By CLINT FOSTER
March Madness is upon us, yet again.
For the next three weeks, starting Thursday, countless folks will carve out 40-minute increments of their days – at times, forsaking school or work – to take part in watching the most thrilling and emotional postseason in the entire Jock Kingdom: the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
This year's tourney will culminate in our own backyard, with the Final Four hosted at none other than Jerry Jones' personal Taj Mahal of sports venues, AT&T Stadium, in Arlington.
But long before any team achieves its collective dream of cutting down the nets where the Dallas Cowboys play, the business at hand is for those of us in the viewing public to fill out our prospective brackets and thus declare who we believe will be the eventual 2014 National Champions.
Millions have already chronicled the path of their favorites and Cinderellas this year, myself included, but many still are holding out before the field of 64 get to playing in a couple days.
So, whether you're stumped on who to pick between Virginia Commonwealth and Stephen F. Austin, or you've got three of your Final Four teams figured out, never fear. You have picked up the right newspaper!
For what it's worth (yep, that's the title of my new column series), here are five of my predictions for this year's NCAA tournament and my picks for the Final Four and National Championship.
1. Wichita State won't make Elite Eight
Much has been said about the injustice of our neighbors to the east – the SMU Mustangs – being left out of the NCAA Tournament after a historic 23-9 campaign. Instead, the Ponies' season garnered a No. 1 seed in the grand consolation prize known as the National Invitation Tournament.