To everyone who isn”t doing well in your pool: Listen to us more often.

Paul Wong
Maryland”s Taj Holden (left) and Juan Dixon celebrate their victory over Stanford which punched their ticket to the Final Four.<br><br>AP PHOTO

Our pre-season picks in Tipoff were so money that you don”t even know it.

We told you that Arizona would be in the Final Four. We told you that Duke would be there. And we told you that Maryland would be there. All three are.

Sure, we also said Michigan State the other team in the Final Four was the most overrated team in the country, but three out of four is pretty good, especially before the season even starts.

Now, for all of you thinking luck had a lot do with our picks, we also pegged Player of the Year (Shane Battier) and Freshman of the Year (Eddie Griffin), so we clearly know a lot more about basketball than all you schlubs with ruined brackets.

So what does Swami say will happen this weekend?

Duke should beat Maryland by 13.

Think about it. Duke beat Michigan by 43, and Maryland beat the Big Blue by 31. Even Brian Ellerbe could tell you that means Duke is 13 points better. Or so the transitive property would have you believe.

In actuality, the Terps will find a way to win. Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon are playing like All-Americans and Terrence Morris is playing like LaVell Blanchard pretty well but getting way too much credit for it.

And, well, we picked Maryland to win the national title.

On the other half of the draw, look for Arizona to beat Michigan State.

For the last three years, everything Sparty touched turned to gold, while everything Michigan touched, turned to, well, that”s another story.

This trend will change. It has to.

Loren Woods, Richard Jefferson and Gilbert Arenas are playing well and Michigan State is beatable though Ellerbe would tell you otherwise especially if Charlie Bell, Marcus Taylor and Jason Richardson don”t shoot well from the perimeter.

Plus, the Spartans beat Michigan by an average of just 24 points this year. The Wildcats would have certainly beaten Michigan by way more than that.

We promised you Maryland would win it all at the start of the year, and the only surer thing than a promise from us is a promise from Drew Henson, so look for Gary Williams sweaty suit and all to cut down the nets in Minneapolis next Monday.

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