Champ Week Free Betting Picks: Go Big Or Go Home

Big East
Most prognosticators have little doubt that Villanova and Xavier are destined to clash at Madison Square Garden to see who can capture the Big East title. But the experts have been wrong before and they'll be wrong again and I wouldn't count out Seton Hall or Butler.

But, if I'm honest, I can't see any final that doesn't involve both Xavier and Villanova. Both teams are well-positioned to walk away with number one seed rankings next week. Villanova is clearly in a better position, beating their rival twice this season. However, they've struggled mightily in recent games with both Seton Hall and Creighton taking them to overtime. Xavier will be out for blood as a third loss to the Wildcats could knock them out of a top seed.

The one team to keep an eye out for will be Marquette. This is a storied program that suffered this season and is on the outside of the top 68 and looking in. If they can make a deep run, their struggles will be forgotten and they should be able to sneak into the Madness.

Most college hoops' die-hards will understand the Big East final being hosted at Madison Square Garden, but the ACC Final across the bridge in Brooklyn will have more than a few scratching their heads. In the end, who cares where the game is, who is taking it home?

Virginia is far and away the best team not only in the ACC but in the entire nation. If they lose this tournament, it wouldn't be that shocking given their competition and it likely wouldn't even knock them out of a number one seed, but it would give their detractors some solid ammunition. Duke, North Carolina and Clemson all have legitimate shots. But Virginia got to the top playing some smash mouth defense. And we all know the saying: offense moves the sticks, but defense wins championships.

I have little doubt that Virginia takes this home, but I don't think you can ever count out the reigning champion Tar Heels, even given their atrocious defense.

Big 12
This may just be the most exciting tournament in the run up to the Madness. All bets are off as this will be a free-for-all. Kansas may be the number one seed, but that doesn't mean they're going to take it home. Keep in mind that if the stars align, the Big Twelve could end up sending eighty percent of their entire conference on to the Madness next week. That's insane!

The Jayhawks remain the favorite, but Texas Tech and West Virginia will be sturdy competition. Kansas will be challenged early though as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas State are all right on the bubble of the final 68 and will be desperate to at least keep the game respectable.

Keep an eye on Udoka Azubuike, who may just be the most valuable big man in the nation. But if Texas Tech are going to pull off the upset, they'll rely on their senior Keenan Evans, who has morphed into a prolific scorer at the end of his college career.