.
  • Villanova vs. Delaware: We’d be shocked if it’s not Villanova.


  • Kansas vs. Texas Southern: Kansas obviously but, Texas Southern has some fight.
  • San Diego State vs. Creighton: Alex O’ Connell dances on with the Blue Jays.
  • Iowa vs. Richmond: Richmond will try to slow them down but Iowa should win.
  • Providence vs. South Dakota State: we’d love to take the Jackrabbits but PC is a sturdy team.
  • LSU vs. Iowa State: Iowa Sate.
  • Wisconsin vs. Colgate: Wisconsin.
  • USC vs. Miami: the ‘Canes are a tough out. We’ll stick with them.
  • Auburn vs. Jackson State. Just can’t see the upset.