Following Day One of March Madness, I challenge the Bloggernacle to quit their jobs and spend today as I spent it: watching one game on the TV and two others on the computer(s) for twelve and a half hours, pausing only to get New York Pizza and Pasta and Long John Silver's to go. As promised, the top three and bottom three brackets, with associated analysis:
1st - D-Train with 140/160 points. D-Train's last bit of faith in O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A was not validated, as the Sooners slump to yet another loss to a team with inferior talent at all five positions. Ray Charles could have seen this upset a mile away, but D-Train stupidly picked the Sooners to go to the Sweet Sixteen, largely based on utter disrespect for Florida and the assumption that OU's big men would get out of bed. Neither assumption was validated on day 1 and Train should be shot for his incompetence. D-Train also picked Nevada for the Sweet Sixteen, meaning that Montana's upset could hurt him more than other competitors. On the upside, D-Train correctly picked a minor upset for Alabama and kept the faith with George Washington. Perhaps the Train's biggest score of the night came in Jacksonville, where Brother Train correctly argued that Texas A&M's disciplined play would overcome a dog-tired Syracuse team with an injured star.
2nd (tied) - Eric Nielson with 130/160 points. A generally strong showing, but Brother Nielson's inability to predict Big 12 basketball stopped him from pulling away from a weak field. Nielson's pick of Oklahoma proved to be a failure, as was his conventional wisdom pick of Syracuse over Texas A&M. With all due respect, Nielson can claim to have picked the Montana upset (certificate coming in the mail), but a questionable pick of San Diego State over Indiana stopped Nielson from outright ownership of first place after the first day of competition. It must be said that Nielson is the early favorite, since all three of his failed picks were not picked to make it out of the second round.
2nd (tied) - J. Crawford with 130/160. Crawford understandably missed the Nevada/Montana shocker, but picked UNC-Wilmington and Utah State with deleterious results. While Wilmington was understandable so near home, Utah State is a noodle-scratcher, especially given Crawford's conviction that they would see the Sweet Sixteen. It may be that the Homer Syndrome that cost D-Train could also cost Crawford. Presumably, he is a MoMo.
2nd (tied) - Brett McKay with 130/160. A fellow Normanite, McKay retained enough sanity to at least remove OU at the second round stage. He also fell victim to Montana and suffered significantly with the elimination of Syracuse, a Sweet Sixteen pick in McKay's bracket. While the married life may agree with Brett's hair, a lack of Big XII pride could harm McKay in later rounds.
2nd (tied) - K. Kage with 130/160. If you just cover up the bottom two inches of the page, Kage looks like a genius. However, San Diego State, Marquette, and Nevada all cost Kage big, as Kage loses two Sweet Sixteen entries. Nevada is understandable, but Kage will no doubt regret her faith in SDSU as a Sweet Sixteen entrant. The Mountain West has been summarily eliminated, but Kage will not stop feeling the pain until the Elite Eight. On the positive side, Kage wasn't fooled by the rocks (AKA NC-Wilmington) and has demonstrated great faith in the Valley. Will this faith be sufficient unto bracket salvation? It seems unlikely, as Kage has picked the Shockers to reach the Elite Eight. While they may be that good, the D-Train mojo says they put up a brilliant fight, but succumb to a Tarheel squad that got the perfect draw in the round of sixteen.
And the good folks staring at the gigantic butts possessed by Pris and I......
Next to last place (tied) - M. Marian with 90/160. Despite seven first round losses, Marian only lost one Sweet Sixteen team (the 'Cuse). Particularly egregious errors were San Diego State and Iona. Iona's guard play might entrance stat geeks, but Marian is wishing that she had fallen in love with a Grizzly. Marian's failure to recognize the fine play of the Valley is costing her, as her faith in a Big East bubble-dweller took ten points off the board. Marian could well be in the right part of these posts in a week, but she's sharing space with
Next to last place (tied) - Watt Mahoun (90/160) now. Watt has always been something of a freethinker and it showed in this bracket. While his political and doctrinal views generally play well at the Manifesto (and at the new politics and religion group blog
), his bracket left something to be desired. Mahoun lost three Sweet Sixteen entries in the form of OU, Syracuse, and Nevada. Mahoun was also the first to see an Elite Eight pick go by the wayside, as he displayed way too much Sooner Spirit (I can't help but think I'm somehow responsible). Mahoun was also disappointed by SDSU, Marquette, NC-Wilmington, and Seton Hall. Serves him right for not recognizing the Valley. Bruce Pearl will recognize the Valley on Saturday as his sweat-stained suits won't be pressed for another six months (OK, that would have happened anyway).
Last place (all alone) - J. Nelson-Seawright (80/160). Nelson-Seawright got his tomatoes roasted in fine fashion today. His faith in NC-Wilmington, Syracuse, San Diego State, Xavier (a decent pick, actually), Marquette, Oklahoma, and Seton Hall cost him big. Can JNS pull off a Latter-Day Liberation from the cellar? Or will he be doomed to failure by common consent? Only times and seasons will tell.
This took half an hour. I am a productive member of society.[Edited to fix gendered pronoun. -- Pris]