CBS Local Sports VIP Tournament Picks

By Greg Hunt

[UPDATE] 3/31/14: Well, you’re half right…

Like most of the country, between Michigan and Louisville, our CBS personalities had their brackets busted this past week as well. However, there’s still a solid group here that’s fared decently, with 34 different people successfully selecting two of the teams in the Final Four.

Four savvy CBS folk picked the unlikely UConn to make the Final Four. Two of those, Walter Makaula and Peter D’Oench, both out of Miami, also have the favorite Florida picked, giving them each a 50% mark.

Only two people selected Kentucky to make it to the Final Four, Chuck Boom out of Cleveland and Rob “Hardy” Poole of Boston. Boom also chose the Gators, putting him in the 50% club.

D’Oench and Boom both have an opportunity for huge bragging rights if either of their teams pull off an upset, as they each are the only one’s out of 265 personalities to also pick Connecticut or Kentucky to win it all, respectively.

Several called it that both Florida and Wisconsin would deliver on the hype, and 29 personalities successfully picked both teams to make the foursome.

With Florida the overwhelming favorite to win it all from our pool of sports knowledge (176 people picked them individually to make it to the Final Four), even with the majority of lost office pools on the overall bracket, if the Gators take it CBS will still have a pretty solid margin of success in calling the winner. A total of 85 from our team picked them as the champion.

But as we saw on Sunday, and pretty much with every NCAA tournament—anything can happen and it usually does. If Wisconsin goes all the way, CBS collectively will throw an airball, as even though 44 people picked them to make the Final Four, not one person selected the Badgers to win the big dance.

Check out which teams our VIPs picked to advance to the Final Four with our sortable table here.


3/25/14: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is down to 16 teams, and the four schools selected by CBS TV and Radio personalities nationwide as the most likely to reach the Final Four – Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Louisville – are all still alive.

  • #1 Florida – beat #16 Albany 67-55 (2nd round) and #9 Pittsburgh 61-45 (3rd round)
  • #4 Michigan – beat #13 Delaware 93-78 (2nd round) and #12 Harvard 80-73 (3rd round)
  • #1 Arizona – beat #16 Weber State 68-59 (2nd round) and #8 Gonzaga 84-61 (3rd round)
  • #4 Louisville – beat #13 Manhattan 71-64 (2nd round) and #5 Saint Louis 66-51 (3rd round)

These same four schools were also selected as the top four most likely to win the national championship, but the next four schools picked in this regard – Kansas, Wichita State, Syracuse and Duke – have all been eliminated from the tournament.

  • #2 Kansas – lost to #10 Stanford 60-57 (3rd round)
  • #1 Wichita State – lost to #8 Kentucky 78-76 (3rd round)
  • #3 Syracuse – lost to #11 Dayton 55-53 (3rd round)
  • #3 Duke – lost to #14 Mercer 78-71 (2nd round)

Among the less-likely picks, of the 11 schools that each received a single vote to be this year’s national champion, two of them – Baylor and Kentucky – reached the Sweet Sixteen:

  • #6 Baylor – beat #11 Nebraska 74-60 (2nd round) and #3 Creighton 85-55 (3rd round)
  • #8 Kentucky – beat #9 Kansas State 56-49 (2nd round) and #1 Wichita State 78-76 (3rd round)

Also, reaching the Sweet Sixteen were both of the schools that received two votes apiece to win the tournament – Iowa State and UCLA:

  • #3 Iowa State – beat #14 NC Central 93-75 (2nd round) and #6 North Carolina 85-83 (3rd round)
  • #4 UCLA – beat #13 Tulsa 76-59 (2nd round) and #12 Stephen F. Austin 77-60 (3rd round)

How do your picks compare? Check out which teams our VIPs picked with our sortable table here.


3/21/14: NCAA basketball bracketology thrives more in superstition and the theoretical than any credible statistical practice. Recent numbers-minded experts estimated the odds of picking a perfect bracket were 128 billion-to-1. All the same, that hasn’t stopped CBS TV and Radio personalities across the country from weighing in and chasing that perfect pick. Ostensibly those that live in the news and sports industry should have institutional knowledge that gives them a leg up. We’ll see…

Across the CBS Local network, 268 personalities completed their bracket. It should come as no surprise that when it came to predicting the team to make the Final Four, the number-one overall seed Florida Gators received the most votes…but they didn’t get the love from actual Floridians when it came to taking it all. Perhaps the hometown knows something we don’t? Michigan teams were also a favorite, but looking deeper at the numbers below not sure we can chalk that up to having an inside track on basketball. There were several CBS-ers playing the upset card, but given there were 26 different schools picked as the champion, we’re interested to see how much more accurate these eloquent camera kings and queens actually are than the rest of us.

The most selected four to make the Final Four

  • Florida – 65%
  • Michigan State – 53%
  • Arizona – 50%
  • Louisville – 44%

In addition to being the most likely individual teams to make it, as the numbers suggest this foursome was also the most commonly selected exact Final Four match-up put in the brackets: Florida vs. Michigan St. in one semifinal; with Arizona vs. Louisville in the other.

Bad Seeds?

Florida and Arizona are seeded No. 1 in their respective regions, but Michigan State and Louisville are both seeded fourth in their respective regions. In the East Region, the NCAA seeded Virginia, Villanova and Iowa State above Michigan State, while in the Midwest Region, Wichita State, Michigan and Duke were seeded ahead of defending National Champion Louisville. Even though Virginia and Wichita State are seeded No. 1 in their respective regions, very few personalities consider these schools serious championship contenders.

Fall from grace

Kentucky began the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, but after going 24-10, the Wildcats settled for a No. 8 seed and a possible second-round matchup with No. 1 Wichita State. The only No. 1 they have now is one vote from the Cleveland station (because those guys always pick winners).

Who will take the prize?

While half the CBS personalities expect Arizona to reach the Final Four, few of them expect the Wildcats to win the National Championship. The Florida Gators are the strong favorite to win a third championship in the past nine seasons. Here are the personalities’ top picks to win the whole enchilada:

  • Florida – 32%
  • Michigan State – 17%
  • Louisville – 10%
  • Arizona —8%
  • Kansas —7%
  • Wichita State —6%
  • Syracuse —5%
  • Duke —3%
  • Michigan —2%
  • Villanova —1%

Regional favoritism

Markets based Centrally or on the East Coast were 3-5 times more likely than a Southern market to pick a Michigan team (Michigan, Michigan St) to win the tournament. Southerners still don’t like Yankees.

Texas pride

Dallas/Fort Worth is the only market that thinks 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin can make it to the Final Four, and it also thinks the Lumberjacks can win it. They think big in Texas.

Sunshine can only go so far

13 of 15 votes from CBS Local’s Florida markets (Miami, Tampa) believe the Florida Gators will make it to the Final Four. But only 5 of the 15 believe they can actually win the tournament. Perhaps they don’t want to jinx things?

Hoping against hope

Thanks to a number of personalities selecting with their hearts rather than their heads, 26 different schools were predicted to become the National Champion. Iowa State and UCLA received two votes apiece, while the following school received one vote each, making them each a 0.37% favorite to win:

  • Baylor
  • Connecticut
  • George Washington
  • Gonzaga
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio State
  • Oregon
  • Stephen F. Austin
  • St. Joseph’s
  • Texas

Two of these one-vote teams were eliminated from the tournament on the very first day – No. 6 Ohio State (lost 60-59 to No. 1 Dayton), and No. 10 St. Joseph’s (lost 89-81 to No. 7 Connecticut).

How do your picks compare? Check out which teams our VIPs picked with our sortable table below.


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