I don’t regret it.

If you were filling out a bracket, you could’ve taken 2 approaches. You could’ve picked the most likely outcomes or try to win your pool. There’s overlap, but those are different things.

I don’t regret not picking UConn to win a title. I was trying to win my bracket pool. And to be fair, I still had the Huskies getting to the title game.

You might be thinking that’s a dumb take because the person who’ll win my bracket pool — it’s only 13 people so nothing crazy — had UConn winning it all. There are also 6 people with UConn winning it all who are exactly where I am — eliminated.

I’ll still bang the drum that if Jamal Shead doesn’t get hurt against Duke, my Houston national championship pick would’ve at least given me later life in my pool. My brother won the pool for the first time, not just because he had UConn winning it all but because he had Purdue in the Final Four. It didn’t matter that he had Kentucky in his title game. The Purdue pick was key.

But I digress. There’s a good chance that your bracket pool has already been decided. Maybe you just want to bet the Final Four games straight up. If you want to do that, DraftKings Sportsbook is a great place to go.

For the sake of today’s argument, I’ll not focus on the spreads and I’ll just pick winners:

Purdue vs. NC State — NC State

I know. Zach Edey is playing like a man possessed and this Purdue squad could be on its way to pulling the 16-seed loss/national championship turnaround like 2018-19 Virginia. There’s a world in which Edey is bypassing the ladder and cutting down the nets on Monday night.

But man, how can you bet against NC State at this point? DJ Burns is leading America’s team. The 9 consecutive victories in win-or-go-home games already are the stuff of legend. Maybe a week of preparing to defend Edey with so much conversation on how he’s officiated will lead to him picking up a couple of cheap fouls early.

NC State is no longer an 11-seed. The tweaks by Kevin Keatts have worked wonders. It’ll be interesting to see if NC State can frustrate those Purdue guards and there’s too much pressure on Edey to put up a 40-point game. I’ll bank on that and say the Wolfpack run continues to the title game.

UConn vs. Alabama — UConn

Do I believe that the formula to beating UConn is by hitting a bunch of 3s and hoping that Dan Hurley’s squad plays a C+ game? Probably. Do I believe that Alabama will do that? I don’t. Not for 40 minutes. And let’s also remember that while Creighton lit it up with 14 made 3s the last time UConn went down, the second-to-last time that the Huskies lost, Seton Hall was only 3-for-8 from 3-point range.

What’s made the Huskies so dominant is their ability to beat you in a variety of ways. One way that Illinois showed us they cannot be beaten is by driving right at Donovan Clingan. As much as Alabama loves to get 3s up, they’re at their best when they can finish at the rim. That’ll be easier said than done.

Let’s also remember that as well as Alabama played defensively during the NCAA Tournament, those defensive lapses against UConn are magnified. It doesn’t have to be a 30-0 run like it was against Illinois for UConn to keep Alabama at an arm’s length.

But something like a 16-2 run will be the difference early in the second half and the Huskies will get to defend their title.

National championship: UConn vs. NC State — UConn

If this is 1983 all over again, that would mean Clingan is Hakeem Olajuwon, Alex Karaban is Clyde Drexler, Tristen Newton is Michael Young … etc.  There’s no ’83 NC State comp for DJ Burns (Thurl Bailey was great but he was a much different player from Burns). I bring this up because if NC State gets past Purdue, that’s going to be the conversation on Monday night.

Could history repeat itself? Yes … but it won’t in that way.

UConn will become the first team to repeat since 2006-07 Florida. Seventeen years after the Gators repeated, UConn has all the makings of doing just that. Of course, the difference is that it’s almost an entirely different cast and crew. Hurley is the common denominator. By the end of Monday night, we’ll be wondering how many teams were better than 2023-24 UConn. We’ll also be wondering where Hurley ranks among the top 21st-century coaches.

Legacies are on the line. UConn’s will be cemented in epically dominant fashion.