Hey guys. It’s March, which means March Madness, which means that the NCAA division has a basketball tournament and people get mad about it and it’s in March.
It also means that it’s time for my Annual March Madness Tournament Bracket Challenge (trademark pending). You, yes YOU, could win a $30 gift card (email) to Amazon! [Not a billion dollars, but you have a much better chance at winning this one.] Details are at the bottom of this post (Kinda like how they put milk at the back of the store. I at least want you to have to scroll all the way through my
But you may be saying, “Elizabeth, I know nothing about basketball. How can I possibly fill out a bracket? How will I know which teams to pick? What is a good strategy for filling one out? How do you shoot a layup?” Look, I can’t answer all of your questions. But here’s the deal: anyone can fill out a bracket. You never know what’s going to happen, other than you can pretty much guarantee at least one upset.
You can employ strategy in filling out your bracket, like you could look up stats and do math and stuff. Or you could just pick your favorite teams. You could pick your favorite animal mascots, or your favorite colors. Or you can make up your own strategy. You do you.
Because usually everyone is all, “Tell me, how do YOU fill out your bracket? You know so much about sports! You must be great at it!” I always provide my strategy here on the blog. I’m here to serve.
Here we go:
Florida vs. UA/MSMary. I don’t know who Ms. Mary is, but she’s not going to win. The parts of my twitter feed I actually read during Selection Sunday tell me Florida is pretty good this year.
Colorado vs. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh. I feel like they’ve been here before. And Colorado can now smoke marijuana, so I’m sure that’s affecting their game. Right? [I know nothing about the effects of marijuana.]
VCU vs. SF Austin. Why is San Francisco in Austin? Also…VCU. I have to look this one up every time. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY: file it away. [Googles "SF Austin"] Stephen F. Austin State University. What does the F stand for, you think? Franklin? [Googles "What does the F in Stephen F Austin stand for?"] Fuller, you guys. It’s Fuller. Eh. VCU is rated 5 and S. Fuller A. is a 12. And it’s their first year, I think. I THINK.
UCLA vs. Tulsa. UCLA, no contest.
Ohio State vs. Dayton. Ohio State is a big football school, and they aren’t like SEC football schools (who aren’t also necessarily basketball schools), so I’ll go with it. Also, they went to like the Final Four or something once when I was in college. Since the players alternate every year, I’m sure their past is a good way to measure their future. Maybe they have a good coach?
Syracuse vs. W. Michigan. Syracuse. They’re here every year, folks.
New Mexico vs. Stanford. Look at you, Stanford. First Harvard runs away with the tournament last year and now you’re here, too. I’ll give you this round. Smart people, FTW. [Did you know that Stanford isn't technically an Ivy League school, but it has been called the "21st Century Harvard"? Looking good for this year's tournament, then, guys. Looking good.]
Kansas vs. E. Kentucky. Kansas. Always and forever. At least, you know, in the first round.
OHMYGOSH YOU GUYS THIS THING IS SO LONG.
Virginia vs. Coastal Car. Huh? Oh, I bet Carolina. It has a coast. Or they both do. Which one is this? It doesn’t matter. Virginia.
Memphis vs. G Wash. G Wash was totally the first POTUS’ rapper name. Memphis. #StateLoyalty
Cincinnati vs. Harvard. This is difficult, because Harvard is rated so far below Cincy, but Harvard went so far last year. Also, I have a Harvard Tshirt. We’re going to hope for the upset again. Harvard.
Michigan State vs. Delaware. Michigan State.
UNC vs. Providence. UNC, definitely. But you guys, the puns the sports people-writer-announcer guys will be able to make if Providence wins. It’s almost like it’s meant to be!
Iowa State vs. NC Central. I feel like there are a lot of teams on here I haven’t heard of. Iowa State.
Connecticut vs. St. Joe’s. Is it for real St. Joe’s or is ESPN taking liberties with a Saint’s name here? Just curious. Connecticut.
Villanova vs. Milwaukee. Villanova, and not just because I didn’t know how to spell Milwaukee without looking.
Arizona vs. Weber State. Weber–where even is that? Utah. Also, their color is purple. Arizona.
Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State. Fun thing I learned last year: Gonzaga “always” “chokes” during the NCAA tournament. Not sure what kind of stage-mom coach they have over there pressuring them so much. I’ll still go for them this round. You guys need to KEEP CALM AND PLAY BASKETBALL.
Oklahoma vs. ND State. OKLAHOMA![I was singing that last part in my head...not sure if that was made clear by the caps lock...so I wanted to verify. Musicals+Basketball. Not a lot of blogs offer this, you guys.]
San Diego State vs. NM State. Both of those places are so pretty. Y’all need to get outside! Don’t be in a gym all day. San Diego. Only because they’re rated higher. That’s the only reason.
Baylor vs. Nebraska. Baylor.
Creighton vs. Louisiana. Creighton. Mostly because I just like their name. I know literally nothing else about that school.
Oregon vs. BYU. Oregon. It rains a lot there. Basketball is a good way to escape that. Wait, that’s Seattle that has a lot of rain. Hm. maybe BYU then because WHY NOT?
Wisconsin vs. American. You guys, did we get this confused with the Olympics? All these teams are American. What is going on? Wisconsin, because it just makes more sense.
Almost finished….with the first round. The rest will be easier.
MIDWEST (What, no North?)
Wichita State vs. Cal Poly/TX So. All of those sound made-up. But Wichita State.
