From the Bird’s Nest: Bracketology according to….me
It's time for March Madness.
Actually, it began last night with UNC-Ashville and Clemson advancing to the second round. And, VCU/USC and Alabama State/UTSA are on tap tonight.
But most folks are filling out their brackets today and tomorrow.
We have a tendency to go ahead and pick the favorites, but years of NCAA Tournament history tell us that there will be plenty of upsets. If you go with trends over the years, here are some things to remember.
1. DON'T PICK ALL FOUR #1 SEEDS TO REACH THE FINAL FOUR--It happened a few years ago, but history tells us that at least one, maybe more, will go down at some point.
2. PICK AT LEAST ONE #12 TO BEAT A #5--Again, all four #5 seeds won a couple of years ago, but wayyyy more often than not, someone seeded #12 kills someone's bracket.
3. PICK A DOUBLE DIGIT SEED TO REACH THE SWEET 16--Sometimes you have a situation where both a #12 and a #13 win in the same region. Sometimes it's a #10 or #11. Either way, a double digit seed reaches the Sweet 16 nearly every year.
4. PICK A TEAM #6 OR LOWER TO REACH THE ELITE EIGHT--This is where many bracketeers fall. They can pull the trigger on upsets in the first two rounds, but when the Sweet 16 round rolls around, they pick the favorites. Beware.
5. PICK A TEAM FROM THE ACC TO REACH THE FINAL FOUR--Again, you're bucking tradition if you don't.
6. NEVER PICK A #5 SEED TO WIN IT ALL--It's never happened.
Now, as you look at your bracket, here are some games to keep an eye on. Understand, I'm not predicting any of these will come true, but if you're looking at picking some early upsets, here are a few to look at.
#16 SEEDS--No #16 has ever beaten a #1. Keep moving
#15 SEEDS--NOTRE DAME/AKRON--The MAC Tournament champions reside in Notre Dame country. You can bet the Zips will be ready to play. It's not often a #15 seed wins; it's happened only four times, the last in 2001 when Hampton knocked off Tim Floyd's second seeded Cyclones of Iowa State.
#14 SEEDS--WOFFORD/BYU--Sixteen times a #14 has beaten a #3 in the first round. The last was just last year when Ohio beat Georgetown. Northwestern State pulled it off in 2006 (Iowa) and Bucknell (Kansas) in 2005. Watch the Terriers of Wofford. They were in the Tournament last year and won't be intimidated. BYU hasn't been the same since the Stormin' Mormons had a player admit to sleeping with his girlfriend, thereby breaking the BYU honor code. (Honorable Mention: Bucknell/Connecticut. Remember UCONN finished in 9th place in the Big East.)
#13 SEEDS--MOREHEAD STATE/LOUISVILLE--Two teams from the same state. The big guy versus the little guy with a chip on its shoulder. In the case of Morehead, it's also the best rebounder in the nation in Kenneth Farried. At least one #13 seed has won in the last three tournaments: Murray State (Vanderbilt) last year, Cleveland State (Wake Forest) in 2009 and, in 2008, both Siena (Vandy) and San Diego (UCONN) pulled the upset.
#12 SEEDS--Make sure you pick one here. Last year it was Cornell over Temple. Three #12 seeds won in 2009 and two in 2008. Since 1990, only twice have all four #12's advance, the last time in 2007. Pick one: Any one.
#11 SEEDS--Two #6 seeds fell last year: Marquette lost to Washington and Notre Dame fell to Old Dominion. This year, Gonzaga is tournament tested, while St. John's is not. Missouri is very dangerous as an #11 seed this year.
#10 SEEDS--Nothing would be considered a real upset here, but beware Tom Izzo and Michigan State at tournament time.
There you go. Like I said, I'm not predicting certain games, but remember history when filling out your bracket.