By Brian Batty
So here we are. We are officially entering the Casual Sports Fan Super Bowl. Everyone loves filling out a bracket, using whatever wacky formula there may be. Uniform colors, mascot’s, number of white guys in the starting five, I’ve seen them all. But here’s the thing, no matter if your Jay Bilas or your cousin’s ex girlfriend saying “WOOO GO HARVARD LOL” on her Facebook, nobody really knows what the hell is going on.
With the new statistical revolution sweeping across sports like an annoying nerd typhoon, March Madness is the one sporting event that really can’t be touched by numbers. Could a single computer system predicting George Mason winning over America on their way to the Final Four in 2006? Is there an algorithm to support Wichita State making the Final Four last year? It doesn’t exist. The ultimate crap-shoot is here baby, and let the chaos reign supreme.
For a lot of people, the quietest, and softest region of the four. I won’t lie; I’m a huge Wisconsin fan/homer. I have no problems at all admitting that, so it’s hard for me to rationally look at this bracket but I’ll give it my best shot. Arizona may or may not be the best team in this region; it really is hard to tell. After losing Brandon Ashley earlier in the season, the Wildcats could have gone either way. But led by All-American Nick Johnson they were able to keep the ship afloat and cruise through the Pac-12.
Everyone’s sweetheart Dougie McBuckets is out to prove to everyone for the ten millionth time that yes, white dudes can hoop. The dream season continues for the senior, as him and his Dad head into the tournament as not quirky little underdog Creighton, but as a team with a target on their back. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. Creighton against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 (If they both get there. Oh God, I shouldn’t have said that. I probably just jinxed the Badgers didn’t I? Ok I’m going to shut up about it now, because now the word jinx is out there and I just blew the entire thing. Sorry Bo Ryan) should be an incredible white-wash of three point shooting.
I’m just going to go ahead and say my Badgers are coming out of this region. I know, I’m an idiot homer. That’s completely fine I don’t care. But all they need to do is shoot just about 45 percent for four games, and they find themselves in the Final 4. The style the Badgers play lends itself immensely to a tournament type atmosphere. The slow, grind it out, play your style no matter what type team is usually the type of team that makes a big run – besides the obvious “well we’re just more talented than you” teams. Wisconsin’s only problem, as always, is their prolonged shooting slumps that always seem to come at the worst time. Not this year though, they take this one
If I hear one more Michigan State is the best team now that they’re healthy blah blah blah nonsense my head is going to explode. We might as well not even play this and just send all of these kids home because apparently Sparty has already won the whole thing! Look I get it; it’s Tom Izzo, in March, with a finally healthy experienced team. I’m not saying they won’t win it, I’m not saying they will, I’m just saying let’s all just chill out for a second. MSU is officially this year’s “I sound smart by saying this team is going to win it all” team. Those teams almost always end up disappointing.
That being said, this is probably the toughest bracket to predict. Virginia is everyone’s “wait a second, Virginia is a one seed?” team for casuals to pick a big upset loss, but look they are a really good, really well coached team who has beaten a lot of other really good, really well coached teams. But the ACC was down, big time, this year and I don’t think these kids have the chops to finally do something with expectations on their back
Give me Iowa State to come out of here. The Fighting Fred Hoibergs won the Big-12 tournament this year, and in this “experts” “expert” opinion, the Big-12 was the best conference in the land this year. Deandre Kane is my middle America man crush and I just kind of have that feeling about this team. Also there was a completely sloshed ISU grad that I served at the bar at my job the other night that wouldn’t shut up about how good her school’s basketball team was, without being able to name a single player on the team. I loved it so much. That interaction right there is what this tournament is all about. Give me Iowa State and buy that girl some shots.
…Check back later for the final two regions, plus the Final Four breakdown…