March Madness is upon us. As always, these picks come with the caveat that I have no idea what I’m doing. The odds of picking a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.*
*500,000 times larger than our national debt.
Nevertheless, I will attempt to justify some of my selections:
– A 12 always beats a 5. This year I like Oregon (the Pac 12 champion) and Cal to advance to the Round of 32.
– My biggest upset is #13 South Dakota State over #4 Michigan in the first round*. Michigan started the season 20-1 and was ranked #1 a few months ago, but they have lost 6 of their last 12 games. Also, I correctly picked a Michigan upset last year, so I thought I would do it again.
*The NCAA now refers to the four play-in games as the ‘first round’ and the Round of 64 as the ‘second round.’ So technically this is the second round. Even though it shouldn’t be.
– I also have Montana beating Syracuse. Why? I don’t know.
– Other first round upsets: St. Mary’s over Memphis, Belmont over Arizona, Iowa State over Notre Dame, Cincinnati over Creighton, Oklahoma over San Diego State, and Minnesota over UCLA.
– A handful of 1’s and 2’s lose in the Round of 32 each year. I don’t see Gonzaga, Kansas, or Georgetown reaching the Sweet 16.
– There’s still something magical about Butler. I have them in the Elite 8.
– Duke has only lost once with Ryan Kelly (to Maryland, last week). I think they’re the best team in the Mid-West Region and have them in the Final 4.
– Ohio State won the toughest conference in college basketball this year, and they are better than Gonzaga. I think they’ll be in the Final 4.
– That said, I have another Big 10 school winning it all: Indiana. I have always had a soft spot for the Hoosiers. I think this is their year.
The next few days are some of my favorite of the year. 10+ hours of college basketball each day that will inevitably feature buzzer beaters, upsets, and crazy finishes. Maybe one of them will top my favorite game of all time.