Another year, another
20 bucks down the drain. This time Kansas, Syracuse and Wake
Forest are to blame for my bracket bust. Things were going well until
about 10:30 on Friday night. I picked 21 of the first 24 games
right, but that's when all heck broke loose.
Bucknell was in the process of beating Kansas (a team in my Elite
and Syracuse (a Final Four team) had an unlikely meltdown against
Vermont. Things progressively got worse as the weekend went
along. Wake Forest and West Virginia played one of the best tournament
games I can remember watching. Unfortunately, that did nothing
my wallet. The Demon Deacs (another one of my Final Four teams)
took an "L" in double-overtime.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee? Crap. Are you kidding me? Sure they've got
Ed McCants, a distant cousin of Rashad McCants, but what were the
chances they'd pull two upsets? If you told me two teams from
Wisconsin would make the Sweet Sixteen I probably would have slapped
you. Now I'm the one slapping myself.
My bracket is torched. Gone. Game over. But just for
kicks and the slight chance at redemption, I'm going to give it another
shot. Call it a cheap shot since only 16 teams remain, but I've
got no where to go but up.
I'll start in the Chicago regional. Cinderella's season comes to
an end. No doubt, top-seeded Illinois takes care of business against
Salim Stoudamire scored 28 points in Arizona's win over UAB in the
second round. Stoudamire will help shoot the Wildcats past
second-seeded Oklahoma State in a battle between legendary coaches (Lute Olson
vs. Eddie Sutton).
Illinois was nearly perfect for 33 games leading up to the tournament.
They'll be perfect for two more this weekend. The Illini will
advance to the Final Four.
In the Albuquerque regional, Washington and Louisville both come to the
court with a chip on their shoulder. The Huskies are the most
overlooked one seed since St. Joe's last year. Louisville was
ranked 6th in the nation and won the C-USA Tournament, yet they landed
a four seed.
Louisville squeaked by La.-Lafayette in round one and then beat an
uninspired Georgia Tech team. Pitino's run ends here.
Washington beats Louisville and then goes on to beat Texas Tech to
advance to the Final Four.
The Austin regional features a rematch between top-seeded Duke and
fifth-seeded Michigan St. The Blue Devils beat the Spartans 81-74
in Durham on November 30th, but J.J. Redick said the only
similarities from those two teams in November are the coaching
staffs. Duke wins again, but you'll only see it on WNCT if you
have digital cable (N.C. State and Wisconsin will be the regular
Kentucky knocks off Duke in the Elite Eight and advances to the Final
Four. Don't ask me how, it just happens.
The most intriguing region is in Syracuse. North Carolina and
N.C. State both advance giving everyone the match-up they want with a
trip to St. Louis on the line.
The Heels dominated the Wolfpack in the regular season. They'll
win in a much more closely contested game to advance to the Final Four.
Illinois, Washington, Kentucky and North Carolina. There's your
four. Based on my first bracket I'm only right about 50 percent
of the time so don't waste your money on this.