Well if there is no billion dollar prize for a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket this year, then I might as well not fill one out. Remember last year there was a billion on the line if you were perfect. Nobody was! It is so tough to pick this thing through to completion. Like last year who had the 7th seeded UCONN Huskies winning it? Who had them playing the 8th seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the final? Still, the truth is it is still fun to fill out a bracket. I typically do two, one is the teams that I think will win each game based on what I have seen and read. On the other bracket I simply pick the higher seed all the way through.
I have never won an office pool picking either way, but here is my logic on picking only the higher seeds. We know that there are going to be upsets, every year it seems a 12 seed beats a 5 but there are four 12/5 match-ups. Let’s say you pick Wofford in the West but it is actually Stephen F Austin that upsets Utah in the South. Well now you have two losses. If you pick Wyoming to beat Northern Iowa and Buffalo beats West Virginia same thing you have two losses. I will pick the 5 seed in each of those contests and even if an upset happens I will be saddled with only one loss.
Picking only the higher seed actually becomes more difficult as the tournament progresses. By just picking the higher seeds I have Butler a #6 playing Notre Dame a 3 seed in round two. Logic tells me that Butler has been there before and Notre Dame is a football school, but I must remain true to the plan. Also, I just have a sneaking suspicion that Arizona will beat Wisconsin out West in LA. I know the chances of both even making the West final are not great and that Wisconsin has been there before they made the final four as a 2 seed last year, but it doesn’t matter I must go with the higher seed. It makes filling out the bracket easy.
Thankfully, I am not betting the house on these brackets because I would be homeless. Last year there was a 1, a 2, a 7 and an 8 in the final four. When the #1-Florida and the #2-Wisconsin were eliminated in the semi-finals the result was the first final game ever that did not have a 1, 2 or 3 seed in it. If you added the two seeds together it was the highest number ever (17). The previous high was when #3 UCONN played #8 Butler in 2011.
In so many ways that is what makes this tournament so great. For an 8 seed to make it to the finals, it must take down the #1 seed in the second round. A 7 has the #2, the #3 and the #6 in it’s half of the draw. Upsets are so exciting, I just don’t know how to pick them. So I will be rooting for the higher seeds but still somehow enjoying the upsets.