NCAA bracket predictions 2013: Men's fashion as a guide to March Madness

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

What's crazier: spending hours reading stats and comparing the experts or giving all 64 teams the eyeball test? Click here for our real bracket predictions.

Face it, you probably will spend the better part of this week filling out your bracket. Read the experts, check out their picks. Do a little digging and get a sense of the sleeper teams so you can get that advantage for the office pool. Hey, we've all been there. This year, I went with a simpler system that appeals to my basic vanity. I filled out my bracket based exclusively on my keen eye for men's fashion.

I think you'll find the results rewarding on several levels. Even if it doesn't help you beat that nerd in accounts receivable who wins every year, you'll at least get some hot fashion tips that'll leave the office pool swooning.


Midwest Region


Louisville (1) vs. Liberty (16)

Valentino red matches with anything or stands superbly on its own, which makes the Cardinals' jerseys, arguably, the best in the field.

Winner: Louisville

Colorado State (8) vs. Missouri (9)

Green can be tough to pull off, but CSU's muted forest green (because Colorado mountains and outdoors and stuff!) does it without making the players glow like a coked up leprechaun. Combine it with a nice match of gold letters, and Mizzou's dreary yellow and black doesn't stand a chance.

Winner: Colorado State

Oklahoma State (5) vs. Oregon (12)

This is the championship game for bad uniforms. OSU's unis are a lovely shade of George Hamilton. That's acceptable if you worship the sun and pal around with Burt Reynolds. Oregon has blazed new frontiers in hideous endeavors because Nike money can buy everything but taste.

Winner: Oregon, because my eyes can't withstand the burning sensation of OSU's orange.

Saint Louis (4) vs. New Mexico State (13)

This is about uniforms, not logos, but I can't overlook New Mexico State's angry cowboy. They're the Aggies. Are they supposed to be defending their sheep pastures from cattle ranchers? Fortunately, they have help from a mysterious man in the form of 7'5 Sim Bhullar (Shane was not available). Blue and white uniforms have been spoiled by Duke, so Saint Louis could be in real trouble.

Winner: New Mexico State and the fightin' homesteaders!

Memphis (6) vs. Middle Tenn State (11)

Tennessee on Tennessee violence, and they both claim blue and white uniforms. The Middle Tennesseans keep it simple, sticking with solid colors. Memphis throws in a crazy stripe thing that goes from a player's right thigh up to his shoulder. It's scientifically proven to make them faster.

Winner: Memphis

Michigan State (3) vs. Valparaiso (14)

Brown and gold is bold, baby! They also have some fantastic "Indiana Jones" style lettering emblazoned across the front of the jerseys. But here's the thing: Valpo has an unfortunate matchup with one of the most iconic college uniforms, to which I'll have to defer in this case.

Winner: Michigan State

Creighton (7) vs. Cincinnati (10)

All of Cincinnati's letters are leaning forward, on both the home and road jerseys. What, do they think they're MSNBC? Over in Omaha, folks don't like leanin' at all; the sturdy Midwesterner stands his ground. The Blue Jays' timeless blue shirts will serve them well for a run deep enough into the tournament to make the Missouri Valley Conference a nationally known commodity for a week.

Winner: Creighton

Duke (2) vs. Albany (15)

Albany's purple and gold jerseys make me think of the Lakers of old, and I love the long line of gold rectangles running up the side. Duke's got one of the most iconic brands in college hoops though, its devil winking to acknowledge the rest of the world's contempt for the school that made Richard Nixon even more of a snake by giving him a law degree. Nevertheless, blue and white uniforms are the little black cocktail dress of the NCAA tournament. You gotta really bring something to win out with purple and gold.

Winner: Duke


Louisville vs. Colorado State

Valentino red always wins. Always.

Winner: Louisville


Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon vs. New Mexico State

Yellow jerseys neutralize well-armed squatters. It worked in the Lincoln County Cattle War and will do the trick here too.

Winner: Oregon

Memphis vs. Michigan State

Never bet against an x-factor like the racing stripe.

