Picking an Upset in March Madness

Micah SecorCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - MARCH 22:  Chris Wright #33 of the Dayton Flyers dunks against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on March 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

What an amazing week it has been for College Basketball. Has it really been just four short days since March Madness began?

Over the course of these last four days, unforgettable moments and extraordinary plays have captivated the basketball audience of America.

Thrilling upsets and jaw-dropping finishes have left us all in shock, disbelief, and amazement as we shake our heads and ask our friends: "Did that really just happen?"

And before we know it, a champion will be crowned as another fantastic season of college basketball is put in to the record books.

When the dust settles, the last team left standing will take their place in college basketball history.

As for the losers, fans and players will reflect back on the season with unanswered questions and regret, spliced with the hope of redemption next season.

Like the rest of you, I just can't get enough of March Madness. There's something about this time of year that is different.

Each year, alongside much of the country, I have participated in the ESPN Tournament Challenge, and every year, I get the same outcome.

On Selection Sunday, in a giddy and jovial mood I fill out my brackets, going team by team, trying to visualize games in my mind. I submit my picks just knowing that my bracket is going to be the best, and during class I daydream about what I'll do with my $10,000 after I win.

Then the crashing thud of upsets kick in, and before I know it, my chances of winning are gone like the wind.

Everything comes down to picking the vaunted upset teams. It's that one sexy pick, that team that you brag about to your friends as you fill out your bracket, because you just can't help but think of how cool you will look once it happens. Or in my case, how foolish I look when it doesn't.

This year, my upset team was Utah State. I was sure that they would be last year's Davidson, but I was wrong as they narrowly lost to Marquette. North Dakota State had tempted me, but luckily I layed off.

Out of nowhere, Cleveland State pulled the major upset over a battle tested Wake Forest team. Along with 96% of the hundreds of thousands Americans that had picked Wake, I was left scratching my head. Then a Dayton team without its starting PG somehow dismantled West Virginia.

It had happened again. Each year I miss the upsets and it sends my bracket to the dry cleaners.

I wish there was some type of formula to picking the right upset team, but unfortunately there isn't. I've learned something this year though, that has opened my eyes.

Never ever ever listen to the analysts. If you have a set pick in your mind, don't let someone change your opinion. Your gut instinct matters, and when someone messes with it, even if it is an ESPN analyst, your bracket will go haywire.

I had thought long and hard about Cleveland State, and my mind told me go for it, but after hearing this and that about how good Wake Forest was and how far they would go, I went against my gut instinct.

Look where it got me, along with God knows how many other Americans.

It's safe to say I've learned my lesson now, and I will get back to enjoying this incredible month of basketball, with the field cut down to 16 teams.

One of these years I'd like to nail those upset teams. I don't think I could even begin to describe what I would feel.

So to the few of you that nailed the upsets this year, I congratulate you. And, well, everybody else, it was a good try. We'll get 'em next year.