Wow. So I goofed. I’ve laid out what I picked last week for the Sweet Sixteen this coming weekend, and have what really happened below.
I predicted Kansas (1) vs. Michigan State (5): Wow. I don’t know what to say. From President Obama to little old me, thousands (millions?) of brackets were shattered on Saturday night by Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa. Wow. At least MSU held up its half of the equation… at the buzzer. I’d pick UNI, but that seems like a cop-out now!
I predicted Georgetown (3) vs. Ohio State (2): In the one game that ESPN’s The Experts crew said wasn’t in question, little considered Ohio University blew the Hoyas right out of the tournament. And then the most undermanned power conference team, Tennessee, made sure that this set of Pearls wasn’t going home yet. OSU finally squeaked by Georgia Tech, but that was a bit too close.
I predicted Syracuse (1) vs. Vanderbilt (4): Yo, Vandy! You were supposed to beat Murray State. Oops. Guess that means you won’t be beating Butler either…But Syracuse is still carrying the Big East torch.
I predicted (6) Xavier vs. (2) Kansas State: Frank Martin’s KSU Wildcats continue to blaze their way through the season, and their 0-2 record against Kansas seems unimportant now, with Xavier as their next opponent. Thankfully, after two 50% picks, I got 100% of this one right.
I predicted Kentucky (1) vs. Wisconsin (4): Like Syracuse, UK continues to blitz teams, making sure that no Cinderella can knock them off. And somehow, I should’ve been smart enough to know that someone like Cornell would bust its way into the Sweet 16, mowing over Wisconsin.
I predicted New Mexico (3) vs. West Virginia (2): And then there were two. The “other” Big East team still standing, West Virginia, lived to face… Washington, a quite unlikely opponent from a week ago.
I predicted Duke (1) vs. Texas A&M (5): Well, I got this half right… as usual. Purdue showed signs of life without Robbie Hummel in an OT win over the Aggies, but thankfully my Dookies showed signs of grit themselves. A full week of prep should give them the win!
I predicted Richmond (7) vs. ND (11): By the end of Thursday, this prediction was dead in the water, thanks to St. Mary’s (which also took down Villanova to make the Sweet 16) and my home state’s Old Dominion crew that knocked out Luke Harangody’s hard workers’ club.
Eight out of sixteen possible correct answers. Wow. I should become a professional prognosticator. Or just flipped a coin each time.
And now for my Final Four: Michigan State, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Duke. Yes, the Big East still has two shots at a title, while “traditional” tournament favorites MSU and Duke try to replicate success from a decade ago. Will we get a Big East final? Or will one of the derided teams, the too inconsistent MSU or the too soft Duke, make it stick?