Madness Has Arrived

Each year I ever so eagerly wait for March. It’s the best month of the year for two reasons. One, it’s my birth month; and two, March Madness. While I like to think my birthday is a pretty big deal, we will forget about that for now because the reason people around the country have been MIA since Sunday is the NCAA Tournament.

To anyone who tried to reach me outside of work hours this past week, I am sorry I never got back to you but I was analyzing every bracket matchup possible. I finally finished my bracket with minutes to spare Thursday morning. It’s always so stressful!

FIRST ROUND

The first round kicked off at 10 a.m. Wyoming time Thursday. These first 32 games are some of the most exciting. The round of 64 provides the crazy upsets and unveils this year’s Cinderellas. One of the hardest things for me this year was predicting those upsets. I felt there were a ton of talented teams, but I felt they weren’t all blessed with the greatest matchups.

Filling out a bracket feels like a multiple-choice exam. If you get any letter more than three times in a row, you know you’ve done something wrong. As I made my way through my practice bracket, I soon realized I was going with all the favorites. If that is your plan of action, there is no money in your future, let me tell you that. So like I did in college, when time allowed, of course, I went back and tried to rework the problem.

I eventually figured it out and my predicted upsets in the first round are: Yale over Baylor, Hawaii over California, Wichita over Arizona and Gonzaga over Seton Hall. At one point I really wanted to go out on a limb and name my Cinderella team Holy Cross, but that was just asking for it. While Oregon definitely did not deserve to be a No. 1 seed over Michigan State, don’t try to argue with me on this one, the Ducks are definitely one of the most overlooked teams in the tournament.

My favorite part about this first round is definitely the upsets. All in one day you can have your heart ripped out, torn into a million pieces, have it taped back together, and start beating again. I like to call March the unknown — more times than not no one really has any idea of what is going to happen when two teams take the court.

I got my first hoorah Thursday with Yale’s upset win over Baylor. I knew I could count on the Bulldogs, but I don’t have them getting past the next round.

Then hours later I got my heart stomped on by Purdue. Way to go Boilermakers. I had them going to the Elite 8. I really wanted an MSU-Purdue rematch but they went and messed it all up for me.

The first round continues Friday, so plenty more room for upsets.

IN IT TO WIN IT

Minus Purdue, if none of my other predicted Elite Eight or Sweet 16 teams get beat, I’ll be happy. Minus one seven seed, I only have top three teams making the Elite Eight, and I’m pretty basic when it comes to my Final Four predictions. Check back next week for my rundown of the tournament thus far and my Elite Eight predictions.

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