So a few things that you should read before you get into this:
First of all if you are in a pool with me, please STOP READING NOW. I can’t have anyone taking advantage of a free look into my FOOLPROOF strategy (most foolproof strategies come from a “position of complete ignorance.” Ask Donald Trump.) and undercutting my retirement fund AKA ESPN Tournament Challenge winnings. (Just kidding you can read on, I’m about dem pageviews)
Second of all, I am in a pretty bad spot here. I listen to just enough talk radio that I have a vague idea who is good, but I have watched little enough that I have insufficient insight to actually make informed upset picks.
That means, I guess, that I need a different reason for the picks that I make, and that reason will be the same as most of America: a minimal amount of research done while avoiding an undesirable task (in my case pretty much the rest of my life).
That’s boring though. So here is my bracket, and below are a number of explanations that are not my actual reasons for the picks, but are in fact reasons that I made up after picking #Winners based on my limited research that are probably just as reasonable as a perusal of RPI and best wins/worst losses, and definitely more entertaining. So LET’S GO!
Okay so before we get into individual games, there are a few different games that foll into the same reasoning. Here are those reasons:
This isn’t Football.
Usually, you see a team that went to a BCS game or that has a storied tradition on the gridiron and your subconscious goes ‘hey, they are better at sports than Xavier’ or whoever, and you want to go with the Michigans or the USCs or whoever. Last year, Vegas reported that teams with elite football programs experienced a 47% spike from the general public in both brackets and against the spread. Granted, I just made that stat up and it actually doesn’t really even mean anything (a 47% spike? In what? I don’t know.), but it sounds believable so go with it.
This year, though, I’m going to the other way, and picking AGAINST the teams with the stronger football programs because as Dick Vitale always says ‘BASKETBALL GAMES ARE WON ON THE HARDWOOD NOT ON THE GRIDIRON, BABY!’
For the above reasons, I am actively punishing teams in my picks for strong football performances, recent or historical, sometimes even against my better judgment.
Games in this category:
Duke over Oregon
Sorta torn on this one because Oregon is notorious for failing in post season play, which means maybe they should win in post season play with this not being football? I don’t know. Duke football is usually a joke though, so their bump offsets Oregon’s postseason failings.
Not strictly related but Oregon doesn’t get to play on a court designed to make opposing players think they are being sucked up by quicksand in the tournament. Another big disadvantage.
Duke over Oklahoma
Gonzaga over Utah
Gonzaga doesn’t even have a program. Very strong commitment to this not being football.
Providence over USC
This one is slightly murky because of the next category, but Providance has absolutely no football background. USC has one of paying players and developing murderers. Advantage Friars.
West Virginia over Notre Dame
It is Touchdown Jesus, not 3 point Jesus.
Villinova over Iowa
Will the energy expended making a Cinderella run at the Football playoff come back to hurt Iowa in the basketball tournament? Probably.
Arizona over Miami
“Hey Jack, Arizona has actually been better at football than Miami for the past decade or so.” Pipe down and watch a 30 for 30 for me. Despite recent failings in South Florida, Miami’s historical dominance in the 80s, 90s and 2000s should hurt them from the free throw line in this one.
This isn’t Hockey
North Carolina over Providence
Pittsburgh over Wisconsin
Duke over Yale
The fact that Duke is the team that will be lined up with Yale and probably take them out was an unfortunate blow to the Cardale Jones memorial ‘We Ain’t Here to Play School’ category, but the hockey one will need to do.
The Pac-12 Is Overrated.
I live on the West Coast, so you could say that I probably had the chance to watch a lot of Pac-12 basketball and therefore I can make an informed judgment that the Pac-12 isn’t as good as the committee thought. You could say that, but if you did you’d be wrong. I watched at most 2 or 3 Pac12 basketball games this year, and have absolutely no idea if they are any good at basketball this year. They could be awesome.
What actually happened is that I (somewhat arbitrarily) picked against Pac12 teams early on in my bracket decisions. This (my own arbitrary picks) gave me the impression that the Pac12 was almost definately overrated, which was a useful bit of information for the rest of my picks.
Specifically, I picked USC, Colorado and Oregon State to go out in the first round. If the Pac12 is going to lose 3 teams in the first round, then they are probably pretty overrated, so I considered that when picking Maryland over Cal in the second round. Well, if Cal, one of the more talented teams in the conference, is going to go out in round 2, then the conference must really not be that good at all, so despite high seeds, it must be safe to assume that Oregon is going to go down to Duke, and that Utah is probably going to lose to Gonzaga based upon their conferences well established massively inflated reputation (Both of these games were aided by the fact that this isn’t, in fact, football) and Arizona doesn’t have a chance to upset Miami (despite the fact that this isn’t football, although in recent years this might be helped by the fact that this isn’t football).
So there you go. Because the Pac12 is overrated, all of their teams are going to be out by the Sweet 16, which is proof that the Pac12 is in fact overrated, and also why the Pac12 is overrated.
My logic is flawless.
I heard One Thing on a Podcast, Took it as Gospel and Picked a Team Based on That
This one is actually dead serious. I am easily influenced in a matter such as college basketball where I have no actual proprietary insight.
Kentucky over North Carolina
Ryen Russillo likes Kentucky’s guard play.
Michigan State over Virginia
Big Cat said Virginia can’t shoot, and a bunch of people said that Michigan State could have been a one so…sold.
I Just Don’t Really Respect Your Program
West Virginia over Xavier
What is Xavier in, the Patriot League? Yeah, not fooling me with that fancy 2 seed.
Gonzaga over Seton Hall
Pretty sure that’s a prep school.
HEY I HAVE A CLOSE FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER WHO WENT/GOES THERE
Cincy over Saint Joe’s
Yale over Baylor
Pretty weak field from this, a standby category. Also only applies to round 1, evidently. Opposite of a shoutout to Santa Clara, Boston College, Dartmouth, Brown, Occidental (just kidding that’s not a real school), South Carolina, Loyola, Minnesota, Boise State and San Francisco for all missing the tournament this year and making this basically useless.
Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas and Duke
Do you want to bet against those programs? I don’t.
Also, my understanding is that Kansas is allegedly the best team in the country, so it seems like a good idea to have them in my final four, and, as it happens, my champion. That’s hard hitting analysis you won’t find just anywhere.