It’s Madness, I Say!

How can we let pass without mention the kickoff of the NCAA tournament, a.k.a. March Madness?

Much to-do has been made of President Obama’s bracket picks, including Jon Stewart complaining that maybe he should be spending a little more time thinking about the economy, and Nate Silver (via Ezra) noting that the President’s picks, in addition to being generally chalky (picking higher seeds pretty universally) also have a non-random bias towards swing states.

Very silly stuff, all told – it’s not the least bit surprising that he picked chalk – I doubt he’s had time to watch a ton of games this year, and as we’ve discussed many times previously, the most notable attribute of President Obama’s character is his caution. Of course he makes the safe picks – if you pick Gonzaga to make the Final Four, but are wrong, you look the fool, whereas you are only guilty of conventional wisdom if you pick the 1 seed. I wish he had a Big 10 bias – what’s with the lack of love for the mighty Wolverines, Mr. Pres? – but no, no obvious midwestern thing. I like his pick of UNC for the championship – he certainly has a man-love thing going on with the Tar Heels since they played pickup with him while he was on the campaign trail in October, and I have to respect that.

Whereas I, entirely unafraid to look the fool, do have Gonzaga in the Final Four. My picks are below the fold:Midwest Bracket:

Round 1:

Louisville, Ohio State, Arizona – I like the fact that they should be pissed after getting written off by most of the national punditocracy, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Kansas, Boston College, Michigan State

Round 2:

Louisville, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Michigan State

Sweet 16:

Louisville, Michigan State

Elite 8:


West Bracket:

Round 1:

UConn, Texas A&M, Purdue, Miss. State – liked their run through the SEC tournament quite a bit, they are wildly underseeded at 13, Marquette, Missouri, Maryland – Cal kinda limped into the tournament, Memphis

Round 2:

UConn, Purdue, Missouri, Memphis

Sweet 16:

Purdue, Memphis – I wish that we could see the big UConn/Memphis battle for the True #1 Seed, but after watching highlights of the UConn/Syracuse game, and seeing how much trouble UConn had with Johnny Flynn, I think that UConn is too flawed, and will not be able to even get to the game. If they do get there, take Memphis in a runaway – their superior athleticism will lead them through.

Elite 8:


East Bracket:

Round 1:

Pitt, Oklahoma St, Florida St, Xavier, UCLA, Villanova, Minnesota, Duke

Round 2:

Pitt, Florida St, Villanova, Duke

Sweet 16: 

Pitt, Villanova

Elite 8:


South Bracket:

Round 1:

UNC, Butler, Illinois, Gonzaga, Arizona St, Syracuse, Michigan, Oklahoma

Round 2:

UNC, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Oklahoma – yes, an all-chalk bracket.  Whatcha gonna do about it?

Sweet 16: Gonzaga, Oklahoma – there’s your stinking upset!

Elite 8: Gonazga – and another, I hope you choke on it!

So my Final 4 is Louisville over Memphis and Pitt over Gonzaga – both barnburner games, I suspect, with Louisville winning it all 73-67.


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