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Bloggernacle Bracket Showdown - Day One Results and Punditry

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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]

27 Responses to “Bloggernacle Bracket Showdown - Day One Results and Punditry”

  1. Anonymous Eric Russell 

    Two 5's go down again. Amazing. I always say the legendary 5-12 upset is overrated, but maybe not.

    The saddest loss was San Diego State. They had a five point lead going into the last two minutes and ended up going down over a stupid mistake at the end. It was a bad day for the MWC and the WAC.

  2. Anonymous D-Train 

    No joke, man. That was painful, especially with the non-over and back brain fart. Horrible way to lose, especially to an overrated six seed.

    I think the only reason the 5-12 is so hyped is because the seed difference sounds huge. I've always thought that there are three basic groups of teams in the tourney: the elite, the good-but-flawed, and the "here for the beer" teams. This year: the only elites are Duke, UConn, 'Nova, and maybe Memphis and Texas. The elites don't get pushed by Winthrop, but they might lose to, say, LSU or Washington. There aren't that many teams that just stink either: most teams in the Dance know how to win. For the most part, those 5-12 games are games between two flawed teams, one of which has one more good player and a few more inches in the post. If the 12 gets hot from three or feels a little better or gets an ambivalent crowd on their side, it's trouble.

    Really, the only upset is when a four, five, or six seed really plays well. Those teams are good, but they're not the elite and that usually becomes clear.

    But two notes:

    1) It's still SO much fun to see that twelve or thirteen win big in the first round.

    2) When the elite don't play well.....that's when the real upsets happen.

  3. Anonymous D-Train 

    I've been thinking about this for two weeks now: Oral Roberts could really beat Memphis. Two percent chance. But I'm not going to miss it.

    Like I'd miss any of these games anyway ;)

  4. Anonymous Eric 

    Brilliant analysis. You may consider quitting your day job. Or perhaps you already have.

  5. Anonymous Eric 

    Did my previous comment not take?

    Anyway, brilliant analysis D-Train. You might want to consider quitting your day job. But perhaps you already have.

  6. Anonymous Pris 

    Heh. I'm taking a half day today, catching the Wisconsin-Arizona 11:30 (central) game.

    And I thought 'Cuse was good for one more game. And SDSU--man am I disappointed in that. I wouldn't characterize the phantom backcourt violation a brain-fart -- it looked like IU didn't touch the ball (but I didn't see the replays). And, for what it's worth, the IU player (I forget who it is) said after the game that he didn't touch it.

    I'd like to think that I'm still in a pretty good position. Even though I missed four (I think?) picks, I didn't have any of them getting past round two. First half LSU-Iona scared me a lot, though. Now, let's just hope Ohio St. and West Virginia make really good showings today.

  7. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    Excellent, D-Train.

    Yes, it was Black Thursday for me. I'm too much a sucker for the scrappy underdog to do well at the b[racket]. I do feel in good company...rock on, RT! Up the giant slayers!

  8. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    PS. Thanks for the promo and for your comments over on Purim!

  9. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    All hail the Demons! I didn't pick 'em but they did the dirty deed.

  10. Anonymous D-Train 

    No problem, Watt. Good stuff deserves a good word.

    I am getting fustigated today.

  11. Anonymous D-Train 

    Always good to see a three eat it. That shot was flat-out unbelievable.

  12. Anonymous Katie 

    I know this took you a long time, but I want to say that I really enjoyed the analysis. It is so great to have you break it down. So keep up the good work and the Long John Silvers munching.

    I am sadly in the middle of the pack so I didn't get a shout out. Perhaps I can make a miraculous comeback, although I am not counting on it. I picked ORU (hometown heroes make good!) but they sadly did not come through as my crazy upset. I really thought God's Holy Spirit would be moving through them. Maybe Oral should lock himself in the prayer tower and refuse to come out until they get a rematch.

    At this point I am really rooting for Brett. But his picks of Memphis in the final four and BC in the final two give me indigestion.

    Back to the madness.

  13. Anonymous D-Train 

    My place in the top three will be lost after today, so there'll be some love for someone else. I'll probably mock my own picks, just for the amusement of others.

    I thought there was a two percent chance on that ORU win and they looked alright, but it turned out that 'Nova was the most threatened of the one seeds after all. Except for UConn, only up by one at the half.....go Great Danes!

  14. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    That's okay...UConn is pulling away now. Cat toys with mouse?

  15. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    NCS/Cal is a nail-biter!! Add the Spartans...that just bites.

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