I'm realizing it's been a long while since I've written a blog, so I figured what better topic to write about than March Madness.
I'd actually been counting down the days (incorrectly, I might add...oops) to Selection Sunday since the Monday following the Superbowl. Selection Sunday is kind of like Christmas morning to me for a number of reasons, not all of which even have to do with basketball. Of course I love hearing about which teams made the tournament, and why certain at large bids were chosen over others (yes I'm one of those people who think that's super interesting), but March Madness happens to coincide with Spring, my favorite season, which makes me want to start the "days til I'm home countdown." I'm desperately trying my hardest not to start that countdown, because I learned last year that if I start it too early, it can make the rest of my time here feel incredibly long, but back to March Madness... March Madness is the start of an incredible few weeks of exciting basketball games, tons of which I get to see because of the amount of free time I have over here.
This year especially I'm so excited about the men's tournament because so many teams are very evenly matched. Not one team has an untouchable player like Brittney Griner, and no teams are heading into the tournament undefeated like the women's Baylor team this year or the women's UCONN team from two (and three) years ago. I literally spent the last two days researching teams and making cases for who I think might win. Fortunately (for the excitement factor) and unfortunately (for the predictability factor) I was completely stumped about a number of first-round games and likely down-the-road match-ups. For example, Iowa vs. UCONN, Southern Miss vs. Kansas State, and then of course those 5 vs. 12 match-ups that often lead to upsets all had me forming pro-con lists in my head. I actually thought I was all set in my picks, until I found out Syracuse's big man Fab Melo is academically ineligible for the tournament and won't be helping his Orange teammates try to get a ring. That turn of events basically left me speechless and I would HATE to Melo right now, for obvious reasons - like NOT GETTING TO PLAY IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. Honestly, that sucks enough, but I also think that if the NCAA committee knew he wasn't going to be able to play going into Selection Sunday, they would have put Syracuse at the second seed, having them play against teams earlier on who I personally think they match up better with. Needless to say, I no longer think Syracuse will be cutting down nets this year, no matter how much I like that team, coach, or their program.
After all of my research, I ended up filling out four brackets: one for who I think will win based on statistics and my own very own 'formula,' an upset bracket, a bracket of who I think (with the help of all the sports center talk I've listened to over the past week) will win games, and then a bracket based on a combo of who I want to win and which teams have what I think it takes to win games in the post-season (consistency, good coaches, and veteran players to name a few).
Even with all my research, formula making, and insight as a player for who I think makes a good tournament team, I'm not even slightly convinced I have even one truly successful bracket made. Every single game this month will be unpredictable and fun to watch. That is why I love March Madness.