For what it’s worth…. and the answer is… “nothing.”
Broad strokes explanations here…
1. I am “all-in” with Wichita State, despite the doubters and the weak schedule. Since so many people (including Vegas sharps) are fading them (15-1 as a #1 seed??) I think if this bold faith in Gregg Marshall’s boys comes home, I’m in a strong position to win my pool.
2. There’s little point second guessing Florida, which has lots of seniors, size, and a wicked long win streak. I worry a bit about the putridity of the SEC, but given that flawed and injured Kansas is the Gator’s 2-seed opposite, it seems like a safe play.
3. I like Virginia and I will pull for Virginia, but I’m not feeling Virginia. The pundits sold me on Iowa St. and Fred Hoiberg (“The Mayor of Ames” – best nickname, evah!) as being able to “beat anybody in the country.” This will make or break my bracket.
4. I have huge respect for L’Ville and Michigan State, but everyone and their mom is on those teams, so why bother trying to hang on to that overstuffed bandwagon like the rest of the world? A simple contrarian play, that will likely come back to haunt me.
5. Arizona is ridiculously good, in a sneakily strong conference, and suffers from the usual “East Coast Bias” of “I’ve never seen them…” so I think that’s an easy chalk play. My sentimental favorite is of course Dougie McBuckets and Creighton in that bracket, but I’m not going to make a play on my heartstrings. Also, Wisconsin to the Final Four would be very cool, and I’d be happy for all of my ‘Sconnie friends. That said, I smell extreme disappointment once again, that has the distinct whiff of cheese.
6. Of the “bracket of death” (or if you like in dramatic Spanish: “El Soporte de la muerte!”) I think Kentucky and Duke are mostly non-factors so L’Ville and Michigan are the biggest threats to Wichita State. And besides, doesn’t every team have to face at least two tough opponents en route to the Final Four ? I think this Bracket of Death thing is a bit overcooked. Just because there are alot of good teams in it, Wichita State won’t have to go through all of them.
And finally, if you want to see my little bit of bracket diligence, I transcribed the poorly formatted and hard to read USA Today “capsules” on each team, into a boiled down chart by region.
It may be useful. Maybe not.
Next year: the triumphant return of Gargantubracket, even if I have to do it myself!