From the Bird’s Nest: My bracket? Busted.
Yesterday was maybe my favorite day of the year. The first day of the NCAA Tournament inevitably features some tight games, a Cinderella or two and, since it's the first day, a chance to do well in my tournament bracket.
And, for awhile, it was the perfect day.
Four of the first five games were decided in the last four seconds. The 8/9 matchup of Butler/Old Dominion was a tossup and I had Butler. A buzzer beater put that in the win column. Temple hit one with 0.4 left to beat Penn State. Check. Kentucky with :02 left vanquished a tough Princeton team. Check.
Morehead State? Yep. I had 'em. Proud of that one. Richmond, too. Vandy came through for me again by losing as a high (#5) seed.
The day session ended. I'm 8-0. I'm feelin' good.
Now, it's time for the evening session. It featured one #13 seed that made me a little nervous, that being Belmont against Wisconsin. But the Badgers came through. Connecticut won easily, as did Florida. And, BYU took care of Wofford.
12-0. But the dark clouds were looming.
The night session would make or break my bracket. I had three underdogs, and a favorite that was a risky pick.
I love Tom Izzo at tournament time. Took Michigan State to knock off UCLA. The Spartans fell behind by eighteen and although they made it close at the end, they couldn't recover. I had Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
I loved Missouri. I thought they were vastly underseeded as a #11. Mike Anderson's frenetic Tigers, I thought, would take care of Cincinnati. Nope. And, I had Missouri in the Sweet Sixteen.
I was really leery of St. John's/Gonzaga. The Johnnies were the #6 seed, but I was a little nervous about this being their first appearance in the tournament in nine years. They were facing a tournament tested Gonzaga squad and although this was Mark Few's weakest team in a while, the experience factor made me hesitate before picking the Red Storm.
To go to the Sweet Sixteen.
And, for good measure, my second 12/5 upset pick of the tournament didn't happen as Utah State fell to Kansas State. But I had the Aggies out in the next round, so that didn't bother me much.
But boy, those other three just killed my bracket. Ouch.
Today, my bracket has: Ohio State over UTSA, George Mason over a staggering Villanova team, Xavier over Marquette, Syracuse over Indiana State, Washington over Georgia and UNC over LIU in the East.
In the West, I have Duke over Hampton, Tennessee over Michigan, Arizona over Memphis (holding my breath), and Texas over Oakland.
In the Southwest, my picks are Kansas over BU, UNLV over Illinois, Georgetown over VCU (hmmmm), Purdue over St. Peter's, Florida State in a mild upset over Texas A&M and Notre Dame over Akron.
And, in the Southeast, I like no one....cause they all played yesterday and hurt me badly.