Warning: the following bracket projection will yank the chains and highly upset members of the Midwest Sports Fans editorial staff, as well as numerous segments of the general public.
In my previous brackets that I had filled out, I was extremely worried that I was disrespecting certain schools. And I was. Sixty-three out of 64 in fact, who I have eventually losing.
So I decided to go the WhatIfSports route, going through the games on their simulation. (They do not have the emotions of Jerod Morris or Ari Kaufman…)
Watch it work far better than my usual ‘gut feeling’ bracket.
Here is my tournament summary.
This will be the carnage segment of the bracket. I have top-seeded Louisville blowing out North Carolina A&T. But then it gets crazy.
#12 Oregon and #13 New Mexico St. advance, #7 Creighton does get by Cincinnati – then in the shocker of the tourney, second-seeded Duke falls to a #15 for the second year in a row, bowing to Albany 66-61.
Trailing big at halftime to #12-seeded Mississippi, we go down to courtside where MSF’s very own Amanda Lawson has Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.
She asks, “Coach Ryan, did your team underestimate Ole Miss in the first half?”
Bo gets so riled up after that question that the Badgers go on a second half run that would make the Miami Heat blush to move on to Round 3.
Paint holds up on this side of the bracket with one exception: #10 Iowa State downed #7 Notre Dame. In fact, in all three of my simulations the Cyclones won that game.
So much for the Shamrock Shake uniforms.
The Gophers beat UCLA in all three of my simulations, so feel free to make that upset pick. In fact, the Vegas line is actually Gophers -3.
The huge upset in the region was South Dakota St. beating fourth-seeded Michigan. In fact the Rabbits won two of the three simulations. Not only that, I set the game as a Michigan ‘home game’ with the actual contest in Auburn Hills – which I did with other teams playing the first two rounds near home (Kansas/K-State in Kansas City, Louisville at Lexington, etc..). So if you need any more warning on picking the Wolverines to go deep…
The other ‘upset’ in the bracket is #10 Oklahoma over #7 San Diego St. I had the Sooners in all three simulations.
This would eventually prove to be the sanest region. The only upset being #10 Colorado over #7 Illinois. I would not be surprised if CU is picked as a winner by over 50% of all brackets.
And by defeating #13 seed Montana, Jim Boeheim has already exceeded the expectations of Ari Kaufman for this tournament.
The madness starts for real here as #8 Colorado State takes down overall top seed Louisville in Lexington. Would ‘Ville fans still be mocking UK’s NIT one-and-done after that one??
Also, #6 Memphis shocks third-seeded Michigan State in Auburn Hills. I had both Michigan State and Louisville set as having home games. The survivors moving on to the regionals are #6 Memphis/#7 Creighton/#8 CSU/#13 New Mexico St.
I’d say that bracket is shot to hell.
A much more calmer region, but one gets the sense already that it just might finally be Gonzaga’s year, as they roll into the regionals.
However, the top story is #10 Iowa State shocking the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes in overtime in Dayton. As the B1G teams fall one by one, Charles Barkley is suddenly looking like a genius.
CBS gets its early North Carolina/Kansas marquee game, which is over early as the Jayhawks win by 20+. This regional is shaping up as a doozy with #1 KU/#2 Georgetown/#3 Florida/#5 VCU.
It’s all paint here, #1 Indiana wins as expected, along with #2 Miami and #3 Marquette defeating Butler behind 18 points by Vander Blue. Jim Boeheim also looms as the fourth-seeded Orange blow out UNLV 79-62.
Anyone remember that last line from C.W. McCall’s ‘Convoy’ in the mid-1970’s…
‘Big Ben, what’s your twenty?? Omaha!!??’
Yes, the Creighton Bluejays celebrate their upcoming move to the ‘New’ Big East Conference by taking down the nets en route to the Final Four, defeating Memphis 83-70 (McDermott 23 points) before blowing out Colorado State 91-73 to win the Midwest region.
Tenth-seeded Iowa State had one more upset left in its system, downing #3 New Mexico, while Bo Ryan crashes into his annual Sweet 16 ceiling as Wisconsin loses to Gonzaga. The Zags then reach the program’s first Final Four by defeating ISU in the Elite Eight.
Georgetown defeats Florida in the rematch of their un-completed Flight Deck game from the beginning of the season, while top-seeded Kansas eliminates VCU. Tthe Jayhawks would then defeat the Hoyas in the South Final.
For 26 long years, Jim Boeheim has waited to exorcise the demons of New Orleans, where the then-Orangemen suffered a last-second loss to Indiana at the hands of Keith Smart. In the regional semi-final, payback is finally done, and the Orange dispatch the final B1G team left in the field 82-78 before defeating Miami in the region final.
Tom Crean would pull a Belichick and not be available for comment after the Bittersweet 16 loss.
Only the Big XII sent multiple teams to the Elite Eight, along with representatives from the Mountain West, the WCC, the Missouri Valley, the Big East, the ACC, and the SEC.
A little something for everyone, except the Big Ten…
It’s two #1 seeds, a four seed, and a seven meeting up in the A-T-L.
In the first game, Ari’s dream of a Creighton v. Boeheim final ends with the Jays 67-57 loss to Gonzaga. In the nightcap, Syracuse stops Kansas on the final possession as the Jayhawks fall 56-55.
Jim Boeheim now stands within one win of his second national championship in ten years, which would further cement a legacy that’s already been cemented.
It doesn’t happen.
Kelly Olynyk forever becomes part of Word Scramble lore on video boards at future NCAA tourney venues with 23 points and nine boards as Gonzaga wins the Championship game 71-56, giving Jim Nantz plenty of time to rehearse his cue as the final seconds wind down…
‘IT’S TIME TO LET THE BULLDOGS OUT, GONZAGA IS YOUR NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!!’