Winner: Memphis

Creighton vs. Duke

White on white violence, with a lot of blue thrown into the fray. Sometimes the bad guys win (Duke alum and cheater Richard Nixon won two White House terms), because they know looking the part matters (again, 1960 Nixon versus 1968 Nixon).

Winner: Duke

West Region


Gonzaga (1) vs. Southern (16)

Gonzaga's blue uniforms, with a lone bulldog head anchoring the chest, are the best. They should be allowed to wear them throughout the tournament, but the advantage would be unfair.

Winner: Gonzaga

Pittsburgh (8) vs. Wichita State (9)

The only thing shocking about the Shockers' uniforms is how ugly they are. Bright yellow? Pass. Pitt wins by default, but don't sleep on those shirts either; they could surprise you in the next round.

Winner: Pittsburgh

Wisconsin (5) vs. Ole Miss (12)

Marshall Henderson makes any jersey great with his antics, and his Rebels' blue and red combo tops Wisconsin's beet red and white. If you're looking for a 5-12 upset pick, this is it.

Winner: Ole Miss

Kansas State (4) vs. La Salle (13)

More leaning letters? Ugh. Still, Kansas State has to do something to up the excitement factor, because Kansas. La Salle is another underdog sporting blue and gold, and it's a damn fine blend of the two.

Winner: La Salle

Arizona (6) vs. Belmont (11)

Arizona calls its colors "cardinal" and "navy blue." What's not to like? Throw in some pointy letters on the jersey, and a fabulous red alternate jersey with black letters that screams "basketball anarchy!" and they should walk right over Belmont.

Winner: Arizona

New Mexico (3) vs. Harvard (14)

New Mexico's uniforms won't leave you howling at the moon with delight, but for day wear they work. If only someone would take away Steve Alford's terrible off-the-rack suits.

Winner: New Mexico

Notre Dame (7) vs. Iowa State (10)

What do you think of when you think about yellow and red? Ketchup and mustard should have been your answer. Nobody wants to wear around clothes that look like you spilled a Quarter Pounder with Cheese down the front. Set aside your reservations about Notre Dame, and pick their navy blue smocks. However, if Notre Dame wears their shamrock shake jerseys, forget it.

Winner: Notre Dame

Ohio State (2) vs. Iona (15)

I love Iona's big block letters on their jerseys, surplus chic. Bold fashion choice!

Winner: Iona


Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh

Again, blue jerseys with a bulldog logo centered in the middle trump all comers.

Winner: Gonzaga


Douglas C. Pizac-USA Today Sports

Ole Miss vs. La Salle

Ole Miss over La Salle here. There might not be a blue and gold combo in the Sweet 16 for the first time in many, many years.

Winner: Ole Miss

Arizona vs. New Mexico

If Arizona wears their alternate jerseys, New Mexico doesn't stand a chance. The Wildcats have the edge anyway, thanks to some plain ass Lobos uniforms.

Winner: Arizona

Notre Dame vs. Iona

It's been a good month or so for religious smocks. Nobody understands that better than a pair of Catholic schools. Iona's block letters are awesome, but it's no match for the well-heeled parishioners clad in blue and gold.

Winner: Notre Dame

South Region


Kansas (1) vs. Western Kentucky (16)

Kansas' blue jerseys are another one of those iconic entrants here. Lighter than a navy, the design adds white piping and red accents to really make it pop. Jayhawks? More like JayHOTS!

Winner: Kansas

North Carolina (8) vs. Villanova (9)

Ugh, powder blue in 2013? UNC is O-U-T.

Winner: Villanova

VCU (5) vs. Akron (12)

Mizzou could learn a lot from VCU about doing black and yellow tastefully.

Winner: VCU

Michigan (4) vs. South Dakota State (13)

There are only a few ways to do yellow jerseys, and Michigan has figured it out with timeless blue block letters to anchor your gaze.

