Basel's House Bracket Challenge: Julia and Erin Lead After Round 1
Updated: Mar 23
An exciting first round of the NCAA Tournament created some tight competition amongst my four favorite housemates! If you've given up on your busted bracket and need to someone new to follow, see how our four competitors are doing in their quest for Uber Eats glory!
(Also, please pay no attention to my awful NIT bracket at the bottom left of our house's big board)
A Weekend Full of Surprises
While the biggest upsets of the tournament occurred in the first round proper, some brackets in Harrisburg were almost shaking up in the First Four. Having Drake in her Elite Eight, Erin was very relieved to hear that the Bulldogs were able to come away with the tough win against Wichita State.
After a rough first half that saw the Bulldogs not score until around the 10-minute mark, a pair of free throws from Joseph Yesufu at the end of the game allowed the Bulldogs to come away with a 1-point victory. Yesufu finished the game with 21 points. Regarding Yesufu's performance, Erin was too overjoyed over the win to get into a discussion about statistics.
"I don't know what those words mean," Erin said, referring to free throws. "I didn’t watch the game, I just like winning. If you’re asking me about free throws, then they must be important."
While Drake would survive to play another day, they would soon be knocked out in the first round proper by USC on Saturday.
As the Round of 64 commenced, upsets began to hit our brackets left and right. While games like Oral Roberts over Ohio State were definitely a shocker, the fact that everyone had the Buckeyes advancing to the Elite Eight meant that the playing field remained relatively level. In terms of the four competitors, the biggest blow on Friday came when 13 North Texas took down 4 Purdue, Bailey's pick to win the whole tournament. When asked about the loss, the so-called lover of upsets seemed to throw her champs under the bus.
"I didn't lose. Purdue lost," Bailey said coldly. "I think my bracket has enough unexpected picks that I'll still come out ahead."
Bailey wasn't the only one with unexpected picks, and neither was she the only one with unexpected picks that didn't turn out too great. Overall, it seems that a major strategy between these four fierce competitors was to break the mold in the middle-seeded games, with each bracket having one pick that differed from the other three. Such was the case with 4 Florida State against 13 UNC Greensboro, in which Grace was the only person to pick the Spartans. When asked about the pick, Grace admits that she could have conflated Greensboro's success with their sister school, UNC-Chapel Hill.
"I don't know what any UNC is, so I just saw UNC and picked that," Grace admitted. "I didn't know that there is more than one UNC, and after this conversation, I probably won't remember that there is more than one UNC."
Finally, after a first-round that saw everyone do quite well, both Julia and Erin sat atop the standings with 21 points apiece. After catching flack for considering asking her brother for picks, Erin took some time to relish in her solid first-round performance.
"I read what those bitches wrote about me and my brother," Erin said. "Even though I didn't use him, I'm still winning."
Continuing on this point, Erin challenged the idea that she was the villain of this competition.
"Are the teams who won the villains because they won? Am I the villain because I'm winning? I don't think so."
Standings after Round 1
Julia (21/32 Rd. 1 Picks) (21 Pts.)
Erin (21/32 Rd. 1 Picks) (21 Pts.)
Grace (20/32 Rd. 1 Picks) (20 Pts.)
Bailey (18/32 Rd. 1 Picks) (18 Pts.)
-3 out of 4 Final Fours remain intact
-Julia has the best potential Sweet 16, with 12 teams remaining
-Erin has lost 3 Elite 8 Teams (Drake, BYU, Texas)
-Julia was the only bracket with Abilene Christian beating Texas
-When asked about her Drexel pick, Julia confirmed that she had no regrets about picking a team from Pennsylvania
-Bailey has Gonzaga lose their next matchup against Oklahoma. Neither Bailey nor Grace have Gonzaga advancing to the Final Four.