March Madness is once again upon us—that time in which college hoops fans everywhere will be shirking their real world responsibilities to obsess over the hoops action and the state of their brackets.
Inevitably, many knowledgeable fans will confidently enter their picks into their office pool believing this will finally be the year, only to end up losing to the boss’ wife who made all of her picks based on the different mascots.
It seems these people take home the prize far too often, doesn’t it? How is it that the most hoops-crazy fan never seems to win?
Although it seems to be purely an occurrence of horrible luck, in reality the greatest downfall of most brackets is probably homerism. As a huge Orange fan, there’s a reason that I’ve only managed to win two bracket pools, both of which were in the same season. Syracuse was in the NIT that year, thus removing any bias I had in making my selections. Every other year, great picks were for naught because I let my heart put the Orange in the Final Four when my brain was warning me about an early exit.
It could be more of the same this year. I’ll inevitably pick my Orange to end up among the last four teams playing, for better or worse. This season though—my heart and my head are in agreement. Despite a meaningless loss to Louisville after clinching the Big East regular season title and then finally succumbing to blood-rival Georgetown after two relatively easy wins during the year, the Orange have the look of a Final Four to me.
And so, with my clear bias out in the open I’d like to offer a breakdown on Syracuse’s road through the Houston region towards Indianapolis.
Watching the Selection Show, I have to admit it didn’t take long for the committee to give me a serious shock. Duke getting the third 1-seed was a surprise, as I was convinced that West Virginia would grab the last No. 1 and Syracuse would be third overall. However, the announcement that really left my jaw sitting on the floor was the draw the Orange received for the first round.
I’m going to be having nightmares for the next few days, as Syracuse prepares to exact revenge on Vermont, who famously upset a fourth-seeded Syracuse team in the first round of the 2005 tournament. However, my own paranoia aside, when picking brackets the last thing anyone should ever do is pick a No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed. When filling the bracket, don’t even think about trying to pick the upset here. Even if it were to happen, it won’t hurt you to miss this one, because nobody else is going to pick that anyway.
Now that I've got that off my chest, here's how I believe the rest of the West region will shake out: