My bracket is not busted anymore, in fact it has improved.
My picks started off slow, really slow. I had mediocre first and second rounds and was in the middle of the pack shaking my head (SMH) at the end of the first weekend. Frustrated, thinking to myself, "every year, the same thing." Meaning, I watch countless hours of NCAA hoopage and I struggle in my bracket.
I lost 8 games in the first round: Ohio State, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Boston College, Mississippi St., Florida St., Illinois, and Clemson. My bracket looked like it needed medical help with all the red crosses on it (I made that one up myself) but I knew I only lost one good team, the Deamon Deacons of Wake Forest and most people had them losing to Louisville like me, so it was a "no big deal" (NBD) loss for me.
I am a pretty confident sports fan, meaning if I believe in it I'm going to pick it and my confidence may turn into over-confidence.
Before the tournament I was confident in one thing: Memphis is a fraud.
I had zero respect for Memphis, ZERO. They lost their best player, play in an awful conference, and their only NBA regular is Tyreke Evans, a Freshman who is a turnover waiting to happen. The last thing Memphis deserved was a #2 seed (I know my Boilers, a #5 seed, would have beat them soundly). In my opinion (IMO) M.E.M.P.H.I.S. (it's an acronym) would not make it to the Elite 8 or higher because I knew that team did not have what it took to contend. All I needed was a team that could pressure the freshman PG.
Round 2 was similar. Losses, but not crippling losses.
I picked Memphis to lose in the second round, like I do every year (hurt me last year). I picked them to lose to my man Greivis Vazquez and his Maryland Terrapins. Ya that did not happen. Maryland lost by 20 (over-confidence). I was shaken but I still believed Memphis was going down and it would benefit my bracket (over-confident?).
In that same West bracket, I picked a talented Marquette team to go to the Elite 8 (over-confident), and my bold prediction received a boost when Dom James surprisingly came back from injury. I was looking good until a surprising Mizzou team beat my Golden Eagles...barely.
Now, my West bracket is wack.Gone is one of my Elite 8 teams (Marquette) and I needed someone to beat Memphis.
Which Mizzou did, easy. So easy, in fact, they put up a hunny bun on them, 100 points. (Provoking a question from my man Jon Pink, "Who puts up 100 points in the tourney?")
Boom! Peace out Memphis. Play somebody and I will respect you. (Although I will respect you if you have Xavier Henry, DeMarcus Cousins and 'Reke Evans on your squad next season. But that is not happening without Coach Calipari).
At this point in the 2009 NCAA Tournament I do not care who wins the tournament because my Boilers lost to the highly illegal UCONN Huskies and Memphis got smoked. I have no teams involved and in the back of my mind I knew my bracket was starting to benefit from my onions .
I knew the people ahead of me, who do not watch hoop, had Memphis going far, since they do not watch hoop. And I was right. For the first time ever, my bracket IS shaping up, and I am kind of excited about it.
Or maybe it is the number I got from an NU grad with blonde hair the same time Memphis lost. (So hard concentrating when my least favorite team is getting pounded and there is a hot blonde on my jock).
My West bracket is settled, Mizzou vs. UCONN, easy pick. When in doubt, take the team with 6 NBA players. (When you have 6 NBA players on a college team, a record if you ask my friend Salt, you are cheating, I promise). UCONN will win the West, which they did, without cutting the nets. Act like you’ve been there before.
My next favorite bracket was the Midwest. I knew I could make a run if Michigan State won, a team my Boilers handled easily at home, nonetheless a very good defensive team who refuses to let the opponent get comfortable.
My opinion on Louisville before the tourney was this: They have two, maybe three NBA players. They play great defense and they have a great coach, err am I talking about Michigan State? What I am saying is they are comparable and I was willing to gamble with my Big Ten brethren.
Boom! Nailed it, peace out Louisville. NCAA games are played for 40 minutes, not 20, next time remember that. But next time you will not have a 6’9” SF lottery pick, good luck next time, not.
To my least favorite bracket, the East.
It was ugly, early and often. I lost two Sweet 16 teams in the first round, Florida State and UCLA. I also had Pitt beating Duke to get to the Final 4. Told you it was bad.
Well, ‘Nova beat Pitt to advance to Detroit but I still do not respcet ‘Nova. I think the team with Allen Ray, Randy Foye, and Kyle Lowry is better than this year’s version. And I still cannot name more than two players on ‘Nova, seriously. UNC will beat them by 20 and you can add ‘Nova to the list of teams Purdue is better than.
The East bracket was miserable, but my MSU pick and Memphis’ defeat loom large for my bracket's success.
The South bracket was boring for me…because I killed it.
I had to pick Illinois because they are one of my teams. I went with ASU to the Sweet 16 because I had no respect for the ‘Cuse and took Clemson over Michigan, because…well…I hate Michigan.
Other than those picks, I hit every pick in the South. I cannot take too much credit because it was really easy. I knew no one would beat UNC or OU.
The Final 4 is set: MSU, UCONN, UNC, and the team that does not belong, ‘Nova. They will get beat by 20 (sorry Hoff, I will still cheer for you) and I still cannot name 3 players on that squad which really frustrates me because I am not a lazy sports fan (It also means they have no NBA players other than Reynolds who will return to 'Nova for his senior year because he has limited NBA potential).
Since we are a few days before the Final 4, I feel like I can change my pick. My bracket says UNC over UCONN, well now I want UCONN over UNC, deal with it. For my brackets sake I hope UNC wins, but when in doubt...
One thing I have learned from March Madness: My Boilers would have pounded Memphis and that goes for any other team not named UNC and UCONN.