Winner: Michigan

UCLA (6) vs. Minnesota (11)

Fortunately for the Bruins, the basketball team doesn't embrace powder blue the same way the football team does, and look which one is playing meaningful postseason games.

Winner: UCLA

Florida (3) vs. Northwestern State (14)

Florida's uniforms are another solid example of quality looks from standardized day wear. Bonus: if you're on bath salts they glow.

Winner: Florida

San Diego State (7) vs. Oklahoma (10)

Black uniforms are totally in this year, and SDSU's combo with white and scarlet really nails it. If the designers could throw in some more of the school's gold logo color, we might be looking at a piece that's wearable for seasons to come.

Winner: San Diego State

Georgetown (2) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (15)

Love, love, love the blue and silver combo the Hoyas sport, but they've been doing basketball right for a long time. And the tall skinny lettering? Just perfect. Might be the best-looking shirt in the tourney this year.

Winner: Georgetown


Kansas vs. Villanova

Jayhawks, and it's not even close. You could wear those jerseys to a basketball game or a fancy dinner at Lawrence's finest restaurant, Red Lobster.

Winner: Kansas

VCU vs. Michigan

This game could decide the future of yellow jerseys. Is yellow and blue better than yellow and black? In this case, it probably is.

Winner: Michigan

UCLA vs. Florida

Arbitrary tiebreaker: Which school is slightly more disgraced than the other?

Winner: Florida

San Diego State vs. Georgetown

The black jerseys are the best part about this year's tournament, but no trend, not matter how hot it is, beats the colors and style of Georgetown's uniforms here. This is a Final Four team for sure.

Winner: Georgetown

East Region


Indiana (1) vs. JMU (16)

Indiana goes just dark enough with their red to make this happen.

Winner: Indiana

N.C. State (8) vs. Temple (9)

You think NC State's unis are just going to be another understated red and white combo. Then, the players turn to the side to reveal some kind of bizarre pixelated pattern on the leg. No thanks. Go Temple.

Winner: Temple

UNLV (5) vs. California (12)

Cal's blue trumps UNLV's dull red jerseys any day.

Winner: Cal

Syracuse (4) vs. Montana (13)

I've been pretty harsh on orange jerseys, but I'll give Syracuse the nod here. What saves their solid orange unis is an elegant set of compressed white block letters and gray numbers. Montana would have better uniforms if they could keep their best and brightest from trying to start their own republics on moderate-sized ranches.

Winner: Syracuse

Butler (6) vs. Bucknell (11)

Bracketologists call Butler a "mid-major," but there's nothing middling about the Bulldogs' embrace of a black away jersey. They might bust your bracket, but they won't break your keen fashion sense. Thus exhausts my fashion puns for the day.

Winner: Butler

Marquette (3) vs. Davidson (14)

Hats off to Marquette for spicing up the yellow jersey with a horizontal stripe pattern up the sides. It's that kind of bold thinking that just might give these Jesuits a shot at the title.

Winner: Marquette

Illinois (7) vs. Colorado (10)

Now we're talking orange. The Fightin' Illini get big points for making their jerseys orange, without being too orange. It doesn't burn the retina like Oklahoma State's jerseys. My applause to Colorado for trying to tone it down with the beige, but it's also beige.

Winner: Illinois

Miami (2) vs. Pacific (15)

Miami does lettering really well. The funky 'U' says to me, "let's party and enjoy some competitive basketball, wooo!" However, it's the excellent 80s version of "Miami," with the lowercase letters across the front of the jerseys that really get my attention. Hats off to Miami for the homage to the days of Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs.

Winner: Miami


Indiana vs. Temple

Temple got through the last round by default. Not this time. Indiana's jerseys do a huge favor for solid colors.

Winner: Indiana

Cal vs. Syracuse

Bold colors present the fashion-conscious team with a real conundrum. Few wear them well because they picked the wrong Pantone or slapped an arbitrary accent color on it. Think about that dude you know who wears red khakis. Do you notice his pants right away? You shouldn't. The same goes for the Orange, who were smart enough to pick that name for themselves. When you do bold colors right, it's unstoppable.

