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Hello again.

I thought about not doing this post this year because I haven’t been the best at writing in this blog. But when has that ever stopped me before?

Welcome to the sixth annual 2016 NCAA Tournament Bracket here on! If you’re new around here, each year I live-blog as I pick out my bracket. I realize this may be taboo, but I’m giving away all of my secret strategies. Right here. For free.

You are welcome.

There will also be a bracket contest because I felt like if I didn’t do it this year people* might be upset. The winner will receive a $35 Amazon ecard. Stay tuned for details. [Please note that anyone and everyone is eligible for this grand prize. Even if you don’t have a strategy like mine. It takes years to hone this sort of knowledge. I understand that not everyone has put in the time and energy and evaluation to get to this point. You are still welcome.]

* I’m assuming at least two people will enter this to warrant the plural.

Okay, ready for the strategy? I. said. ARE YOU READY FOR STRATEGY?!

That was a bit much. I understand.

[BRB, gotta go watch The Bachelor finale] [3 Hours Later]

I’m filling out my bracket on Did y’all know that they have an autofill feature? I just learned this today. I also learned that you can autofill your bracket with the expert picks of Jerry Palm, a Bracketologist. Did y’all know there’s such a thing as a Bracketologist? Does anyone know how I get that job? I’ve had six years of experience. Consider this my résumé.

I’m choosing not to autofill my bracket because then I wouldn’t have this blog post.

(my picks are in bold.)

You would think, if they aren’t going to put the teams from the South in the South bracket, they would at least follow compass direction and have the South section to the right of the East section on the bracket.

Kansas. Duh. Always Kansas. Furthermore, they’re playing against Austin Peay. I’m all for supporting the home state, but I don’t think Austin Peay has ever been here before. And they chant things like “Let’s Go Peay!” at the games and no one needs that for more than one round.

UConn. This was debatable. Colorado is ranked higher and is probably higher (in more ways than one), but UConn is a stable presence in the March Madness bracket.

Maryland. Half because I thought that S. Dak. St. was South Oak Street at first. Half because they’re ranked way higher.

Look at you, Cali and Hawaii. Has Hawaii been here before? I feel like maybe no. Both tropical climates. Well, where is California, the school? [googles] In Berkeley. They’re the Golden Bears. Berkeley’s in San Francisco, which is not so tropical. I’m not really sure why all of this matters. But maybe Hawaiians are better at outdoor sports? Who wants to be inside a gym when you live in Hawaii? No one. California.

Arizona vs. Vandy/Wichita. THIS IS SO HARD. Normally, I pick Wichita because I feel like they are in this a lot. I also typically pick Arizona because they’re always ranked well. And I always pick Vanderbilt because they’re my team. [Proof: I am wearing a Vandy tshirt as we speak. (I have not watched a single game this year.)] I know from my Twitter feed that Vandy beat Kentucky this year, so that’s good. We’ll go Vandy/Wichita because either way I feel like is an okay thing.

Miami (FL) vs. Buffalo. Miami just because.

Iowa all the way. Didn’t they go far last year? I don’t know.

Villanova and UNC-Asheville. Listen, I’ve been to Asheville many a time. Those kids aren’t playing basketball. They’re hiking. They’re not combing their hair. They’re eating at the gourmet chip restaurant. They’re forming drum circles. Villanova all day, son! (I apologize.)

And now moving south on the bracket …


Oregon vs. HOLY/SOUTH. Y’all. I feel like HOLY/SOUTH is yelling at us and is perhaps an angry Bible Belt team. I do not know what either of those teams are in real life, but if it’s anything like the church basketball league games I attended, I’m not sure they’re going far. We’ll go with Oregon.

Saint Joe’s vs. Cincy. Are we sure Joseph is okay with us abbreviating his name like this, I am not sure about that. I’m going with Cincinnati because I think Ohio is generally athletic.

Baylor vs. Yale. Yale! You made it! Good job. I am picking you because of Rory Gilmore.

Duke. Those blue devils. They’re the Blue Devils, right? Yes. I’m pretty sure. Like, 98%.

Texas vs. N. Iowa. Clear eyes, full hearts, Texas forever.

Texas A&M, see above.

Oregon State vs. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY. Never forget. This is tough. I’m going to say VCU because they’re always in this.

OOOOOklahoma! where the wind goes sweeping through the plains! or Cal.-Baker. I mean, really. OK.

Traveling north on the bracket …

North Carolina. I don’t even care what all those other letters stand for in the other school.

USC vs. Providence. I think I picked Providence once and they won. We’ll try it again. Just for fun.

Indiana vs. Chattanooga. Chattanooga! Look at you! Way to go, guys. Proud of y’all, but I’m picking Indiana. So sorry.

Kentucky vs. Stony Brook. Isn’t Stony Brook where the Babysitter’s Club lived? [googling] It is! Except it’s spelled Stoneybrook. Kristy was into baseball, not basketball. Plus I’m pretty sure I can’t go against Kentucky in this town.

Notre Dame. Real talk: I always forget which one is pronounced all snooty and which one is pronounced all American and I end up calling the school Notr-ah Dahm and the cathedral Noter Daem all the time.

West Virginia vs. SF Austin. I thought about looking up what SF stands for but decided I didn’t care. Bring it on, Nick. West Virginia.

Wisconsin and Pittsburgh. This is kind of tough except I think Wisconsin is always here and Pittsburgh is kind of more focused on football, as a town.

