Running diary of filling out a March Madness bracket
It's 8:34 on the Wednesday night before the NCAA Tournament and it's time. Time to enter the Madness. I feel like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, getting ready to head up the river in search of Colonel Kurtz. But instead of Marlon Brando, I will find Bill Self lamenting the horror…the horror.
The following is my step-by-step journey to a winning bracket.
8:39 — It took me 5 minutes to write that crap.
8:41 — The first matchup I'm chewing on is West Virginia against Clemson, the team that did what the selection committee should have had the guts to do: deny UAB a shot. Going with the Mountaineers in part because Clemson is gonna be pooped and in part I'm thinking the pick will score me a free appetizer the next time I'm at Wolfley's Neighborhood Grill (conveniently located at the Desert Ridge Marketplace…right Wolf?)
8:48 — Not feeling any first round upsets in the East. But wait for it….wait for it…..
8:49 — Washington over North Carolina in the second round. UW can play at that pace and the Heels are young. Seth Davis wrote that North Carolina is ranked 323rd in the country in experience. Plus they looked shaky in the ACC tournament. And I'm a
Pac-10 Pac-12 homer.
8:51 — VCU just beat USC in the final play-in game (screw you NCAA I'll call it whatever I want). Ever notice that Kevin O'Neill looks like Larry David? VCU coach Shaka Smart just stuck out his tongue at Jay Bilas on national TV. No, he didn't. But he should have.
8:55 — Xavier over Syracuse. Like the Big East but not there. Besides, karma is on Xavier's side after Kenny Smith kept calling them Egg-savior on the selection show.
8:55 — The winner of the Ohio St./Kentucky game is going to the Final Four…of that I'm sure. Gotta be careful here. Going with the Buckeyes mainly because I think a lot of people are going to get trendy and go with Kentucky.
9:00 — Ohio State over Xavier for the right to go to the Final Four. I'm big in Ohio, what can I say?
9:03 — In the West, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, right on down to the Final Four. Kyrie Irving might be coming back; at the very least he has a twitter account devoted to his toe twitter.com/savekyriestoe. Too easy.
9:07 — Had to look up his name to be sure, Oakland center Keith Benson, the guy everyone says is NBA bound. Reason enough for me to take them over the Longhorns. Half the pundits say the Longhorns can make a deep run, the other half say they're vulnerable. I'll take a chance on this upset.
9:15 — This region came easy to me. Arizona over Oakland to get to the Sweet 16 (see my rationale at 8:49), but losing to Duke. UConn will face Duke in the regional final as I'm completely rejecting this UConn-will-be-gassed garbage. Duke in the Final Four. All Chalk…gotta mix it up.
9:18 — Leslie Visser is interviewing Jimmer Fredette. No idea she was still around. None.
9:24 — The Southwest region will be my first region where a number one doesn't get to the Final Four. It's all about trust, and I just don't trust Bill Self this time of year. Self's teams have been the victim of a first weekend shocker three times since 2005 (so says Sports Illustrated) including last year's loss to Northern Iowa. So who is taking them down?
9:29 — Louisville. Just decided it's going to be Louisville. But only if Rick Pitino promises to bust out that Colonel Sanders suit at some point during the tournament.
9:33 — My favorite of the #5 vs. #12 matchups is right here. Richmond over Vanderbilt. Might be the only one I pick. Richmond plays a Princeton offense; I think that's going to mess Vandy up.
9:35 — Notre Dame vs. Purdue in the regional semi's will be a swing game in the office pool. So for that reason I feel like going against the grain and picking the Irish even though they're the better seed. Notre Dame has never been a great tournament team but I think this is where the power of the Big East will help them. At least, until they play Louisville. They're my Final Four team here.
9:40 — Just saw this graphic on Sports Illustrated's website. Yep. I got UConn and Notre Dame in the Elite 8. Somewhere Bill Raftery just screamed "ONIONS".
9:43 — The Southeast is going to be the kooky bracket. Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 over BYU. Sorry Jimmer, but you're the Lone Ranger without Tonto. I got Belmont over Wisconsin. Old Dominion knocking off Pittsburgh, going with the theory that certain coaches just don't do well in the tourney. Jamie Dixon is one of those guys.
9:47 — I just had one of those moments that will be the turning point of my bracket. All along I was thinking Kansas State in the Final Four but I just talked myself out of it and instead, talked myself into Belmont upsetting the Wildcats to get a spot in the Sweet 16 where they will play ODU. If K-State gets to the Final Four, I'm going to be pissed.
9:53 — So to recap, in the Southwest bracket I've got 13-Belmont against 9-Old Dominion and 11-Gonzaga against 2-Florida in the Sweet 16. If I were a part of the Bracket Beatdown challenge between the Doug/Wolf and Gambo/Ash I would never, ever pick like this. It's reckless and irresponsible.
9:54 — Florida in the Final Four.
10:01 — Ohio State cuts down the nets, beating the Florida Gators. Revenge for the Buckeyes from the football title game a few years back and sweet relief for Jim Tressell. For now, no one in Columbus is talking about him.