In the span of four days and 48 games the Field of 64 was trimmed down to just 16. By this Sunday night we will be down to the Final Four. Here is a look back at the Rounds of 64 and 32 and a look forward to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
The Madness That Was – Rounds of 64 and 32
The first game on Thursday saw approximately 80% of the nation’s brackets take their first hit, crushing dreams of winning the $1 Billion Bracket Challenge when Dayton upset Ohio St. The surviving 20% took hits later on in the day when Harvard beat Cincinnati and North Dakota St. took down Oklahoma. Those who somehow came out of the first day unscathed met their match on Friday morning when the Mercer Bears of Macon, Georgia upset the mighty (and oh so fun to hate) Duke Blue Devils. My bracket took hits from all of those results but I faired better the next evening when I correctly picked Stephen F. Austin over VCU. SFA’s four-point play at the end of regulation was exactly why I make it a point to watch every moment from every game that I possibly can. It sounds quaint and cliché but you really do not know what is going to happen in any of these games. The March Madness Live app on my iPad kept me company at work on Thursday, Friday, and unfortunately for me on Saturday and Sunday afternoon as well. Work on the desktop, Madness on the iPad. Not a bad set up. I even had fellow attorneys making scheduled stops by my office on Thursday and Friday checking to see how things were going in close games. The Madness just cannot be ignored.
Saturday and Sunday saw Syracuse, Kansas, and Wichita St. fall. I predicted Wichita St.’s demise. Looking back I am not sure if I really thought they would lose to Kentucky or if I just really, really wanted them to because I am still bitter about them beating my #1 seeded Zags in last year’s tourney. To Wichita St. fans I say: How does it feel to lose in the Round of 32 as a #1 seed? It hurts huh? Deal with it. A by product of March Madness is March Sadness. I know it well.
The Madness To Come – Sweet 16 & Elite 8
Looking over the Sweet 16 match-ups scheduled for Thursday and Friday evening there are some great games. Sure, some of the big name players like Doug McDermott, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are out but you can catch those guys on a floundering NBA team near you next season. On Thursday you have great #1 vs. #4 matchups in Florida-UCLA and Arizona-San Diego St. I have both Florida and Arizona moving on, which they should but you never do know. We are assured a double-digit seed in the Elite 8 with #11 Dayton playing #10 Stanford. And then there is Baylor vs. Wisconsin. Ugly highlighter Baylor Jerseys against ugly 1940’s slow style Wisconsin. I recommend only tuning into that game when the others are in commercial breaks.
Friday has the matchup that everyone wants to see. Love them or hate them (I prefer the latter) #8Kentucky vs. #1 Louisville is an intriguing matchup. I have the Cardinals winning it all so I am definitely intrigued. In other matchups it will be interesting to see if #11Tennessee can push around #2 Michigan or if the Wolverines can ride their hot outside shooting back to the Final Four. I am rooting for the latter but we will see. #4 Michigan St. vs. #1 Virginia and #7 UConn vs. #3 Iowa St. are solid matchups. Nothing to get excited about but good games to watch.
I am not going to offer any predictions for Thursday’s and Friday’s games. I am sure most of them will be wrong and we will be scratching our heads at some of the matchups in the Elite 8 on Saturday and Sunday. But that’s why we watch. Because we love the Madness.
Posted by Hatch