Sports Opinion & Analysis


In College on March 21, 2013 at 6:42 am

By HTLF Staff

Like the rest of the nation trying to get out of work at their day job, we at Hittoleftfield thought it would be fun to fill out our own NCAA Tournament Brackets, and then share and compare and explain our choices. Oh, and thanks to this bracket website that we pulled our brackets from.

Here goes.

Jonathan’s Picks:

There are two things in life I suck at doing, and filling out NCAA Tournament Brackets is one of them.

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The other? Thinking about filling out NCAA Tournament Brackets.

Let’s be serious, it’s tough enough trying to predict the outcome of one game at a give time, but predicting 64 games is damn near impossible. Especially if you only pretend to have a passing interest in college basketball, because it seems like you should, since you run a fledgling to mildly successful lower tier sports blog, know what I saying?

(Not pointing any fingers here!)

Either way, I chose Louisville to go all the way, because everyone chose Louisville to go all the way. I picked them beating Miami, because the Canes are the most sure thing at a long shot. If I’m correct about them, picking them will make me look really smart, and there is nothing more I like than to look really smart (I mean, who picked Baltimore over San Francisco in the Super Bowl before the NFL season started? And who then changed that pick before the start of the playoffs?).

Everything else is really inconsequential. I picked Belmont to upset Arizona because Arizona is probably the best worst team (or worst best team, although that phrasing is a bit too generous) in the whole tournament. I picked UCLA to go down, because of the big injury their facing, and I picked Iona to upset Ohio St.

Why did I pick Iona to upset Ohio State? Because I told you already, I suck at these things.

Jeff W’s Picks:

What I know about college basketball is almost entirely conceptual, theoretical, and general. I know that falling down occurs with such regularity that everyday fans don’t seem to mind. I know that defense equals ZONE and offense equals HOT POTATO. And I know that it’s a common joke to say that March Madness involves many of the world’s future insurance salesmen. All of this is to say that I watch very few games from year to year at the college level, most of which take place during March Madness, that weird stretch of time where national productivity decreases dramatically and millions of people sign up for free ESPN brackets and inevitably lose to some homeless guy in Florida who made his picks based on how many people used the corner ATM last Saturday.

So I figured that instead of losing to that homeless man, I’d play a different game, one at which I’m likely to win. Instead of seeing how many games I can get right, I’m going to see how many games I can get wrong!

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Now, the real key to “winning” this challenge is to dominate the first round because, obviously, if you whiff every game in the first round, you’ve whiffed the tournament, game, set, and match. But since it’s so easy to pick a low seed to advance in every round, the best scores in this March Madness format are necessarily going to be incredibly low on the win count. I’m thinking that an above average score would be to only allow your bracket to yield, say, less than ten winners. There are 66 games (including the play-ins) so getting about 90% of them wrong (considering you can just pick all the play-in teams to make the Final Four and probably destroy 60% of your bracket) seems a good benchmark.

Hopefully I do as poorly as possible!

Chris’s Picks:

I’m not a college sports guy. Just don’t have the gene. I went to Pitt and I never came close to going to a conference game. Why? Well, they sell out in seven seconds and I just… meh… it’s just not in my bones.

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But my affinity and devotion to the Big East remains. Especially in its final year as a competitive conference (hell, a conference at all), they need to go out with a bang. That shows in my bracket which I’m calling “Trying really hard to call the upsets”. It’s kind of pointless but fun all the same.

I have Duke and Syracuse playing for it all in the championship. For that to happen, a LOT of upsets have to go down in the South and East brackets. Yeah. I’m willing San Diego St., Butler, and New Mexico to make it happen.

It’s fun to pick the upsets. I’ve picked 18. That’s pretty ridiculous but if goes down, I will be laughing. That’s how I roll: death or joy.

And finally, the one person here you should probably listen to:

Jeff G’s Picks:

All season I’ve watched top dogs get knocked off, so I’m anticipating a wild tournament

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Let’s start with the West. Gonzaga has beaten one ranked opponent all season. Can you can tell I’m not buying the hype? My brother’s been waiting all season for a big man to come along and take out Kelly Kapowski Olynyk, but Pitsburgh’s center Talib Zanna is not gonna be that big man. The game to watch will be Wisconsin vs. Gonzaga. Badgers forward/center Jared Berggren has the versatility to posterize Olynyk, in what’s going to be the long-hair’s first true test against another legitimate big man all season. In the end, Ohio State is too hot right now for me to get in their way. The Buckeyes get past Wisconsin for a final four appearance.

An early matchup in the East I’m studying is a rematch between Marquette and Butler in the Sweet Sixteen. I’m giving Marquette the payback victory, settling the score from an early season one-point loss. I see Indiana having a really tough time getting past Syracuse and then Miami, even a Marquette team if the Golden Eagles play to their capabilities. I just don’t see Miami sustaining a five game winning streak, nor more magic from Syracuse. Indiana sneaks past them all, albeit an overtime victory, or two.

The South. I’ve waited for Georgetown to get a break in the seeding department for years and here it is. Kansas, Michigan, Florida aren’t contenders in this division. Georgetown will have to actually perform in the tournament though, something they haven’t proven to be capable of under head coach John Thompson III. They’ll finally get a taste of the Final Four, but that’s the most I’m willing to gamble on them. As it is, I could see Minnesota topping them in the Elite 8, once they get past Florida for an upset not many are calling. Obama overlooked the Golden Gophers, so I like my odds.

In the Midwest I’m most worried about Duke. Which team is going to come out and play? This is the biggest mystery of the tournament for me. But the road looks easy for the Blue Devils early. Also, I’m high on either Oregon or OK State coming out and beating St Louis. I’m going to give the edge to OK State’s 3-pt barrage led by junior guard Markel Brown. But none of this is going to matter when Louisville stands atop the pile. Their road is easier than the other contenders and they’re outstanding on both sides of the ball — what they’ll need to get by Ohio St. and eventually Indiana. I’ve been waiting for Head Coach Rick Pitino to prove his press isn’t a gimmick. This year he’ll be cutting down the nets because of it.

  1. I wish I’d gotten a chance to see how good VCU is this year. Wow. Michigan will have their work cut out for them, and then on to Kansas.

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