Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sports: College Basketball (Sweet Sixteen)

A second chance to guess the bracket right has proven futile for me as nearly every pick from the first night was wrong ensuring the left side of my bracket is covered in red Xs. Stunning upsets continue to happen in this especially strange year and a few teams are establishing themselves as the new dominant contenders. The results of this Sweet Sixteen are an Elite Eight that no one predicted but at least the right side of my bracket does have some semblance of predictability with two one-seed teams still going strong and their future games against a two-seed and a three-seed. It's always a weird feeling to go from days full of exciting basketball to just a few games left.

The South bracket has given me the most trouble and I don't think anyone saw Kansas State and Loyola-Chicago being the two Elite Eight teams coming out of this region. The Wildcats upset over Kentucky was heartbreaking as I stayed up late to watch the final threes not sink and a ton of missed free throws. Loyola continues its 11-seed Cinderella run with a strong win over Nevada and a chance at the Final Four. I'm sticking with Kansas State in this bracket.

Michigan showed that their SEC challenger Texas A&M was not up to the task of taking out the Big Ten champions. They won the game easily and move onto the Elite Eight against a 9-seed. Florida State has shocked me but reinforced the narrative of a strong ACC with a solid win over last year's runner-up Gonzaga late Thursday night. The Wolverines should be able to survive the Seminoles.

Villanova is reliving their run two years ago with a game that proved they are not a guest in these final games. Their win over West Virginia puts them into the Elite Eight against a Big 12 3-seed. I didn't manage to watch as much of the Texas Tech vs. Purdue game as I would have liked and was a little shocked at the upset even messing up the markings on my bracket because it was late at night. Texas Tech was always a strong presence in the Big 12 and I have overestimated Purdue several times but should have seen Red Raiders coming. Still, I think Villanova has what it take to make it to the Final Four. 

Setting up what could be one of the best games in the tournament. Kansas took out Clemson without too much trouble and Duke played a competitive match against Syracuse. The game between the Jayhawks and the Blue Devils could be a highlight of the tournament if they both bring their A-game. I am going with Kansas but wouldn't be surprised if Duke takes the whole tournament this year. 

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