Mark Kiszla

Last four: Gonzaga, Texas, Winthrop, Illinois

championship: Illinois beats Gonzaga

I’m so old that I remember when Gonzaga was the cute and cuddly outsider who was everything we love about madness. Well, check out the Zags now. Everything grows up. While traditional bluebloods Duke and Kentucky aren’t in the 68s field, Gonzaga is undefeated and the favorite to win it all. The Zags are the most talented team in the field. But I’ll be happy to step on the field because the laws of probability suggest that Gonzaga won’t be the first team to be crowned undefeated champions since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. (And I know what you’re thinking: Winthrop? Well, I don’t know if the 12th seed eagles can make Cinderella run. But in this insane season of the pandemic, won’t there be chaos in your brackets?)

Sean Keeler

Last four: Gonzaga, Illinois, Baylor, State of Florida

championship: Gonzaga beats Illinois

95% of the free world Georgetown picks to piss off CU has to be music to Tad Boyle’s ears, especially after the buffs have faded in the Pac-12 title game. However, the dream could run into the Seminoles as they have length and speed everywhere. You want to believe in Alabama, but not the way the tide free throw comes and goes. Illinois has size and bragging rights, and trainer Brad Underwood has long been one of the most underrated whistle jockeys in the business. In the end, the Zags are likely to cement themselves as the Dookies of the West, a perennial one loves to hate.

Matt Schubert

Last four: Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor, Illinois

championship: Gonzaga beats Illinois

They say fill in one bracket with your heart and one with your head. Well, we went with our hearts on the first pass … and went a little bit crazy. Yes, the same CU Buffs program that’s been 1-4 in the last five NCAA tournament games under Tad Boyle is your Cinderella this spring – thanks in part to an LSU surprise in Michigan in the round of 16. Madness? For sure. Impossible? Crap no. Any team with a point guard like McKinley Wright IV has a chance. And we like the cut of Jeriah Hornes big jib. As for the championship, Illinois is extremely talented, but Gonzaga is the size and skill to match. The Zags got close before. That feels like their time.