Every March brings excitement for me. The thought of the bitter cold headed out very soon, the anticipation of a new baseball season right around the corner, hockey and basketball playoffs following closely behind, and of course March Madness. Not being a huge fan of regular season college basketball certainly limits my knowledge this time of year when filling out my bracket, but it still is one of the most exciting, and enjoyable times of year for me.
Completing a bracket for me is just all in fun, but I'm very competitive when it comes to anything sports. So competing against friends, even just for bragging rights, still gives me inspiration to try my best. Now when picking my winners I don't do extensive research or analyzing stats for hours on end, I tend to use my basic knowledge of the best teams and use gut feelings when picking upsets. This method can be good and bad at the same time. So far after just the first round my bracket has taken some gut shots from Mike Tyson (thank you Georgetown) but the core still remains intact. My Final Four are all still dancing, and I've only lost one elite 8 team (again, thanks goes to Georgetown).
Round 2 is going to be a true test to my bracketology skills. If all goes well in this round for me I have the first number 1 seed falling (Duke), a mini-Cinderella moving on to the Sweet 16 (Washington), and the potential of 11 of my teams still alive in the Sweet 16 including all of my Final Four. History doesn’t vote well for me in this situation though. In the short time that I’ve been filling out and following my bracket, my performance has never been impressive. Let’s break down my brutal failures that were round one.
Biggest Heartbreak Award: Goes to Vandy and Georgetown; A Sweet 16 and an Elite 8 team both ousted on the first day in huge upsets that weren’t a gut feeling, just a gut shot; and, not to mention, a huge blow to my West and Midwest side.
Upset Picks That Just Upset Award: And the winners are Minnesota and Utah State. Here my inexperience shows with blinding light. Utah St. was a definite gut feeling gone wrong and trusting Tubby Smith and the Big 10 never seems to be a good idea. But I went for it, losing 2 more Sweet 16 teams to uneducated picks.
Just Plain Bad Picks Award: Wofford over Wisconsin and UTEP over Butler. I know I know, I have no excuse for myself here. I’ve taken my punches for these picks; at least I only picked them for one win and not anything insane like Elite 8 or Final Four.
Now it wasn’t all bad, I had some signs of genius in the first round as well. I made some quality picks and didn’t get crazy and pick a 16 seed over a 1 seed or a 15 over a 2 seed. My best upsets, which actually panned out, consisted of Washington, Missouri, GA Tech, N Iowa, and St. Mary’s. My Cinderella will hopefully show up to the ball in round 2; California’s play last night gave me confidence that they can make a run and beat Duke in an upset and hopefully keep my bracket alive and make it all the way to the Elite 8.
The excitement of the first 2 rounds of the NCAA tournament is like nothing else in sports. Just the amount of games being played all over the country and the excitement and anticipation of that huge upset, or buzzer beating shot is enough to keep me on the edge of my seat watching all weekend long. Hopefully my bracket (and yours) will have enough left in the tank to make it through to the Sweet 16, along with Cal, Washington, and all of my Final Four teams.