The Real Magic of the First Four
Last night we saw the real magic of the NCAA Tournament’s absurd First Four. You can screw up a bracket before the meat of the NCAA Tournament even starts. While technically all games are still in play since no bracket competition takes the First Four games seriously enough to make you get your picks in on Tuesday instead of Thursday, two of the seven bracket selection systems I posted on Wednesday already have problems. What’s great is that one of them had real, mathematical data behind it and one was stupid.
The Kenpom Bracket lost two games last night in South Florida’s win over a Cal team that spent most of the night embarrassing itself and its conference (if the Pac-12 can still be embarrassed). Cal was (and still is) ranked ahead of South Florida by Kenpom and was (and still is) ranked ahead of Temple. In the on-line brackets, South Florida will March on, but we all know it was a loss.
The Mascots Bracket also suffers with the Cal loss. Bears trumped Bulls – or at least I assumed they did. They seem fiercer overall. Bears also should have topped Owls and Wolverines. The Mascot Bracket at least catches half a break in that if somehow an Owl ever thought to fight a Bull, I’d take the Bull. Same with Bulls over Wolverines, so the Bulls rock on.
The Coin Toss and the Wall Street Journal Blindfold Brackets also both had South Florida advancing. Since the Coin Toss could be anybody and I actually picked South Florida over Cal in the Blindfold Bracket, those get counted as wins.
Ahead to the Past
In light of the completely dull and unappealing style of basketball played by South Florida, the NCAA has announced that should the Bulls meet Wisconsin in a Final Four matchup, that they will reinstitute the jump ball after baskets so that there will at least be something every now and then that might interest spectators.
The only upset to seed I picked in my Best Guess bracket was UConn (9) over Iowas State (8), and they are the favorite (+1.5) in the game. So I am super exciting on Day 1.
Just kidding; gambling on sports is dumb (unless you are actually in Las Vegas on an awesome trip with friends – which I’m not. Maybe I’m just bitter).
Have a great day on what should be a national holiday (I took vacation), and GO CATS!!!