The Selection Sunday holiday has come and gone, but fear not, because Erection Monday is here!
Damnit, can't a guy masterbracket in this house?!?
With the Chiefs seemingly well out of the Peyton Manning quest, it feels completely appropriate to dive deep into the heart of Bracketville, NJ (for whatever reason, I picture this imaginary bracketeered town in New Jersey, somewhere near Hoboken) all week long.
Ahh, there is nothing finer than settling in with a freshly printed bracket, debating all the possibilities in your head, really trying to determine the flow of the Tournament. That's what it's all about right there. I really try to harness that beautiful bracket's chi in that time frame (ranging anywhere from 5 minutes to multiple lifetimes). What's going to define this year's bracket? First round upsets? Sweet 16 showdowns? Mid major surprises? First seed early exits? This is why, as Joey Tribbiani once got inside his map, I feel it's necessary to get inside the bracket.
So, the plan, as of now, is to write on this matter daily, keeping a diary of my unfiltered NCAA Tournament thoughts, so that the (approximately) 34 1/2 hours I spend staring deep into my bracket's eyes this week don't go to waste.
Without making you wait any Longar Longar, let get it...
*I filled out my first bracket last night. This was the celebration that followed...
Final Four: 2 Duke, 5 Vanderbilt, 1 Michigan St, 1 North Carolina
Championship: 1 North Carolina over 2 Duke (I know, right?)
Surprises: 13 New Mexico St, 13 Ohio, 12 Long Beach St (Sweet 16), 11 NC State (Sweet 16), 10 West Virginia (Sweet 16), 7 Florida (Elite 8)
*It should be noted, that the previous bracket was filled out online, which tends to play out different than a bracket scribed by hand. You better believe I'll be tracking which method is superior.
*One of my favorite aspects of this week is determining different bracket strategies. This year, my plan is to fill out 5 brackets, one for each day of the week. I'll listen to a different genre of music for each bracket (last night's was to Nirvana). Each of the 5 will also have their own loosely applied theme (last night's was done before I saw/read anybody else's bracket).
*I just happened to look at ESPN, and good god, if you pick all four #1 seeds to advance to the Final Four (looking at you, Bilas) then you are officially lamer than Jim Halpert (who recently shocked Joe Buck in the Lame National Championship Game).
*The bracket strategy I'm most excited for this year is a brand new one for me, and is heavily influenced by VCU's run last season. It's entirely based on what is said during the CBS Selection Show. Here's my theory: The brackets are exclusively revealed on this hour long show, which means EVERYBODY watches, including the players, coaches, etc. I believe a team's psyche is majorly affected by anything Seth Davis, Greg Anthony and company say. VCU got railed on last year. Everybody said they had no business even being in the Tournament and they responded by playing like they had something to prove. So, this future bracket is to be filled out in complete reaction to everything said on that specific show. They loved 2 Missouri? Boom, going out early. 8 Memphis over 1 Michigan State huh? Not a chance. Davis puts his balls on the table and takes 14 South Dakota State over 3 Baylor - Not in this bracket. I vigorously took notes during this hour, and have high hopes for what might come of this anti-media bracket.
*All that being said, too many people are pointing at Iona to be this year's VCU, which means it ain't happening (still probably pick them to win a game in that specific bracket to stick with the theme).
*Speaking of Iona, anybody else shocked to see a play-in game on the 14 seed line? That hardly seems fair to Marquette. Word on the street is this is because of BYU's weird ass Chick-Fil-A closed on Sunday policy. The teams emerging from the "first four" are extra dangerous because they've gotten rid of any jitters they may have had and they've already tasted victory (see: VCU last year).
*Every March, I find a player or two that I feel the same way towards that I did Kelly Kapowski in 7th grade. Two years ago it was Omar Sanham of St. Mary's. Last year it was Kenneth Faried of Morehead St. This year's leading candidate is Yancy Gates of Cincinnati (is it that obvious I like 6'8 black dudes? Blackpeoplemeet.com here I come!).
*Best I can tell, this year's trendy upset pick is 13 Montana over 4 Wisconsin, closely followed by 12 Long Beach St. over 5 New Mexico. In other words, don't be that guy trying to impress everybody with these "upsets."
*North Carolina drew the easiest of the brackets (and that includes Kansas). Michigan and Georgetown don't scare me in the slightest. It's hard for me to see any team other than KU or North Carolina making it out of the Midwest. Ranking the regions: 1. East 2. South 3. West 4. Midwest
More on KU, Mizzou, and other teams you might care about tomorrow,