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March Madness – How to Fill Your Bracket Edition

The term madness can be defined in many ways.  When defined as a state of frenzy or chaotic activity, the word fits perfectly into the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  Sixty-four teams competing over two days, multiple games appearing simultaneously over multiple channels, and the last-second rush to make sure your bracket sheet, and entry fee, was submitted on time.

When madness is defined as extremely foolish behavior, it is referring to the many questionable choices made while filling out that bracket.  The twelve-seed taking down the five-seed, because it happens every year.  The alma mater pick, in which your college sneaks into the Final Four.  And the dark horse pick, in which you choose a random team to win it all because you know that no one else will have a bracket exactly like yours.

And finally, madness is defined as insanity.  As in, trying to create the perfect bracket when the possibilities are endless.  Trying to pick the eight-seed vs nine-seed, when it is North Carolina vs Wisconsin. Or trying to analyze teams, when you have never heard of Grand Canyon University.

Take a breath.  Grab your pencil and your empty bracket sheet.  Your sports therapist is here.

Let’s optimize your performance, exercise basic principles, and keep you from getting hurt again.

  • ROUND ONE – The Pac-12 is in for a rough tournament. Look for Oregon State, USC, and Oregon to all go out in the first round.  The Buffaloes are the

    five-seed going up against a Georgetown team that only went 13-12 during the regular season, yet Vegas has CU as just a 5.5 point favorite.  Only because it’s bad karma to pick against Colorado, the Buffs survive.  Look for St. Bonaventure (9) to upset LSU (8), and Wisconsin (9), with a squad full of seniors, to take down an inexperienced North Carolina (8) team.

  • ROUND OF 32 – Oklahoma State (4) and future number one draft pick, Cade Cunningham, is good enough to edge out Liberty in round one, but not Tennessee (5). Virginia (4) takes down a talented Creighton (5) team. And Purdue (4) is ousted by Villanova (5), but the Big Ten advances Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois to the next round.

  • SWEET SIXTEEN – Kansas (3) is a little overrated this year and falls to Iowa (2). Houston (2) struggles against a well-coached West Virginia (3). And Arkansas (3) and Moses Moody, is too much for Ohio State (2).
  • ELITE EIGHT – Illinois (1) is the only Big Ten school to survive the round as Ayo Dosunmu and company outlast West Virginia. But Iowa (2) can’t stay with Gonzaga (1), and Alabama (2) takes care of Michigan (1).  The Wolverines are tremendous with Hunter Dickinson, Franz Wagner, and Mike Smith, but their depth is questionable with an injured Isaiah Livers, and Dickinson is prone to foul trouble.
  • FINAL FOUR – Baylor (1), with their three-headed monster of Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague is a team that just can’t be stopped when they are hitting their shots and Illinois will not have an answer for them. Alabama’s season comes to an end as Gonzaga’s team is just too stacked.
  • CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – If Baylor can shoot 60% from the three-point line, they can beat anyone. But there is a reason that undefeated Gonzaga has been ranked number one all season long.  Freshman Jalen Suggs is a lottery pick, Drew Timme is super skilled at 6’10, and Corey Kispert is more than willing to take the big shot when asked to.  They have depth, they have experience, and they have coaching in the veteran Mark Few.  The Zags are winning their first championship.



It is true that a predictable Gonzaga versus Baylor matchup of two top-seeds makes winning your office pool quite difficult.  But keep in mind that since 1990, there have only been three teams to take the title seeded third or lower.

On the other hand, in a season that included Duke and Kentucky missing the Dance, Oregon State winning the Pac-12 tournament, and the unpredictability of COVID-19…

Maybe Grand Canyon has a shot.


Images via cbssports.com, denverpost.com, si.com, maizenbrew.com, dallasmorningnews.com, seattletimes.com

Alan Tapley The Athletic Supporter

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship

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