(Update) Seriously, fuck Georgetown
My favorite two days of the year are here. I vehemently believe that the first two days of the NCAA Tournament are the best two days that the sports world has to offer. Football bores me, so January 1st and Superbowl Sunday are out. The World Series goes on forever (Seriously 2 off days between home games?). I guess the only other competition would be baseball's Opening Day. But instead of one afternoon (that's ruined because of the ESPN game that goes on the previous night) we get two days of non-stop games. Whoever came up with this concept should get a Nobel Prize. I'm not sure for what category.... maybe chemistry? (Why not)
(I award you the Nobel Prize in the field of Awesomeness)
This year, I've finally given in. With the selection committee focusing more and more on seeding and match-ups (not to mention protecting higher seeds), I've "chalked" up my brackets. My official bracket has essentially only 2 surprises in the Sweet Sixteen, and none in the Elite Eight. Outside of Washington and UTEP, I don't see any high-seeds really challenging the "chalk." Gone are the days where I will have a 14 beating a 3 with a straight face. I just can't base my bracket on upsets when there are fewer and fewer real "upsets" every year.
While many people have, correctly, pointed out that the college basketball landscape is topsy-turvey this year, I don't think that it necessarily correlates to a crazy tournament. Sure, a "Hampton" or a "Valparaiso" could happen, but even in those particular circumstances, the teams were under-rated because the tournament selection committee hadn't really seen them over the year. With the influx of viewing options, and a strict mandate to get out and watch teams play, the committee is much better at doing its job then it was ten years ago. Subsequently, teams are better seeded, and higher-seeds are better protected to survive the early rounds. In other words, if you're a #3, not only do you probably deserve that seed, but you'll be protected against strong 14's and 6's.
Obviously, you have to gamble a bit when crafting your bracket (which is where UTEP and Washington come in) but for the most part, if you aren't going with the chalk, you're doing it wrong.
Of course, by the time 9pm rolls around this evening, that whole theory will have been torn to shreds, and my brackets will have been crumpled up and trashed. So, as always, the bracket is a cruel mistress, and I have no idea what I'm doing.