March Madness: South Region

It is time to fill out your brackets! Time for one of the few activities that brings co-workers together other than free food; the work place bracket (or join The OTN group on ESPN!).  And time for the eyes of America to be drawn away from the insane presidential election to NCAA Men’s Basketball.

There are very few rules when filling out a bracket. Some pick for colors, some pick mascots, others don’t know what those little numbers next to the team names mean (this happened at my work), and some know too much (not me). The perfect bracket has yet to happen. Which is why Warren Buffet was able, with plenty of confidence, to offer $1 billion to anyone that got a perfect bracket (this deal is no longer current). There are still great groups to join though, *cough* *cough* ESPN tournament challenge – The Overtime Network group. Shameless plugs are done. Like I was saying; few rules – one of them though is that nearly every time a 12 seed will upset a 5 seed. The number 1 seed has never lost to a 16 seed. Good coaching goes far in the tournament, see Bill Self – Kansas, Roy Williams – UNC, Coach K – Duke, Tom Izzo – Michigan State and you may hear about Jim Larranaga – Miami and Shaka Smart – Texas quite a bit this year.

This article though is about the South Region which has the number one overall seed, the Kansas Jayhawks. Rock – Chalk – Jayhawk.

Kansas is a complete team. Their defense is great, their offense is versatile, and their starting lineup has a mix of upper classmen and freshman which seems rare these days with a program as elite as Kansas. Oh and they haven’t lost since January and they won the Big 12 regular season and the Big 12 tournament. They’re good. The two seed is the Villanova Wildcats coming out of the Big East and some will argue that is almost a snub because just two days ago they were projected as a #1 seed and are now in the bracket with the #1 overall. Let’s get to pickin’!

To make it interesting in my bracket I have two (well technically three) upsets. I have the winner of the Vandy/Wichita St. play-in game beating Arizona (#11 beat #6) and Temple beating Iowa (#10 beat #7). I told myself before the brackets came out that I was picking against Iowa – they are in a tailspin. And who am I to right the ship? I also have UConn winning against Colorado which is a #9 beating a #8 so not a big deal. I have to have UConn winning after that 4OT thriller in the Big East tournament. If you haven’t seen the highlights yet do yourself a favor, go watch them.

Some chalk picks are #1 Kansas over #16 Austin Peay, #5 Maryland over #12 South Dakota St (if you are picking for names I suggest the South Dakota St Jackrabbits), #4 California over #13 Hawaii, #3 Miami over #14 Buffalo, and #2 Villanova over #15 UNC Asheville.

My bracket leads to an Elite 8 match-up of #1 Kansas playing #3 Miami. I picked Miami partially because Jim Larranaga used to coach my alma mater, George Mason, and got them to the final four and because the ACC was very deep and strong this year. I also don’t think it is Villanova’s year and they have burned me in the recent past (I hold grudges against teams).

I have Kansas going through to the Final Four out of the South. Not exciting but the road Kansas has is much easier in my eyes than the other #1 seeds. For those who are a little lost by those descriptions see below for a screenshot of my bracket.

courtesy of ESPN Tournament Challenge
courtesy of ESPN Tournament Challenge

A word of warning – these picks were made quickly because it never helps me to think too much. Or too little. Nothing seems to help me with March Madness. But there is a reason why “madness” is in the title. I cannot wait to shake my head at these picks.

Now go create your brackets! It’s free!