The fourth-seeded 'Horns are as formidable as all the No. 3s -- and even a couple of No. 2s -- in the bracket. Skinny wunderkind Kevin Durant (25.6 points, 11.3 rebounds per game, unlimited entertainment) strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenders. Durant will be on a chest-thumping scoring mission in his one-and-done farewell tour; he and freshman point guard D.J. Augustin lead a free-wheeling, Phoenix Suns-style offense that ranks fourth nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency. UT is glaringly inexperienced, starting four freshmen and one sophomore, but the green-Horns play fearlessly, and that's what makes them dangerous.
Overrated: Boston College
The seventh-seeded Eagles did finish 10-6 in the ACC, but there are a host of 8s, 9s and 10s (namely, Marquette, Xavier, Creighton and Georgia Tech) who are stronger. BC didn't have a single, quality road win in conference play, and doesn't boast a stout defense, either, as it ranks 92nd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Even with All-America candidate Jared Dudley, the Eagles look to be headed for a first-round exit.
Bracket Buster: Vanderbilt
The East is not Cinderella central, as it lacks the presence of an elite mid-major. I could, however, see SEC troublemaker Vanderbilt -- a team with a quartet of dead-eye perimeter shooters -- getting hot and knocking off third-seeded Washington State, then giving Georgetown at least a scare in the Sweet 16. The Hoyas routed the 'Dores by 16 in their first meeting in November, but Vandy has gained giant-killing confidence since then, and can look like a top-15 team when its long-distance shots are falling. Just ask Florida.
Home cooking: North Carolina and Georgetown
Winston-Salem is essentially North Carolina's backyard -- it's only 77 miles from Chapel Hill -- and that proximity makes the likelihood of a Marquette upset in the second-round next-to-nil. The Tar Heels have the biggest geographical advantage of any team in the bracket on the tourney's first weekend. When the region's final four converge on the Meadowlands, however, second-seeded Georgetown should be well-represented.
Best player you've never heard of: Caleb Green, Oral Roberts.
Well, you have heard of Green, if you happened to catch the Golden Eagles' stunning 78-71 upset of Kansas -- in Lawrence, no less! -- on Nov. 15. Green scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before receding into the oblivion of the Mid-Continent Conference. The home-grown (Tulsa, Okla.) power forward has led ORU in scoring in 13 of its past 14 games and is bound to give Washington State headaches. Runner-up: Ted Knauber, New Mexico State, if only for the abundance of filthy-sign potential his name presents.
Best matchup: UNC-Texas
A UNC-Texas meeting in the Sweet 16 would be the premiere offensive showdown of the entire tournament. The Nos. 2 (Durant) and 3 (Brandan Wright) picks in the 2007 NBA Draft would be squaring off in a game that's bound to be a ratings windfall for CBS. Both teams' penchant for wide-open basketball (the Tar Heels rank ninth nationally in tempo, while the 'Horns are 99th but more than willing to run) would translate to a score in the high 80s. Durant could near 40 points on the biggest stage of his career, and if the Baby Horns get respectable defensive performances from Damion James and Connor Atchley inside, the upset is possible.
The pick: Georgetown
If Texas sinks UNC into the Jersey swampland, it'll clear the way for the Hoyas' first Final Four since 1985. JT III's boys missed out on a top seed despite winning the Big East regular-season and tournament titles -- the pool of worthy No. 1 candidates was simply too crowded -- but they're ranked No. 1 in a more important category: offensive efficiency. The 'Horns will be winded after racing with Carolina, and Georgetown's ultra-effective inside duo of Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert will engineer enough easy baskets to win a nailbiter and book an appearance in Atlanta.