On this fine, soggy Tuesday (play-in fever – catch it!), we move to the right half of our scribbled bracket – the cake walk East and the Duke-fucking (ha!) Midwest. Once and again, now and forevs, YMMV.
The tepid East is led by vanilla Villanova, who of course gets little to no credit for being as good as they are. The Big East was a damned monster this season – no, really, it totes was. The Wildcats can be fairly criticized for atrocious tourney performances in years past, but shit does happen. If they repeat said stumbles this year, it will be hard to deflect the criticism any longer.
Who Can Reasonably Win? In addition to Nova, Purdue and its…creepily Germanic bigs have a clear march through the Sudetenland in the lower half. Clearly the committee thinks their inside-out game v. Nova’s guard-heavy approach makes for a more interesting regional final than I do. Should West Virginia somehow get past their many trap games en route to the Sweet Sixteen, they would have a shot v. Nova, and then I would make them a Hippo favourite v. Purdue. But they could just as easily lose to Murray State, as WCS already raised fears re same. Every other highly ranked team is shite.
Who Can Make a Little Run? Marshall is shit-hot right now, and I could see them in the Sweet Sixteen. Same for whoever wins the Bonnies/Bruins play-in fixture, as they will only need to face a dire Florida side, followed by a Guns Up!! squadron that’s been a mess since the calendar turned to February. Yeah, yeah, they have an injured dude coming back, but who knows how close to 100%, and how much confidence do you have that they will fluidly get right back into form? Plus, even beforehand, wasn’t everyone just waiting for the penny to drop? I bet against them constantly.
And the Hippo Oscar Goes To… Villanova (confidence level – VERY HIGH) – I dislike the B1G and I don’t particularly enjoy watching the “Paint Crew” play ball, so beware of some possible bias here. But Villanova, UVA, and Xavier are the three teams that I have seen play consistently the best hoopsball all season long. And all three are still playing right at the end. (Cincy is not far behind, nor are Houston and Michigan).
Get your camo and bib overalls on, we are headed to the Midwest. You dirty libtards.
Who Can Reasonably Win? Kansas, as usual. Also, per tradition, I will tie myself into knots trying to find a way to pick somebody else. One of many reasons why I almost never win these mamajamas. But lo, this is a legitimately deep field. Duke is always a threat. Too bad for them Sparty awaits in the Round of 16, and a devil (hee hee) of a matchup problem. Rhode Island is easily the best 7 seed in the field, and athletic as hell (just really stupid). Laugh all you want, but Clemson can beat Kansas, and go all the way to the Alamo.
Who Can Make a Little Run? NC State/Seton Hall will be a really fun, interesting 8/9 matchup. And the winner could definitely give KU problems. It is not completely unthinkable that Team Oatmeal Farts could spring the first 1/16 game upset, but still very unlikely. I talked about Rhode Island above, should they beat Duke, a Rams/Sparty matchup would be a Sweet Sixteen clash for the ages. Just remember who told you that first, ok?
And the Hippo Oscar Goes To… Michigan State (confidence level – MEDIUM) – Sparty is another side that I frequently pick against, but are a compromise for my brain here. Better for my soul than KU or Duke, not quite as cray-cray as Clemson or Rhode Island, though I can make a case for each, and they will make it in some of my “upset point bonus” brackets. You only live once. Unless the Hindus are right, but then again we are all coming back as houseflies so FUCK IT!
Editor’s note (redux): This is to remind you of DFO’s Bracket Challenge!
DFO Bracket Challenge
Group Name: DFO Brackets
Addendum: ESPN apparently doesn’t make it easy to join the group. Or at least not very clear how. Hopefully this helps…
Tip of the hat to Mr. Ayo here.