Kids these days. So many distractions, so unfocused.

The problem naturally extends to college basketball.

"Kids are so inconsistent in how they perform each and every night," Jim Larranaga lamented last week. "And it's not just us. It's throughout the country."

Larranaga knows kids. He led George Mason to the Final Four and Miami to the ACC tournament championship. He also knows that reputation often means nothing at tournament time.

That's what makes Wichita State special entering the 2014 NCAA tournament. With a special brand of grit and smarts, the Shockers have been remarkably consistent for two years. Former College of Charleston assistant coach Gregg Marshall's team surprised its way to the Final Four last year, and a reconstructed team led by sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet enters this week's NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed with a 34-0 record.

Getting to The House That Jerry Jones Built outside Dallas for the Final Four won't be easy; Wichita State must defeat underseeded Kentucky and even more underseeded Louisville just to reach the Midwest Regional final. But Marshall's "Play Angry" charge and the Shockers' focus - that most precious sports commodity - is enough to push Wichita State all the way.

Once around the bracket:

South Regional

Top seed: Florida

Regional final site: FedEx Forum, Memphis

Best first-round game: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Tulsa. Steve Alford in his first year at UCLA has his hands full; former Kansas star Danny Manning just led Tulsa to the Conference USA tournament title.

Bracket buster: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 VCU

Star power: UCLA's 6-9 sophomore point Kyle Anderson guard is a matchup nightmare and a triple-double waiting to happen.

Cool collision course: Kansas-Syracuse makes for a juicy regional semifinal.

Geography madness: No. 6 Ohio State and No. 11 Dayton should be allowed to play their opening game at a true neutral site - Washington Courthouse, Ohio.

Officepoolology: Trust point spread over seeding.

Travesty of a mockery of a sham: The Atlantic 10 Conference doesn't deserve six NCAA tournament teams.

Unsung hero: Florida's four key seniors, led by 6-6 forward Casey Prather. They don't project as NBA stars but didn't lose an SEC regular season or tournament game this season.

Best nickname: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Sweet 16 picks: 1. Florida, 2. Kansas, 3. Syracuse, 4. UCLA

East Regional

Top seed: Virginia

Regional final site: Madison Square Garden, New York

Best first-round game: No. 12 Harvard vs. No. 5 Cincinnati. The Crimson got its first NCAA tournament win last year, stunning No. 3 New Mexico.

Bracket buster: No. 11 Providence - six wins in its last seven games - over No. 6 North Carolina in San Antonio (the Tar Heels were aiming for Raleigh).

Star power: Virginia is a wonderfully balanced team but 6-5 sophomore Malcolm Brogdon (12.3 points per game as the leading scorer) sticks out.

Cool collision course: No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 7 UConn in a clash of former Big East rivals.

Geography madness: Michigan State is the closest school to the host site in one Spokane's four-team pods.

Officepoolology: A No. 12 or No. 13 seed is a minimal upset risk in the first round.

Travesty of a mockery of a sham: This would have been more fun with SMU and head coach Larry Brown in the bracket.

Unsung hero: North Carolina Central's Jeremy Ingram (20.6 points per game) helped the Eagles go 28-5.

Best nickname: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Sweet 16 picks: 1. Virginia, 2. Villanova, 3. Iowa State, 4. Michigan State.

West Regional

Top seed: Arizona

Regional final site: Honda Center, Anaheim

Best first-round game: It will be interesting how No. 9 Oklahoma State, with NBA prospect Marcus Smart back in a groove, fairs against tournament-tested No. 8 Gonzaga.

Bracket buster: No. 10 BYU and sharpshooting Tyler Haws over No. 7 Oregon.

Star power: Creighton's 6-8 senior Doug McDermott leads the nation in scoring (26.9 points per game).

Cool collision course: A possible regional semifinal pitting No. 5 Oklahoma against No. 9 Oklahoma State.

Geography madness: No. 6 Baylor has an unfair advantage if it gets No. 3 Creighton in San Antonio.

Officepoolology: Fill out your bracket backward, starting with the Final Four.

Travesty of a mockery of a sham: Three of the Big 12's seven NCAA tournament teams - Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State - are crammed into this region.

Unsung hero: San Diego State's defense (No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, just behind Virginia and just ahead of Clemson).

Best nickname: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

Sweet 16 picks: No. 1 Arizona, No. Wisconsin, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6. Baylor

Midwest Regional

Top seed: Wichita State

Regional final site: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Best first-round game: Former Clemson head coach Rick Barnes was on the hot seat earlier this season but No. 7 Texas seems to have a slight edge against No. 10 Arizona State and Barnes' old ACC rival Herb Sendek, formerly of N.C. State.

Bracket buster: The N.C. State/Xavier winner will have a quick turnaround going from Dayton to Orlando but No. 5 Saint Louis has lost four of its last five and is vulnerable.

Star power: The entire Midwest Regional of Death, a team and individual talent parade led by Duke freshman Jabari Parker.

Cool collision course: (tie) Wichita State-Kentucky pits Gregg Marshall against John Calipari, a few weeks after ESPN's Andy Katz suggested Marshall as an ideal replacement candidate if Calipari bolts; Kentucky-Louisville in a regional semifinal.

Geography madness: Calipari complained about the seeding, but Lexington is closer to St. Louis than Wichita is to St. Louis.

Officepoolology: Lobby for authentic tests of prediction brilliance that don't allow multiple entries.

Travesty of a mockery of a sham: Louisville deserved at least a No. 3 seed.

Unsung hero: Arizona State's 7-2 Jordan Bachynski, the Pac-12's defensive player of the year, leads the nation with 4.1 blocks per game.

Best nickname: Saint Louis Billikens

Sweet 16 picks: No. 1 Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Louisville

Final Four: Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wichita State

National championship: Wichita State over Florida

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.