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Zimmer: The Jerome XXII Final Results

Breaking down my Jerome XXII selections and what I should have done differently.

Hindsight is 20/20, they say. But overall, happy with my 2023 Jerome selections.

Power Six

Champions: 2 (Duke, Marquette)

Selections out in semifinal or earlier: 2 (Baylor, Indiana)

Selections lost in Championship: 2 (Texas A&M, UCLA)


  • There was too much wind in the sail to not pick Duke & Marquette. Both teams had some close games in their respective tournaments, but ultimately I truly believe the best team from each conference won. Hats off to first-year Blue Devils head coach Jon Scheyer & Naismith Coach of the Year finalist Shaka Smart for getting their teams this far. Both can make legitimate noise in the tournament.

  • For Texas A&M and UCLA, they would've liked this to end a different way. I knew there was a risk A&M would drop one to a hotter team ('Bama, Tennessee, or Kentucky were all contenders), was shocked to see UCLA drop another to Arizona in the championship. UCLA will come back with undying revenge in the NCAA Tournament - it's a team that can make a deep run.

  • As for Baylor and Indiana, what was I thinking? Baylor had a horrid draw in their first round, playing an Iowa State team that had just beat them by 15, and sure enough the Cyclones did it again. Indy caught a red-hot Penn State, who looked like the same team that beat them 85-66 on January 11th. Not a great showing from the Big Ten and Big 12 historical powerhouses.

The Field

Champions: 11

Selections out in first game: Eastern Washington, Rider, Nicholls State, Alcorn State

Selections out in semifinal: Saint Louis, UC Irvine, Akron, UT-Martin, James Madison, Utah Valley

Selections lost in Championship: Liberty, Houston, Cleveland State, Yale, FDU

Winner, Winner

  • Chalky results from America East, Big South, C-USA (thanks for hanging on, FAU), Mountain West, Patriot, and Summit. Thanks for being you, all.

  • From the CAA, Charleston avoids the discussions if they were good enough for an at-large bid. Because yeah, a 31-3 team gets that treatment for some reason. Right.

  • Gonzaga silences its skeptics with an uncompetitive 77-51 win over Saint Mary's, who grapples for West Coast mid-major supremacy over its famed rival. SMC might be heading for the exits in the Round of 32 against a monster UConn team.

Major Upsets

  • Alcorn State was the #1 seed coming into the SWAC Tournament. Wins over Wichita State and SF Austin gave them some confidence to rack up a 15-3 record against conference opponents. But in comes Texas Southern - who entered the tourney a less-than-ideal 11-20, 7-11 in conference play - who goes dancing for the fourth year in a row. Unfortunately for the Braves, TSU was their first opponent, and there was no stopping the Tigers.

  • Similar energy from the Big Sky - it was all eyes on the Eastern Washington Eagles. An unblemished 16-0 record turned south during the last two games of the regular season, when they dropped two contests to Idaho State & Montana State. Little did they know, that trend would continue against Northern Arizona, who took a magical run as an 8 seed to the Finals.

Objectively Bad Picks

  • What was I doing picking James Madison, Nicholls, and Rider? The only thing James Madison had in their pocket is that they made free-throws - they went a dismal 63% in their loss to South Alabama. Nicholls was my panic selection because I didn't want to see TAMU-CC back in the tournament as a 16-play-in. And Rider was the sexy pick because I saw them nearly beat Providence this year. Cmon!

  • UT-Martin had a good story, but there were more talented teams than them. SEMO was one, and they end up punching their ticket after beating Tennessee Tech in the OVC. The best is ahead for Ryan Ridder & his team after all they've been through, but it was not this year.


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