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:
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
Louisville, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Michigan State
Louisville, Michigan State
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
UConn, Purdue, Missouri, Memphis
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.
Pitt, Oklahoma St, Florida St, Xavier, UCLA, Villanova, Minnesota, Duke
Pitt, Florida St, Villanova, Duke
UNC, Butler, Illinois, Gonzaga, Arizona St, Syracuse, Michigan, Oklahoma
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.