Today is a wonderful, joyous, miraculous day; it’s like Christmas to even the most casual of college basketball fans. After four months of ball, the stage is set for the best postseason in all of sports: March Madness. Here’s the complete bracket (pops to printable PDF) and below, our thoughts on each.
MIDWESTH: Oh, sure, you may think that’s a typo. It’s not. We couldn’t resist the temptation to say “you can’t spell ‘Midwesth’ without ‘meh.’” We’re nothing if not slaves to cheap jokes. Anyway, this is not a particularly strong region. #1 Louisville should be able to cruise to the Final Four, as the other top seeds (#2 Michigan State, #3 Kansas, #4 Wake Forest) aren’t great this season. Michigan State, in particular, has shown a propensity for playing down to their competition. Remember that one when you’re filling out your bracket. If you’re looking for a 6-11 upset, Dayton over West Virginia could be enticing … but we could also see the ‘Eers running Dayton right out of the gym.
WEST: This is an intriguing region. #5 seed Purdue is the kind of team that could make a run at the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 … except they’ve got perennially pesky Northern Iowa in the first round. Washington at the #4 is also strong. Look for anarchy in this bracket; UConn may not last long, and mid-level seeds like BYU and even Maryland can wreak havoc on a bracket if you’re not careful.
EAST: FSU at #5 is your wild card. They’re just as capable of making a deep run as they are of getting bottled up by #12 Wisconsin right off the bat. Still, it’s hard to think the Elite 8 will consist of anyone other than Duke and Pitt (though Villanova getting to play in Philadelphia in the first two rounds is a total joke). As far as entertaining games go, be sure to watch UCLA vs. VCU in the 6/11; VCU, remember, bounced Duke just two years ago, while UCLA sleepwalked (sleptwalked?) through the entire season.
SOUTH: LSU as an #8 seed? Against Butler?! That’s ludicrous. Illinois and Gonzaga are the #4 and #5 seeds, and neither of them will be able to keep #1 seed UNC out of the Elite 8. In the other half of the bracket… nobody? Can we just write “nobody” to face UNC? Because we don’t think there’s a single Elite 8 team in that whole mess. #3 Syracuse? #2 Oklahoma? Both are reaches; we don’t feel any of them (and none of the rest of the teams look like good sleepers).
BUBBLE TEAMS: Arizona doesn’t deserve to be in. Whether you think it should have been Penn State or St. Mary’s or San Diego State instead … that’s tough to say. But Arizona had a f***ing dogsh*t resume down the stretch, including losing five of their last six games. Why these mid-major teams don’t get any respect for playing on the road so often
(road games don’t even factor into the RPI) (DISREGARD I HAVE BEEN IN A COMA FOR YEARS) is absolutely mystifying. If you want a controversy, there you have it.
Our snap picks for the Final 4, subject to change at least 70 times before Thursday: Louisville, Memphis, Pitt, UNC
Who’s your sleeper? Who’s your biggest upset? Who’s in your Final Four? WHO YA GOT???