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Kentucky's Rondo thinks Louisville will win NCAA basketball title

Posted by David D'Onofrio  March 21, 2013 12:27 PM
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A few athletes with local ties have joined President Obama and entered their brackets into ESPN's Tournament Challenge -- including Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, whose two years at Kentucky apparently didn't fill him with enough venom to keep him from picking Louisville (his hometown school) to cut down the nets come early April.

In addition to Rondo and teammate Jordan Crawford at ESPN, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox, Courtney Lee, and D.J. White also made public their picks at Celtics.com. Here's a look at all of their brackets:

RONDO
Biggest upset: No. 11 Minnesota over No. 6 UCLA
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Michigan State, Kansas vs. Georgetown, Gonzaga vs. Ohio State, Miami vs. Syracuse
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Georgetown vs. Miami
National championship: Louisville over Miami

Rondo likes the favorites. His Elite Eight includes No. 3 MSU and No. 4 Syracuse, while the rest are 1 and 2 seeds. His Final Four is three 2 seeds and top-ranked Louisville. Interesting to note, too, is that he thinks Tubby Smith -- the coach he supposedly clashed with at Kentucky -- pulls his biggest first-round upset.

JORDAN CRAWFORD
Biggest upset: No. 11 Minnesota over No. 2 Georgetown
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Michigan State, Michigan vs. Minnesota, Wisconsin vs. Arizona, Indiana vs. Marquette
Final Four: Michigan State vs. Arizona, Michigan vs. Indiana
National championship: Michigan over Arizona

The Celtic guard is a native of Detroit, which probably explains his pick of the Wolverines -- and two Michigan teams getting to Atlanta. His picks also seemed to be influenced by the year he played at Indiana, and big-time respect for the Big 10, which comprises five of his final eight and three quarters of his Final Four.

BENJAMIN WATSON
Biggest upset: No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Duke, Kansas vs. Florida, Kansas State vs. Ohio State, North Carolina State vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Kansas vs. Miami
National championship: Miami 79, Louisville 71

Not a very daring bracket from the former Patriots tight end, who predicts that 28 of the 32 first-round games will go to the better-seeded team. His boldest pick comes in the second round, where he says No. 8 NC State will take out No. 1 Indiana in the East, then follow that up by knocking off No. 4 Syracuse. He then sees the Wolfpack losing to Miami, however, setting up a Final Four with two 1s and two 2s.

BARACK OBAMA
Biggest upset: No. 13 LaSalle over No. 4 Kansas State
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Duke, Michigan vs. Florida, Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, Indiana vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Florida vs. Indiana
National championship: Indiana over Louisville

The President expects that Wisconsin (as the West's No. 5 seed) will be the only team seeded beyond fourth to even reach the Sweet 16. Here we were thinking he was a liberal. By and large, his bracket is quite conservative.

JASON TERRY
Biggest upset: No. 13 New Mexico State over No. 4 St. Louis
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Memphis, Kansas vs. Georgetown, Kansas State vs. Ohio State, Syracuse vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Kansas vs. Syracuse
National championship: Louisville over Kansas

You can see that the former Wildcat had an inclination to go with his alma mater in the Sweet 16 -- actually writing "Arizona" before crossing it out -- but ultimately picked Ohio State to beat Arizona. He thinks the Buckeyes are good enough to play in Atlanta, and sometimes head overrules heart.

COURTNEY LEE
Biggest upset: No. 16 Western Kentucky over No. 1 Kansas
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Duke, Michigan vs. Georgetown, Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, Indiana vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Wisconsin, Georgetown vs. Miami
National championship: Wisconsin over Miami

Sometimes heart overrules head, too, as is evident by Western Kentucky's own Lee picking his school to knock off No. 1 Kansas -- and then No. 8 North Carolina, before falling to Michigan. Gotta respect that, as well as stepping outside the box to pick fifth-seeded Wisconsin to win it all.

CHRIS WILCOX
Biggest upset: No. 13 New Mexico State over No. 4 St. Louis
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Duke, Kansas vs. Florida, Gonzaga vs. Ohio State, Indiana vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Kansas vs. Miami
National championship: Louisville 64, Kansas 58

Wilcox sees the biggest upset the same way Terry does, and three of their Final Four are the same, as well. Don't forget, those two have street cred in this thing: They've both been on teams that have won this tournament (Terry at Arizona in 1997, Wilcox at Maryland in 2002).

D.J. WHITE
Biggest upset: No. 11 Bucknell over No. 3 Marquette
Elite Eight: Louisville vs. Michigan State, Kansas vs. Florida, Gonzaga vs. Ohio State, Indiana vs. Miami
Final Four: Louisville vs. Ohio State, Florida vs. Indiana
National championship: Indiana over Louisville

The former Indiana big man sticks to his roots and takes the Hoosiers to hoist the hardware. White ends up with seven of the same Elite Eight teams as Wilcox, but gets there via a slightly different route, forecasting a number of upsets among the middle seeds, most notably No. 11 Bucknell over No. 6 Butler, which leads into Bucknell then beating Marquette.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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Dave D'Onofrio follows Boston's pro players away from the field, court or ice, covering their interests and activities in the community and beyond. A Massachusetts native, once his dreams of More »

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