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Wilcox: March Madness lives up to its name

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This weekend marks the last part of the 2013-14 college basketball season, as Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky will battle it out in the Final Four for the chance to play for the national championship Monday night.

It has been a fun, wild and dramatic season, and March Madness has certainly lived up to its name. Kentucky, the little eight-seed that could, has stormed its way into the Final Four after knocking off undefeated Wichita State, fierce rival and defending national champs Louisville and national runner-up Michigan in three successive incredible games.

Perhaps even more surprising was seventh-seeded Connecticut’s run to the Final Four. After trailing by double digits late in the opening round game against St. Joseph’s and only eeking out a win in overtime, the Huskies then knocked off two-seed Villanova, three-seed Iowa State and four-seed (and nearly every expert’s and President Obama’s national champ pick) Michigan State.

UConn’s reward for its exhaustive efforts making it through arguably the toughest region of the tournament? A Final Four matchup with overall number-one seed Florida, winner of 30 straight and the only top seed to advance all the way through to Dallas.

Sounds like the Huskies definitely need this week-long break between games. This college basketball hiatus is good for the fans too, as it gives us all a chance to see how our brackets are doing.

Touchy subject? Sore spot? Low blow? Don’t worry, your bracket couldn’t be worse than mine. My younger brother reminds me daily how he is in first in his pool (because how could I NOT have seen Kentucky going all the way), and I am even losing to my non-sports-inclined girlfriend (how a girl who has never watched a game of basketball knew Dayton would reach the Elite Eight is beyond me).

Besides, cheer up, it’s not like you publicly proclaimed your picks to be a surefire way to a billion dollars like this crow-eating sports writer did.

With that in mind, let’s recap how I did.

First, in light of recent upsets like Lehigh over Duke or Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown, I predicted a 15-seed would once again topple a mighty basketball program ranked second. Milwaukee over Villanova or Eastern Kentucky over Kansas seemed promising, but both higher-seeded teams emerged victorious, although Villanova did lose in the next round, so I was close. Kind of.

Not only did all two seeds win their opening games, one of them – Wisconsin – even made it to the Final Four.

Next, I said this would finally be the year a 16-seed takes down a one-seed. For a brief moment it appeared that might happen, as Coastal Carolina played Virginia close up until Virginia pulled away at the end. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I had to go all the way and say Albany would pull off the upset of all upsets, and knock off the overall one-seed, the Florida Gators. Not only did Florida win by double digits, it then beat everyone in its path on the way to becoming the only top seed to make this year’s Final Four.

Finally, I told you not to listen to the experts. And I was right! Nearly every college basketball “expert” predicted Michigan State would be cutting down the nets. Even the President went with the Spartans, and they were all wrong. Nate Silver, famed political blogger and numbers guru, decided after careful statistical analysis that Louisville was most likely to have its one shining moment, and the man who has successfully predicted every presidential election in our lifetime was wrong. So I was right, don’t listen to the experts.

If only my pick was any better.

I went with the underdogs, the small school whose best player is a 22-year-old white guy with a cute nickname. Yes, I went with Dougie McBuckets and Creighton, who unceremoniously bowed out in the second round after being embarrassed by Baylor.

Once again it was another humbling March Madness. Warren Buffet won’t be writing me a check anytime soon, my brother will undoubtedly snapchat me a picture of him rolling in his winnings and my girlfriend was right, again.

Can’t wait till next March!

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