THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
March Madness: Filling Out My Bracket
Join me as I walk you through how I came to the conclusions I came up with.
When I was in college, I consumed waaaaaaaaay too much college basketball and as a result, was usually the go to in the dorms when March Madness rolled around. My "expertise" even got me some rare air time as the young, cocky sports intern at KMTR-TV in Eugene. As I get older, more engrossed in life, job, etc, I find myself watching college hoops less and less. The good news is that thanks to the nature of March Madness and its unpredictability, I can still act like an expert! If you're still looking at that confusing piece of paper and wondering who Lipscomb is, fear not, I will now share with you the methods to my madness.
First Steps - Some years I know who I think is going to win it all before I fill out my bracket (In a not at all homer pick, I wrote Oregon in the Champions line the last two years), but most years I don't actually know until I reach the moment of truth and I have to write a winner between the two teams I have used process of elimination to reach the National Championship. This year was sort of in between, as I had an idea of who I was going to ride with, but wasn't 100% sure until I reached that moment.
Upsets - It wouldn't be March without a school you've never heard off coming out of nowhere and shocking the world. But which upsets to pick? Well, a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed so cross out the UMBC Retrivers. Conversely, a 12 seed has knocked off a 5 seed in all but three Tournaments since 1989, and the 11 seeds are 6-2 in the last two tournaments. I always look at those two seed lines, pick the matchups that feature either the most vulnerable 5-6 or the most underrated 11-12. This year I have Davidson over Kentucky and South Dakota State over Ohio State, with San Diego State, Arizona State, and St. Bonaventure registering 11 over 6 upsets. They don't happen every year, but I always have one Top Four seed going out, this year I have Stephen F. Austin knocking off in-state rival Texas Tech.
History - There are a few teams that have hurt my bracket too many times over the years that I fully expect them to choke once March rolls around. Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Pitt and Virginia are those teams. While Wake Forest and Pitt didn't make the Tournament, the "experts" are high on Gonzaga, but I can't see them getting past the Sweet 16. Same for Virginia, despite being the #1 overall seed, history and a tough match up with Deandre Ayton and Arizona should be too much for the Hoos.
Filling It In - There's not much left to do but go round by round, top to bottom, filling in the blanks until you arrive at the conclusion. Here's what I got this year, who did you pick?
Live NCAA Tournament Bracket updates throughout March Madness.