Kentucky vs. Kansas State. If my twitter feed/friend Katie has taught me anything this season, it is that the Harrison twins were a disappointment and KY has not been doing so well. They ALMOST beat the Gators the other day and it was like a huge deal that they even came close. Or something like that. I was mostly skipping over those tweets. Nevertheless, they’re in one higher seed (am I using this terminology right?) than KS, so we’ll go with Kentucky. For this round.
St. Louis vs. NC State/Xavier. I need to know who wins that game before I can place my vote. [Googles "Xavier"] Yeah, see, North Carolina is good at basketball. Xavier is from Ohio. I guess they’re also pretty good. We’ll go with option B here.
Louisville vs. Manhattan. Is that Manhattan like in NYC? WHAT. Yeah, it is. One of the first results on Google was “Manhattan matchup is nightmare for coach.” No joke. Louisville won last year. Poor Manhattan. I’m all for upsets, but I highly doubt that one.
UMass vs. Iowa/Tenn. This is ridiculous. I guess UMass because I have literally heard nothing but prayer requests about UT’s team this year. And who even knows about Iowa. Who. even. knows?
Duke vs. Mercer. Duke may be a “football school” now and in the SEC (right? [googles] how can Google be so inconclusive on this? It’s a simple question. Someone just let me know in the comments.), but I think they’re also still a basketball school. Plus, their color is blue.[If you’re new here. It’s a
Texas vs. Arizona State. Texas, because Texas.
Michigan vs. Wofford. Wofford sounds like a Muppet name. Oh, hey. It’s a small school in SC. Well, congratulations guys on making it this far. I’m sorry Michigan will beat you in the first round.[VERY disappointed Vandy isn't here.]
Florida vs. Pittsburgh. Florida.
VCU vs. UCLA. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY. You can do this.
Ohio State vs. Syracuse. Syracuse based solely on the fact that I like saying their name better.
Kansas vs. Stanford. Kansas. Blue uniforms. Plus they’re usually pretty good. USUALLY.[Sidenote: who is teaching these bracket-makers geography? Seriously. Stanford? UCLA? Pittsburgh? In the South? Don't think so.]
Virginia vs. Memphis. You know what? Memphis. #StateLoyalty eh…just noticed Virginia is a 1 seed. (is it seed or seat? Now I’m doubting everything.) Oh, what the heck. Memphis.
Harvard vs. Michigan State. Sorry, Harvard. Can’t have too many upsets per region per round. #Strategy. Michigan State.
UNC vs. Iowa State. Listen. I saw this picture on twitter of some Iowa State player with blood where his eye should be. I don’t know if maybe his eye was there, too, but there was a lot of blood. A LOT OF BLOOD. I don’t know if he was an important player or not, but I know this: you need both eyes working for proper depth perception. You know what requires depth perception? Throwing a basketball into a net that’s several feet away. Also, catching a flying sphere as it’s hurdled toward you. I’m going to have to go with UNC on this. Bonus: Blue.
Connecticut vs. Villanova. Villanova. It’s fun to say + they’re usually pretty good.
Arizona vs. Gonzaga. Arizona. Gonzaga “always” “chokes.”
Oklahoma vs. San Diego State. Oklahoma. [okay, I sang it that time, too.]
Baylor vs. Creighton. Here are some facts I googled about Creighton: It’s a private, Jesuit university in Nebraska. Now that I type all of that, I remember looking it up last year. Because I compared them to the Pope, who is also Jesuit, though not from Nebraska. #FunFacts Creighton.
BYU vs. Wisconsin. Wisconsin. Because I saw something about Wisconsin mentioned in a positive way…or maybe it was Wichita…something W.
Wichita St. vs. Kentucky. See above note on something positive about something W. Also, those Harrisons, amirite? Wichita.
NC St/Xavier vs. Louisville. Louisville. They won last year.
U Mass vs. Duke. Duke because blue.
Texas vs. Michigan. Texas. No real reason.
Elite Eight [almost done you guys]
Florida vs. VCU. Florida because I just hear they’re really good.
Syracuse vs. Kansas. Gotta go with Kansas here. Because a. they’re seeded higher; b. blue; c. they won me bragging rights one year a long time ago.
Memphis vs. Michigan State. This is an odd thing I have going here. Um, Memphis.
UNC vs. Villanova. Villanova. Only because they’re seeded higher. Oh, hey. They also have blue. Would you look at that?
Arizona vs. Oklahoma. Arizona.
Creighton vs. Wisconsin. I think the W I heard about was Wichita. Creighton.
Wichita St. vs. Louisville. Wichita St.
Duke vs. Texas. Duke.
Florida vs. Wichita State[At this point, in case you're wondering about my strategy, I just go with my gut. It's complicated.]
Score [I just arbitrarily pick numbers because I know so much about basketball that it's difficult to crunch those kinds of numbers and algorithms and stats and stuff. Okay, I also googled past game scores.]: 68-45.
There you have it, folks. An air-tight strategy for picking your bracket. You are welcome.
Now, some people fill out different brackets for each competition they’re entering. I don’t. I would be mad at myself if my bracket in my blog’s tournament did well, but the one I fill out for Warren Buffet gets everything wrong. Plus, when you apply so much strategy, it just gets exhausting to try to do that several times.
Okay, here’s how you enter edhyndman.com’s Annual NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge for the $30 Amazon gift email: You go to ESPN.com through this link, or if you’re already on there, the group name is edhyndman.com. The group password is: elizabeth. Fill out your bracket, submit it, and you’re entered. You have until Thursday, March 20 to make your selections. Easy peasy. Check back here when the tournament ends if you won and I’ll let you know how to collect your prize (I’ll ask for your email address).
Um, so…Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. Go! Fight! Win!