Over the past two days, I’ve watched some 26 hours of college basketball–and loved every minute of it. My favourite part was when CBS would run the promo for the round-by-round brackets. When the play-by-play guy would ask “Is your bracket busted?” I’d respond with a resounding “No!” Fifteen of my Sweet 16 made it through to the third round, so there’s really no point in making new picks when the old ones will do just fine!
Of course, I got burned by Mercer beating Duke, along with everyone else not named Sam Mitchell. Looks like the Duke players won’t be getting their very own Belle Knox pocket pussy–unless they pay retail. But I’m glad I only had Duke in my Elite Eight. Their hottest frosh (no, not Jabari Parker) had them going all the way, and not just with a mold of her vagina. I would be feeling a bit better had I picked them to lose to Michigan in the Sweet 16, but still, I can’t really complain.
As it stands, I’m currently in third out of 27 players in my tourney pool, where the top three finishers take home some cash. This is the same pool where I finished in the bottom five last year after picking Gonzaga to go all the way. So perhaps some redemption is in order, although I’d probably need at least 12 teams to actually make the Sweet 16 to keep up my podium pace. With that said, here’s who I like in today’s games:
12:15 pm: Florida over Pittsburgh – This matchup might have gotten a bit more interesting after Thursday’s results. While Florida, the number-one overall seed, struggled slightly against Albany, Pitt put up the most dominating performance of the second round, especially considering that they were facing a higher seed (8 vs 9, but still). That being said, I fully expect the Florida team that went 33-2 on the season to show up for this game. I’ve got ‘em in my Elite Eight, albeit not my Final Four.
2:45 pm: Louisville over Saint Louis – Speaking of the Final Four, I’ve advanced the defending champs all the way to the title game. Saint Louis really shouldn’t even be here, and if NC State could make a few free throws, they wouldn’t be. The Billikens really don’t impress-a me much–although, as far as team names go, I guess they’re better than the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. (Apparently, it’s a type of chicken.)
5:15 pm: Michigan over Texas – There were several surprisingly close 1-16 and 2-15 matchups in the this year’s tournament. But not so for the Wolverines, who held Wofford College to just 40 points. Texas, meanwhile, needed a buzzer beater to get past a 10-seed that I didn’t rate too highly in Arizona State. This one shouldn’t go down to the last second.
6:10 pm: San Diego State over North Dakota State – I had actually called the 12-5 upset with North Dakota State beating Oklahoma in the first round. But speaking of upset specials, I’ve got San Diego State over Arizona to advance to the Elite Eight. Their overtime squeaker over New Mexico State made me a little uneasy, but it’s worth noting that the second-ranked defense in the country held its opponent to 60 points in regulation, just a shade over its season average (57 ppg allowed). If defense wins championships, the Aztecs remain a force to be reckoned with.
7:10 pm: Syracuse over Dayton – Granted, I did not have Dayton in this game on my bracket, but after a convincing 24-point second-round win, I don’t think Syracuse is ripe for an upset–especially not with the de facto homecourt advantage in Buffalo.
7:45 pm: Wisconsin over Oregon — Yes, Oregon had a pretty impressive second round, beating BYU by 19 in a game I totally got wrong. But Wisconsin won by 40, holding its opponent to just 13 second-half points. If defense wins championships…hey, I’ve got the Badgers in my Final Four.
8:40 pm: Michigan State over Harvard – I also called Harvard over Cincy in another 12-5 upset, but I think the buck stops here for the Future Leaders of Tomorrow. Michigan State is one of the best teams in the country today, and since they wouldn’t have to face Michigan or Wisconsin until the title game, I’ve got them going all the way…as do at least half the people in my pool, and probably yours, too.
9:40 pm: Villanova over Connecticut – Though they might rather have faced their Philly brethren (I had St. Joe’s beating UConn), I’m sure Villanova will settle for their former Big East rivals. Nova is the best team that stayed in the conference now nicknamed the Catholic 10, and only had one loss to a school not named Syracuse or Creighton this season. For what it’s worth, they beat St. Joe’s by 30 in December, but I think this one could be a little closer against Connecticut.