Xavier! Always. Even if you are playing against Weber Street. (I know it’s Weber State, you guys. I KNOW.) I have never even heard of Weber before this moment.

And finally …

MIDWEST: (guys, where’s North? Who came up with this?)
Virginia vs. The Hamptons. Not really, but almost. It’s Virginia.

You know what, Butler? I’m giving this one to you. Even despite my Friday Night Lights speech earlier. That’s about football anyway. [googles to make sure Butler isn’t also in Texas. Indianapolis. We’re good.]

Purdue and Little Rock. Little Rock is new to this, too, I believe. Purdue is a usual suspect. And ranked higher.

Iowa State vs. Iona. Did someone misspell Iowa? Where is Iona? [googles] FASCINATING. Iona is the school name. There’s something about Gaels. Mascot? Killian. What is that? So many questions. Is this a Celtic school? I think they are! They were named after an island off of Scotland and founded by an Irish monk. No wait, they were based on a school founded by an Irish monk on Iona. The Gael is the mascot. Maybe its name is Killian. It’s depicted as a “spunky character.” See how educational this all is? You know what, I’m going with the spunky character. Iona it is!

Seton Hall vs. Gonzaga. I love saying Gonzaga, but Seton Hall is ranked higher. It kind of sounds very proper. Like the sort of school where you all dine together at long tables. Gonzaga, I will pick you.

Utah. It’s ranked higher and just seems like a better bet than Fresno State. Sorry, Fresno.

Dayton and Syracuse. I usually pick Syracuse, but Dayton is ranked higher. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s in Ohio. And Ohioans are athletic, as I established earlier. Ugh, so many tough decisions! Dayton. No, Syracuse. Final answer.

Michigan State vs. MTSU. Hey, MTSU! Sorry, I gotta go with Michigan State on this. No hard feelings.

Kansas. Always.

Maryland. Just going with my gut here.

You know what? Vandy/Wich. I don’t even care. I think maybe they can beat Miami.

Villanova. It’s fun to say and they’re here to stay! (I did not start out making a cheer, but what can I say, I’m getting into the sports stuff.)

Oregon. Just because they’re ranked #1. Literally no other reason.

Sorry, Rory. It’s going to be Duke.

This is tough. Texas vs. Texas A&M. But A&M is ranked better, so we’re going with that. Plus, their colors are prettier. And I know more A&M fans.

Oklahoma. Sorry, Virginia Commonwealth University.

North Carolina. Providence, it is not providential that you win this one. (I’m sorry. I just couldn’t get that worked out in my head. In my defense, I watched 3 hours of The Bachelor tonight.)

Indiana vs. Kentucky. You know what? Kentucky. You are welcome, friends.

Noter Daem and West Virginia. Hm. What are WV’s colors? Navy blue. Done. West Virginia. (Blue teams are generally good at basketball. Fact.)

Xavier, because you’re always here.

Virginia. They’re ranked #1 and Butler was a chance anyway.

Purdue for sure. Iona, I like you, but I’m not sure how far your spunky spirit will take you.

Gonzaga was my gut instinct. But then I saw that Utah is ranked so much higher. But if we’re not going with our guts here, what are we even doing? What are we even doing?!? Gonzaga.

Oof. Same with this one. Syracuse vs. Michigan State. [googles] Syracuse’s color is orange. Michigan State is blue and gold (pretty sure). No wait, that’s Michigan. State is green, I think? [googles] YES! I was right! This has no bearing. Neither are blue. Both have been here plenty of times. Michigan State is ranked better. And we already have Gonzaga upsetting this section. Let’s go with Michigan State.


Villanova. (We can only hope so much Vandy/Wich.)

Hm. Oregon or Duke. Oregon is ranked #1, but Duke is usually here and usually pretty good. Plus, they’re blue. Oregon is yellow. And they’re called the Ducks. Oh, but didn’t they do well last year? I seem to remember this. With the quacking. Eh, we’ll go with it. Oregon.

Texas A&M. Because Texas forever. And because they just seem like good people.

North Carolina. So sorry, Kentucky. I just don’t think you’ve had the best season. And North Carolina is always so good. And ranked #1.

Xavier. I don’t know why I like them so much. I think it’s because there are so few words beginning with X. It’s like a novelty.

Virginia. They just seem like they should be there. Didn’t they go to the championship sometime recently?

I guess we’ll go with Michigan State. I have no real reason other than their ranking.

Kansas. They once won the whole thing and helped me win amongst my friends. They’ve held a special place in my heart, and on my bracket, ever since. Plus, blue.

We’ll go with Oregon. quack. quack. quaCK. QUACK. Wait. Is that Mighty Ducks?

North Carolina. Because I think they may win the whole thing. [SPOILER]

And Virginia.

Oregon vs. North Carolina. I don’t even know anymore. I’m sold on Oregon. I don’t know why. I just am.

North Carolina. 1. They’re ranked #1. 2. They’re blue. 3. They’re usually good. 4. North Carolina is good at basketball as a state. (Fact.)


Okay, now for the info you have been scrolling for. Here’s how you enter to win a $35 Amazon eCard. Go here and enter the password elizabeth. Fill out your bracket and you are automatically entered. Easy peasy. Bracket picks must be submitted by 11am CT on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), making this picture the most relevant it’s ever been:

march madness

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