Winner: Syracuse

Marquette vs. Butler

Gonzaga really owns the black uniform trend better than any other team this year, but Butler's giving it a real run. I think they'll expose Marquette's stripes, making it look like one of those bad woven belts your girlfriend convinced you to wear to an Arrested Development concert in the 90s.

Winner: Butler

Illinois vs. Miami

Miami goes 80s without really looking too retro. Fashion homage at its finest. Cut up lines and let's dance!

Winner: Miami

Sweet 16

Louisville vs. Oregon

This matchup exists only to expose what happens when stupid trends run into something timeless.

Winner: Louisville

Memphis vs. Duke

You want to see Duke lose for many reasons, but Memphis' racing stripe just isn't going to make it happen.

Winner: Duke

Gonzaga vs. Ole Miss

It's time for the Cinderella story to end for Ole Miss, and there's only room for one red-clad team this far into the tourney. Let's give it up for Gonzaga, who seem poised to take the blue jerseys all the way.

Winner: Gonzaga

Arizona vs. Notre Dame

Gotta go with the Irish and their sacred navy blues.

Winner: Notre Dame

Kansas vs. Michigan

Quite the showdown, but for as well put together as Michigan's uniforms are, they're no match for what Kansas has done here.

Winner: Kansas


Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Florida vs. Georgetown

Please, this is nice school clothes from Macy's up against some fancy shit from the sixth floor at Bloomingdale's (where I've only been because of a hangover and the need to vomit among the one percent).

Winner: Georgetown

Indiana vs. Syracuse

Bold choices sometimes pay big dividends, again, if they're done correctly.

Winner: Syracuse

Butler vs. Miami

Sometimes, I confuse Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" with that one really well-known Gloria Estefan song. Either way, they're both about putting fun above all else in your life. What's more fun: hanging out in Indianapolis or watching the letters on Miami's jerseys grind to the beat in a South Beach club?

Winner: Miami

Elite Eight

Louisville vs. Duke

Finally, we can send Duke home to wander the streets of Durham in Dockers, flip flops and blue polos. Our heroes in crimson triumph here, a victory for good taste and a reminder that it's just not attainable for all.

Winner: Louisville

Arizona vs. Gonzaga

Awkward white guys like Kelly Olynyk are a lot less awkward in these hip black smocks. More bold flavors in the Final Four? Yes, please.

Winner: Gonzaga

Kansas vs. Georgetown

This should be epic. Georgetown puts a new twist on the classic combination of blue and gray. Kansas' red, white and blue combination isn't cutting edge, but it's rooted deep in tradition, like a white dress shirt that never goes out of style. I think the Hoyas carry this one, but it's close.

Winner: Georgetown

Syracuse vs. Miami

Come on everybody, feel that beat one last time. Miami's uniforms are a personal favorite in this year's tournament, with its homage to our 1980s Id. But fashion is also about pushing boundaries, and Syracuse's uniforms do just that by excepting themselves from the rule that orange is a terrible color for anyone to wear.

Winner: Syracuse


Final Four

Louisville vs. Gonzaga

A battle for the ages. Gonzaga typifies the hot trend, but the hot trend done exceedingly well. It's tough for trend, no matter how great it is, to challenge an icon. I think this is the year trend wins out.

Winner: Gonzaga

Georgetown vs. Syracuse

Syracuse made it this far by being bold. We applaud that. However, it's no match for the blue and grays from Georgetown, who faced its toughest test in the last round against Kansas.

Winner: Georgetown

National Championship Game

Gonzaga vs. Georgetown

Black, gray, white, blue, and a little red. Nothing screams men's fashion quite like this championship game. It's not for the faint of heart. Folks, Georgetown has the best uniforms in this thing. I can tell how good a bottle of wine is by how much I like the label. Picking college basketball games is no different. Congrats, Georgetown, you won it all.

Winner: Georgetown

More in College Basketball:

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