Specifically, my bracket ended when the Duke University Blue Devils dropped the Baylor University Bears 78-71 on Sunday night.
I had picked Baylor to move on to the National Semifinal, and having already lost my other Final Four picks - Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse – to upsets big and small, I was officially shut out.
Miraculously, I finished in a three-way tie for first place.
That’s right, this year’s edition of March Madness has had so many twists and turns that all six of my fellow poolies have been eliminated with three games still remaining in the tournament. Everyone picked Kansas to win, and most had the Jayhawks beating Kentucky in the Final.
As I’ve said in previous posts, my bracket strategy relies heavily on going with the favourites. I don’t know nearly enough about NCAA basketball to offer any kind of dissenting opinion to the experts or competition committee, so I just go with the flow.
Of course, this leaves me wide open for upsets wrecking my chances of victory. In that department, the 2010 tourney has been exceptional.
In fact, 18 of the 60 games so far have seen the lower seed prevail. By comparison, there were a total of 16 upsets in the entire 2009 tournament, including Michigan State (#2) overcoming Connecticut (#1) in the National Semifinal. The year before that, 2008, saw just 13 upsets.
Most surprising is that the only top seed left in the entire tournament is Duke, the team that all the experts had picked for an early exit.
In any event, this has been an incredible tournament, even if my stake in its outcome has been settled well before the whole thing is over.
Just five days in to the NCAA’s annual Division I men’s basketball tournament and already Kansas - my pick to win the whole thing - is eliminated.
It’s not just me who has been rocked by the Jayhawks early departure – literally every single person in my pool had them as the champions. They were the prohibitive favourite for just about everyone I know.
Northern Iowa has become Death, the destroyer of brackets.
I’ve never seen a basketball game alter the mood in the city of Toronto, let alone an amateur match, but there was definitely a buzz in the air in the hour after Northern Iowa’s 69-67 upset of Kansas. Passing people on my way to work I could overhear talk about ruined brackets and disappointing efforts.
Most poolies are now relying on their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight picks to see them through. It’s a very different reality that’s now in place. After all, most people build their brackets around a particular team who will sweep through to the finals. Without that cornerstone, the whole thing falls apart.
Fortunately for me, I’m in good shape.
I’ve made 29 of 48 picks, and have a possible 102 points still available. That showing puts me in the 55th percentile of all Yahoo! Fantasy Sports users. My bracket is literally not half bad, but it’s not much better.
Thank God there is some time off before the Sweet 16 gets underway. I know that it’s for the teams to try and rest and re-group, but at this point I think that the fans need it just as much.
I know that I am a neophyte NCAA basketball fan, but this is the most exciting March Madness tournament I’ve followed to date.
It started with the major upsets in the first few rounds, followed by the elimination of perennial mid-major powerhouse Villanova and then finally the shocking departure of the Jayhawks, the consensus pick to win the whole damn thing.
In any event, thank God for that break. Now we’ve got a chance to try and figure out what’s going on, and who’s going to win the championship. The Syracuse Orange? Duke? Northern Iowa?
I really don’t know.
What I do know, is that I can’t wait for the Madness to start up again. I’ll be watching every minute of it.