Updated: May 10
Okay, buckle up.
This was the most difficult it’s ever been filling out my bracket. In a year that I followed college basketball more than I ever have, I really struggled thinking about even the most basic of matchups. And now, as our colleague Sam Basel mentioned on Twitter a few days ago, I’ve come to the realization that we’re all just silly little bloggers with our silly little takes…nothing more, nothing less.
Here’s the shakedown of how my bracket is holding up.
Sweet 16: 8 of 16 teams remain (50%)
I made some ambitious claims on who would be making Sweet Sixteen appearances. The one I was most bullish about - and one I thought would set me apart from other brackets - was Murray State. You can imagine how gassed up I was when Murray scratched out a great win against San Francisco on opening night, knowing that #15 Saint Peter’s awaited them in the second round. But the Peacocks stayed winning, and all the Racers provided for me was a tease. Chattanooga was another pipe dream, but in a similar boat as Murray State; they led Illinois virtually all game, but had the game stolen away from them in the final 25 seconds. Two big differentiators with a shot to win their games came up empty.
Elite 8: 5 of 8 teams remain (62.5%)
Ok, can you blame me for an #5 Iowa - #3 Wisconsin final in the Midwest Regional? America’s hottest team in the Hawkeyes hit a wall against a red-hot #12 Richmond group, but that should’ve been a game in which Iowa cruised. Maybe I was over-optimistic, but Iowa was a team that could’ve been cutting down nets…and it all came crashing down. On the other hand, #3 Wisconsin limped into their second-round matchup against #11 Iowa State after a scare at the hands of Colgate, so you could sense an upset brewing…especially the way the Cyclones have been playing. I now have no more possible wins in the Midwest region. This is March!
Final Four: 3 of 4 teams in Final Four remain
Even though the Big Ten has let me down (yet again), Wisconsin can be replaced in my heart. My Final Four remains 75% intact, with Duke, Villanova, and Purdue all still have a legitimate chance at destiny. I believe we’ll be destined for #1 Gonzaga - #2 Duke this weekend, but maybe #3 Texas Tech will have other plans to send Coach K back to his humble abode permanently. #2 Villanova will have its work cut out for them against #11 Michigan, who surprised many by picking off Colorado State in the first round and then playing #3 Tennessee to a convincing victory. #3 Purdue will draw #15 Saint Peter’s…I do love the Peacocks’ story, but I think the Boilermakers present a challenge they’re not ready for just yet. As for who comes out of the Midwest, my revised guess is the winner of Friday’s #1 Kansas - #4 Providence matchup…and right now, if the Friars played like they did against #12 Richmond on Saturday, things will get very interesting in Chicago.