Bracketology 2014: my virgin bracket

It’s a real bummer the Hawks did not advance to the Round of 64 last night. Grr. (I told my dad I was happy they made it to the tourney. “I guess that’s what you could call it,” he said, dispiritedly. “Well, it’s over now,” he kept saying. “It’s over now.”) The game was a microcosm of the entire season, I think: a strong start followed by a slow, agonizing fade. I was in the hotel bar for the second half and a man with a Cyclones shirt came in with about ten minutes to go. He was rooting for Tennessee. He got what he wanted, just like Cyclone fans always seem to. Which is why I have picked them to advance to the Elite Eight.

Yep, it’s that time again: bracketology! I forgot to print a bracket before leaving Iowa City but ended up using the one provided in Monday’s USA Today. (Gannett is good for something. To be fair, though, the USA Today is not a bad newspaper. Then again, I almost never read it so I am unsure if I am a fair judge.) It will do the job and I once again plan to post updates after each day in the tournament.

My bracket is, as I always think at the beginning, pretty good. However, I will probably be proven wrong. The regrets, no doubt, start today. I did not do any research and did not give it much thought, though I did second-guess how far I advanced Louisville and Wichita State. We’ll see if that pays off. (I did read a crazy statistic in the USA Today, though: only once since 1988 has a coach with an “I” in his name not won the National Championship. Crazy. Gannett is good for something else.)

A couple quick thoughts:

•Iowa’s loss last night does not hurt me because I had neither the Hawks nor Volunteers advancing to the Third Round. The First Four games have thrown a wrench in bracketology the last couple years. My dad and I need to submit brackets to our tourney pool on Wednesday, before two of the play-in games are even decided. That could cost us if one of the play-in winners dons the tournament’s glass slippers.

•My sexy 5–12 upsets include Steven F. Austin, Harvard, and North Dakota State. One of them has to win (and I will be pissed if only NC State does).

•Kansas falls to New Mexico.

•Speaking of New Mexico, I have Steve Alford’s current and former teams advancing to the Sweet 16. It hurt me to do so, but I need to be reasonable.

•Wisconsin goes deep. The Badgers are the bane of my existence during Big Ten conference play, but I hope their defense and sharp shooting take them to the Final Four.

•I waffled over a potential Louisville–Wichita State game. We will see exactly who the Shockers really are come the Third Round, but I do not think they could advance past Louisville. I hope they do, but don’t think they will for the sake of my bracket.

•Michigan State jells at the perfect time, remains healthy, and cuts down the nets in Arlington. Ideally, I will once again ride the Spartans’ success to win the pool with my dad’s former co-workers, just as I did in 2000.

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