Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2005

Column: NCAA tournament losses snowball on Friday

March 24, 2005

My bracket got busted hard, very hard.

The NCAA Tournament has once again betrayed me and my picks I made one week ago. I only have one of my Final Four picks left in the Sweet 16. Yikes!

It was all going so well for most of the first round, until it snowballed into an avalanche. Here is how it all went down.

As I watched the first round games on the television and the Internet on Thursday, I was happy and cheerful. My surprise pick of Wisconsin-Milwaukee pulled off the upset and my bracket was looking great.

The rest of the games on Thursday also went my way, except for Texas and Iowa. Texas came close, but Nevada is a good team and got the win.

I picked Iowa to beat Cincinnati, because Iowa was playing good and I despise Cincinnati. But that pick also went wrong. So at the end of Thursday night, I was 14-2 and going strong.

On Friday afternoon, I continued my good luck and picked the first eight games to perfection. But then the Earth began to shake and my avalanche started.

First Wisconsin defeated Northern Iowa on Friday evening, but I thought it might happen, so I wasn't hurt by that. Then the snowball picked up speed when Syracuse fell to Vermont in a down-to-the-wire game.

After that game, my snowball was moving at a fairly quick pace, since I had Syracuse in the Final Four. It continued to pick up a little speed when Stanford was blown out by Mississippi State on Friday evening. But when the snowball, now the size of a four-door car, became an avalanche, was when Kansas lost to Bucknell late on Friday night.

As I watched the game, I never felt great about it, but I thought Kansas would pull it out like it had most of the year. Kansas even had a great shot at the end to win, but Wayne Simien's shot hit off the back of the rim.

Kansas fans all sat there and stared at the screen speechless and wondering what just happened. It was the first time Kansas had lost an opening round game since 1979. I felt bad for the four seniors who had to end their awesome career like this, losing to Bucknell in the first round.

So when I took a look at my bracket late Friday night, I had half of my Final Four eliminated and many losses. I went 26-6 in the first round, which isn't horrible, but I lost four of the last eight games. My avalanche had taken over half of the bracket, but the other half only had one loss.

Then came Saturday and Sunday, where another one-fourth of my bracket became engulfed by the avalanche when Georgia Tech got beat and Wake Forest lost. Georgia Tech was another of my Final Four picks to drop.

But as I look at my bracket, I do see a small glimmer of hope in the Chicago region. The only loss I have there is the Texas loss. I picked Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Sweet 16. This bracket also contains my last Final Four hope, Illinois.

I am torn apart now when it comes to cheering for a team in that bracket. I picked Illinois, but my bracket is awful now. So do I cheer for the Big 12 hopeful in Oklahoma State or do I pick Illinois.

I will be cheering for the Big 12 all the way now. I will let the avalanche continue to destroy my bracket, as long as North Carolina doesn't win.

Maybe this is the year for Eddie Sutton to finally win the big dance.

Let's go Cowboys.

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