The Madness continues...
By DYLAN MALONE
What is it about March Madness that has me cheering against my favorite teams? Those who filled out a bracket, whether for the DDD contest or otherwise, know what I’m talking about.
It’s the same as fantasy football or basketball. We get so caught up in winning the side game that what actually happens affects us during the games.
When Notre Dame was playing Iowa State, I was actually rooting for the Cyclones because I had picked them to upset the Irish. I actually like the Irish! It’s a funny thing. I was one of the only people who predicted North Carolina would upset Kansas. That was a flop but at least I could actually root for my team in that one.
I have Indiana going to the Elite Eight but losing to Miami in the regional final. Does that mean I’ll be shouting at the tv for Miami to win? Maybe. Pride in winning my contest, or at the very least making a good showing, may rule the day for me.
It’s been one of the more entertaining tournaments with all of the upsets. Of course upsets have always been a part of the tournament in the past but there’s no substituting for Florida Gulf Coast knocking off Georgetown AND San Diego State. They play Florida tonight for the battle of the sunshine state and even though I have Florida topping Georgetown in my bracket, my heart can’t help but hope for Cinderella to keep winning.
I think it’s easier for me to dismiss the brackets for FGCU because NOBODY has them. Obviously if bracket busters did not predict them knocking off Georgetown, they certainly didn’t have them winning any other game beyond that. I’ll be honest, I surely didn’t see it coming. There were some I almost picked like Harvard and Ole Miss but it never crossed my mind to predict a third 15-seed in two years to win over a two (Duke and Missouri both lost last year as a two-seed).
I actually predicted a 13-seed beating a 4-seed…just not the right one. I once again put my faith in Montana to do the impossible and upend #4 Syracuse. In my defense the Orangemen were playing terrible in the Big East Tournament but now they’ve found their stroke and look to be a handful for IU.
New Mexico was the team on my radar heading into the tournament. It’s all about who makes a good run and the Lobos looked to be a pretty solid bet. Another casualty of war in a great tournament. They ran into a seasoned Harvard team who was not ready to go home yet. Lame.
For those of you keeping tabs at home, if you picked Ohio State to come out of the West regional, you’re in great shape. The 2-seed Buckeyes are the only powerhouse left with Gonzaga, Wisconsin, Kansas State, and New Mexico all making early exits. After Arizona, it’ll be only LaSalle or Wichita State to stop OSU from advancing…gulp.
Indiana is easily the most popular choice to win the tournament behind only Gonzaga. Those who had the Zags making a deep run are in trouble in the contest but a bigger majority, despite the number of national champion predictions, had the Bulldogs losing early. Personally I had Kansas State knocking them off so it’s hard for me to say anything about Zag fans. I wanted them to make a run too! Now we’ll have to hear for a whole year about how they shouldn’t have been a number one seed at all. Ugh…
I’ll be cheering for the Hoosiers against Syracuse and if they get past the Orange I will probably want to see them go further even though that would pretty much do it for my bracket. It’s been a long time since IU has been to the promised land and come out national champions. I think Tom Crean has earned that much. The head coach also gets a $250,000 bonus on his contract for winning the title as well. Now that’s incentive I could get into.
Just to compare that much money to a school who doesn’t have quite as much funding behind them, Florida Gulf Coast’s coach would get a $20,000 bonus for winning the entire tournament. Still a bonus I would be ok with!
Keep an eye on the leaderboards online as I’ll try and post the standings after each round. After the tournament I’ll have the prizes sorted out for the top ten brackets as well as the tournament’s best upset called by a bracket. Go to www.decaturdailydemocrat.com  and look under the sports headlines for the updates.
Also keep next Tuesday on your radar, Bellmont fans, as the opening day game against South Side will be webcasted on the DDD website weather pending. Go Braves!