Washington D.C. Region Predictions

John Akers
Yahoo! Sports

Regional predictions: Atlanta | Oakland | Washington, D.C. | Minneapolis | Final Four/Championship

FIRST ROUND

Washington, D.C. Region
Bracket | Overview | Top Seeds
And the winner is... North Carolina
North Carolina
Super frosh Tyler Hansbrough leads the 3rd seeded Tar Heels past UConn and onto the Final Four. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

1. Connecticut over 16. Albany
If the Great Danes could clone America East Player of the Year Jamar Wilson five times, it still wouldn't be enough against Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, et al.

9. UAB over 8. Kentucky
Mike Anderson's helter-skelter Blazers will remind Ashley Judd how her 'Cats used to play. A point-guard duel to watch: UAB's Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson vs. Kentucky's Rajon Rondo.

5. Washington over 12. Utah State
An intriguing contrast in styles, but Washington's speed and Brandon Roy should trump Utah State's deliberate Nate Harris-Jaycee Carroll inside-outside game.

4. Illinois over 13. Air Force
Whether or not the Falcons belong in this tournament, the Illini got no break in meeting a better-than-your-typical 13 seed that runs the Princeton offense. That's why it's nice to have a Dee Brown.

6. Michigan State over 11. George Mason
Which Spartans show up? The triangle of doom that is Paul Davis, Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown? Or those wimps who were seeded seventh in the Big Ten tournament?

3. North Carolina over 14. Murray State
One game to get out the freshman jitters. The rest to defend a title.

7. Wichita State over 10. Seton Hall
The Missouri Valley's manhood has been called into question by Jim Nantz and Billy Packer. Hear that, Paul Miller? The big man and his Shockers prevail head-to-head against one of those beasts from the Big East.

2. Tennessee over 15. Winthrop
Very tempting. The Eagles have beaten Marquette, and the Vols are reeling. But be forewarned: Only four No. 15 seeds have ever won NCAA Tournament games.

SECOND ROUND

1. Connecticut over 9. UAB
The Huskies might grab every single rebound against the Blazers, who rely so mightily on steals, turnovers and havoc that will not be created easily against UConn point guard Marcus Williams.

5. Washington over 4. Illinois
Rule of thumb: When All-America guards go toe-to-toe, bet on the one shooting 51 percent (the Huskies' Brandon Roy) over the one shooting 37 percent (the Illini's Dee Brown).

3. North Carolina over 6. Michigan State
In theory, both are Final Four veterans. In reality, the kids who only watched should beat the guys who played.

7. Wichita State over 2. Tennessee
This season's designated Missouri Valley darling? Don't be shocked if it's the Shockers. As impressive as Bruce Pearl's coaching debut was in Knoxville, the Vols are no No. 2 seed.

REGIONAL SEMIFINALS

1. Connecticut over 5. Washington
Go with the Huskies from Storrs. There just isn't enough of Roy to go around against Gay, Boone, Williams and Anderson.

3. North Carolina over 7. Wichita State:
Everybody will be rooting for Wichita, but who are we kidding? This is where the Shockers' Miller meets his match in Tyler Hansbrough, the freshman from Poplar Bluff, Mo.

REGIONAL FINALS

3. North Carolina over 1. Connecticut
No team that ever lost a conference tournament opener ever won a national title, and this will be no exception. The Huskies are better than everyone at nearly every position, yet sometimes fail to show up. That can never be said for these younger, hungrier, defending-champion Tar Heels.

John Akers, the editor of Basketball Times, predicted the Washington region exclusively for Yahoo! Sports.