by Ben Osborne/@bosborne17

Those of you who have bought (or received in the mail) your copy of the beautifully timed (thus far, at least) new issue should have noticed that we’ve continued our annual tradition of making our esteemed staff members and contributors look like idiots by asking them to make Elite 8, Final 4 and NCAA Champion predictions in mid-February. We wanted to add a twist this year and get a sentence from each person about why they chose who they chose, but didn’t have room to get those sentences in the mag. Well, they can live on here.

Behold SLAM’s 2010 Tournament picks, and note that the most popular selections then remain the most popular selections now. I haven’t filled out any brackets yet, but trust that I’m riding with a Kansas-Kentucky Final. Could be even more exciting than the Kansas-Memphis joint two years ago…

Jake Appleman, Senior Writerwesjohnsonforweb
Elite 8: Kansas, Kentucky, Villanova, Texas, UNLV, Purdue, Michigan State, Syracuse
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Villanova
Champs: Syracuse
Why? Hey grandpa, can you tell me about the time you played for LeMoyne and you guys beat Syracuse in the same season that they won the NCAA championship?

Russ Bengtson, Contributing Editor

Elite 8: Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Villanova
Final 4: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse
Champs: Kentucky
Why? John Calipari and John Wall didn’t come to Kentucky to finish second. They won’t.

Michael Bradley, Senior Writer
Elite 8: Butler, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Syracuse, Villanova
Final 4: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse
Champs: Kansas
Why? The Jayhawks have too much depth, a strong point guard and the power inside to succeed.

Cub Buenning, Contributor
Elite 8: Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse
Champs: Kansas
Why? Along with their talent, depth, experience and commitment to defense, no other team in the nation can hurt you offensively from all five positions quite like the Jayhawks can.

Franklyn Calle, Contributor
Elite 8: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Villanova
Champs: Kentucky
Why? I think this is the year John Calipari finally wins the whole thing. Calipari has always had one superstar on his team but this year that’s not the case as he has John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Adam Fleischer, Editorial Assistant
Elite 8: Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova
Final 4: Kansas State, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse
Champs: Kentucky
Why? Their youth (read: lack of experience) makes me a little nervous, but pure talent and coaching will help them overcome that.

Men's Basketball vs. BelmontRyan Jones, Contributing Editor
Elite 8: Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, New Mexico, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, Wisconsin
Final 4: Kansas, Michigan St, Texas, Villanova
Champs: Kansas
Why? Vets like Collins and Aldrich know what it takes. Ballers like Morris and our man Xavier put them over the top.

Ryne Nelson, Online Editor

Elite 8: Duke, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Villanova
Final Four: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Villanova
Champs: Villanova.
Why? ‘Nova’s offense is better than anyone else’s in the Big East and, arguably, across the nation as well.

Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief
Elite 8: Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Villanova
Champs: Kentucky
Why?
Um, they’re on our cover!

Dennis Page, Publisher
Elite 8: Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky Purdue, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova 
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Villanova
Champs: Kentucky

Susan Price, Managing Editor
Elite 8: Butler, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
Final 4: Butler, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia
Champs: Kentucky
Why? Cause Coach Cal said so.

Khalid Salaam, Contributing Editor
Elite 8: Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, West Virginia
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia
Champs: Kansas
Why? This year’s Jayhawks squad has the perfect balance of talent, heart, intelligence and experience. The only team in that nation that can claim all those things.

Tzvi Twersky, Assistant Editor
Elite 8: Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue, Texas
Champs: Kansas
Why? Kansas has the jockey (Self) and the horses to outlast Kentucky and all other comers in this derby.

Joey Whalen, Contributor
Elite 8: Baylor, Georgetown, Kentucky, New Mexico
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Wisconsin
Champs: Kansas
Why? The Jayhawks have the best combination of talent, balance and depth in the country, it doesn’t hurt that Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich have won a national championship already either.

Lang Whitaker, Executive Editor
Elite 8: Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Tennessee, West Virginia
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, West Virginia
Champs: Kentuckyukfor8
Why? Because they’ll want to make our cover look good

DeMarco Williams, Senior Writer
Elite 8: Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse,  Villanova
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Villanova
Champs: Michigan State
Why? With a healthy Kalin Lucas on the court and Tom Izzo on the sideline, I like the Spartans’ chances as well as anybody’s in Lawrence or Lexington.

By the way, intern Colin Powers had just started when we made the picks, and he formatted this post for me, so I let him make his picks today. No excuses if you don’t do best of anyone here, CP!

Colin Powers, Editorial Intern
Elite 8: Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Pitt, Syracuse, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Villanova
Final 4: Kansas, Kentucky, Pitt, Villanova
Champs: Kansas
Why? Too tough, too deep.