Putting It All On The Line
Here they are -- my picks for the NCAA Men's basketball tournament. I'm not sure why, but I'm putting them out for public ridicule (or admiration, depending on how well I do). You'll note that I didn't exactly follow my "formula" for a top 3 finish, but I came pretty close.
In the first round, I picked all the favorites (10 seed NC State is a 1 1/2 point favorite over 7 seed California) except for those teams that were favored by exactly 2 1/2 points in this Wednesday's paper. Why? Well, I'm pretty sure that UNC-Wilmington is going to beat George Washington (they're ranked 14th, but an 8 seed? The seeding committee knows something...) and almost as positive as I can be that Oklahoma can't beat anyone at this point; their last seven games were four 1-point wins over bad teams and three bad losses. I noticed that both of those teams were 2 1/2 point favorites, so in order to make it a "system" I picked against the other team favored by that much -- Indiana.
The teams I have winning Thursday are: Duke, UNC-Wilmington, Syracuse, LSU, San Diego St., Gonzaga, Marquette, UCLA, Washington, Illinois, Wichita St., Tennessee, Nevada, Boston College, UW-Milwaukee, and Florida.
My Friday winners are: West Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina St., Texas, Memphis, Arkansas, Pitt, Kansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan St., UNC, Villanova, Arizona, Georgetown, and Ohio State.
My Sweet Sixteen are the top four seeds in each region, except for Wichita State, who will beat Tennessee (if Winthrop doesn't -- Tennessee doesn't even come close to deserving a 2 seed).
In the Regional Finals, I predict: Duke over Texas, Kansas over UCLA, Connecticut over UNC, and Ohio State over Villanova. I also "predict" Ohio State over Kansas in the Final, just because I want to see if I've been jinxing Kansas for the last 16 years by always picking them to win it all.
Note that I split up the 8/9 games, exactly what I warned against in my earlier post. Had I followed my advice, I would have taken all the 9 seeds. We'll see if I do better than had I followed my "safe" method. I don't think I will...
I'll update this post through the weekend with a status on how I'm doing. My goal is 11 out of 16 teams still alive heading into next week, with no Elite Eight teams out.
Update 0707 17 March: Well, I did OK yesterday -- I was 11 for 16, and had one upset come through (UW-Milwaukee over Oklahoma), but would have been 12 of 16 had I just taken the higher seed. Still, I didn't lose any of my Sweet 16, so I'm in good shape. And if UNC-Wilmington had been able to hold the 18 point 2nd-half lead, or San Diego St had held their 3 point last-minute lead, I'd be looking even better.
Update 2300 17 March: Well, I ended up 23 of 32 for the first round... of the four lower-seeded teams I picked to win, 2 won and 2 lost, so I matched the result I would have had if I had just picked the bettter seed in each game. Of course, having one of my finalists lose in the first round throws my brackets into complete disarray...
Update 2324 18 March: I ended up getting 7 of 8 games right today. I correctly picked the Wichita St. win, but missed the Washington "upset" of Illinois. I already know I won't do as well tomorrow, though, since two of the teams I picked to win on Sunday (Iowa and Kansas) lost on Friday.
Update 0545 20 March: With yesterday's upsets, I got only 4 of the games right -- missed the Ohio State and North Carolina losses in addition to the two where my predicted winner had lost in the first round. So, I ended up meeting my goal of predicting 11 of the Sweet 16, but both teams I had in the championship game are out...