March Madness 2015: post-Second Round

Hold on — let me do this again. Woo HOOOOOO!

Last night, the Hawkeye men won their first game in the NCAA Tournament in 14 years. Oh, how sweet it was to watch! I was on pins and needles through much of the first half, and was cautiously optimistic during the first ten minutes of the second. Three-point hot streaks have vexed the Hawks many times the past couple seasons and I was waiting for Davidson to start draining shots from outside at some point. But thanks to great defense and Iowa’s length and size advantage, it did not happen. Needless to say, I was happy camper last night.

Anyway, both of my brackets faired well after the first two days of games. I was 25-7 on Ashley Judd and 22-10 on Clogging. My first instincts have faired better than my research — thus far, at least. A couple thoughts on the Round of 64:

•The Dayton Flyers struck again, bouncing Providence and costing me a point on Ashley Judd.

•Purdue! Come on! I picked the Boilermakers on both brackets and their loss to Cincy stung. I thought about splitting that pick but ultimately decided to be a Big Ten homer. It paid off for Maryland (barely), but not Purdue.

•I also should have split the SDSU-St. John’s game. Nobody was talking about SDSU so I assumed that was a sign to pick against them. The much vaunted St. John’s team that was supposed to be a roadblock for Duke did not show up.

•My Texas pick hurt. I thought Texas, with their size advantage, would wreak havoc on Butler. Nope.

•The Iowa State-SMU match-up I anticipated will not be happening. Let’s just leave it at that.

•Yes, it was cool to see Georgia State beat Baylor, but the upset really hurt me in the next round.

•I need to thank my dad for changing my BYU/Ole Miss pick to Xavier on both brackets. Father really does know best.

•No 5-12 upsets hurt me on Clogging. SFA was the sexy pick and there was talk that Buffalo could beat West Virginia. Neither happened.

•When did everyone start using the term “chalk” in reference to picking higher seeds? (“I got chalk for that one.” “I’m going with chalk.”) I had not heard the word used that way until Monday or Tuesday and have no clue where the hell it came from. Part of me wonders if ESPN is now actively trying to influence our national sports lexicon. It already has in certain ways with signature and apparently organic catchphrases, but “chalk” feels more artificial. Perhaps ESPN will trademark it like it has the BPI ranking. (I am not sure if it is trademarked, but I think ESPN owns the ranking and has exclusive rights to it.)

Now is when the pool points really start to rack up — or not. Some of the winners I picked now need to win games against other winners I picked. Needless to say, March Madness makes strange bedfellows.

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