So of course things didn’t quite go as anyone expected them to go in the brackets through the first weekend of March Madness, as evidenced by the fact that no one has picked all the games correctly — including me. Wow, who would have predicted most of these results? But that’s why it’s called Madness. Let’s take a look back at some shockers (no pun intended) from the first three rounds:
- Tennessee’s furious comeback against Iowa in the First Four to win by 13 in overtime was one of the best games this year, and hardly anyone saw it.
- Duke was the first high seed to go down, losing a tough one to Mercer. That was the second time in the past three years that the Blue Devils have lost to a double-digit seed early in the tournament.
- If your bracket wasn’t busted by that one, Syracuse helped out by losing a tough one to Dayton, followed by Kansas going down to a feisty Stanford team. Both games were close, but not close enough to turn those losses to victories.
- The blowout of the tournament so far was 6-seed Baylor dispatching 3-seed Creighton to advance quite easily to the Sweet 16. When a team shoots 61% from the floor, it’s difficult to keep up.
- Three 1-seeds remain out of four, with the only one out the previously unbeaten Wichita State, losing a heartbreaker to a scrappy Kentucky team that played its best game of the season in that one.
And here’s a look ahead:
- UCLA looks to bounce the top overall seed when they meet up with Florida in the Sweet 16. Florida has looked solid in its first two games, but UCLA dropped SFA in very short order. I think this one will be close until the end, with the final shot winning it for UCLA.
- Arizona and San Diego State was the matchup I thought we would see in the West region, and here it is. They match up well with each other, but I think Arizona has the slight edge on defense. If they play up to their potential, then Arizona should win a close one here.
- Dayton and Stanford lock horns in a contest almost no one saw coming, but both teams are playing awfully well. It’s a shame one of them has to go home after the next round. A 10-seed vs. an 11-seed to get to the Elite 8 will be a good game to watch, and I think Dayton is playing just a small bit better right now. If they play to current form, I think Dayton becomes Elite.
- The Baylor/Wisconsin game on paper should be a win for Wisconsin, but after blowing out Creighton and looking incredibly solid on both sides of the ball in the process, I’m not betting against Baylor right now. I think the Bears take this one and advance.
- Michigan State is the trendy pick (as I’ve noted before) and they did get this far, but Virginia comes into this one playing like a #1-seed. They will continue to play as they have all season, and that will be really tough for Michigan State to keep up. Tom Izzo has done wonders with his squad, but they have overachieved so far, and Virginia brings them back to earth. But it will be close.
- What’s scary is that Louisville has been “off” so far this tournament on offense, but their defense has been incredible as always, and they have won quite handily. Kentucky had its best game of the season in the previous round, but I think they get shut down by that Pitino defense in this one. Louisville by 8.
- UConn is looking very good, and I don’t know if Iowa State has the firepower to hang with them in the Sweet 16. My initial analysis was that Iowa State would win this one, but if UConn plays the way they have been playing they hang around and steal this one. My pick is UConn.
- Now that one 11-seed will already be Elite, Tennessee will make it an even two, taking out a Michigan team that has been off and on lately. From the First Four to the Elite 8 is quite a feat, but it’s been done twice recently, and I think it will happen here again. Tennessee in a close one.
The Fantasy Ace