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House Staff Bracket Blunders-NCAA Tournament Week 1

Image: The scene of the crime. Basel loses faith in Duquesne (and his own gut) as he errantly picks BYU to advance to the Second Round.

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As expected, the first weekend of the 2024 NCAA Tournament did not disappoint, with plenty of unique upsets, tight games, and big individual performances from College Basketball's brightest stars. However, for many bracket makers out there, several results left their quest for perfection in shambles.

How do several of our House of College Hoops writers evaluate their efforts after the first two rounds, and how can we learn from our mistakes in order to make a better bracket in 2025 and beyond?

As you can tell by the cover image of this piece, I walked back on picking Duquesne to beat BYU in the first round. After watching the Dukes in person for a few days at the Atlantic 10 Championships, I initially felt that their momentum, along with the added motivation Coach Dambrot's impending retirement, could carry them to one more win. However, I ultimately decided that fatigue would set in early, giving BYU a path to victory. This overanalyzing also influenced my decision to go against NC State and Oregon in the first round, leading to a trifecta of failure for me and 3 of the 6-seeds (I picked New Mexico correctly).

Lesson learned; Momentum. Outweighs. Everything.

I've made some bad picks in my day. Auburn to beat UConn was a bad pick. But the one that really bothers me is taking Drake over Washington State. I liked Washington State in that game, but heard EVERYONE pick Drake and I changed my pick. In reality, the best way to win a big bracket pool is to zig where everyone zags, especially in a largely 50/50 game.

I know I will make bad picks, but when I change my initial pick, and pick against my bracket pool philosophies and it goes wrong, those are the ones I really want back.

I wish I had more confidence in NC State. The Wolfpack rallied to win the ACC and I should’ve seen their run a mile away. I never should've doubted the coaching minds of Mark Few, Bill Self, Nate Oats, and Tom Izzo. I didn't think their teams were talented enough to make it past the first round, but these coaches and their unwavering ability proved me wrong. I was too focused on high seed upsets. I did get a few right, but I was to immersed within the madness of March, and should have done some more careful consideration in viewing the Mountain West so highly.


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