The Washington Times - March 19, 2009, 10:27AM

Ah, time to incur the wrath of North Carolina fans.

And to make the trendy media pick.

SEE RELATED:


But that’s what I’m going to do … starting now in the South regional:

SECOND ROUND

(1) North Carolina
(9) Butler

(12) Western Kentucky
(4) Gonzaga

(6) Arizona State
(3) Syracuse

(7) Clemson
(2) Oklahoma

REGIONAL SEMIFINALS

(1) North Carolina
(4) Gonzaga

(6) Arizona State
(2) Oklahoma

REGIONAL FINAL

(4) Gonzaga
(2) Oklahoma

REGIONAL CHAMPION

(4) Gonzaga

Really, this comes down to questions about Ty Lawson. If he sits out this weekend (which could well happen), it’ll have been nearly three weeks since he’s played when Carolina plays its regional semifinal.

And who knows how good he’ll be?

Illinois is an understandably popular upset victim; like Carolina, the Illini is down its point guard.

Meanwhile, you can have a team like Syracuse that made a surprise conference tournament run. The Orange should beat Stephen F. Austin, but anything beyond that is dicey.

Oklahoma wasn’t terribly great down the stretch, and it would be interesting to see them against either Clemson or Michigan in the second round. But a regional final run sounds about right for the Sooners.

Gonzaga is the trendy pick, maybe the post-hype pick. But the Zags are talented, and it’ll be interesting to see how much substance they really have after plowing through the West Coast Conference.

Patrick Stevens