Another Selection Sunday is in the books, but there are still just as many questions as there are answers. Can Iona go from an afterthought to a true contender? Will Tulsa make the committee look good by getting into the actual field of 64 after the play-in game? Can Kansas get through a minefield and live up to its #1 seed? And the most important question of all: How can I get through my bracket unscathed?
Well, that’s the toughest question too, because the odds are certainly not with you. It is virtually impossible to pick every single outcome of every single game correctly, and there is a ton of risk involved. So I don’t even try for perfection (if it happens, then great). Instead I do my best to get the Final Four correct. Nine times out of ten if you take all four teams to the Final Four you’ve got a great chance at winning your Bracket Challenge against your friends.
I always create a bracket directly after the Selection Show, and I call it my Preliminary Bracket. That way I get my initial reactions down without any time to think about it, to see where my mind is at fresh from the show. Here’s my Preliminary Bracket for 2016’s edition of March Madness:
Generally between my Preliminary Bracket and my Final Bracket there are changes I make, but I try not to make too many gut decisions between Sunday night and Thursday, when the bracket becomes live, and I can’t do anything else with it anyway. Usually the changes I make don’t affect the Final Four. That’s organic for me the way that comes about, and more often than not it stays rock solid throughout. What changes are the Round of 64 and Round of 32 game picks.
This means I’m picking Kansas, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Virginia as my Final Four participants this year, the first time I’ve got three #1 seeds heading to the last two games in a while. But I didn’t take them there because they’re #1 seeds. I took them there because I honestly think they’ll survive the rest of the carnage to get to Houston.
Next time I’ll talk Round of 64 matchups and who I think has the best chance of pulling the upset.