Just a heads up – I am moving up next week’s post to today for my March Madness predictions, so there likely will not be a post from me next week.
Below is my tentative (but probably final) bracket for March Madness 2014:
This is a very tough year to pick the bracket, with no amazing teams but a ton of great and good ones. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the top ~16 teams, or the next ~20 teams, but the drop-off from the 8-9 seeds and the last few teams to make it in is as big as it’s ever been, in my opinion. More than a few times my reaction to a pick was “Ehhhh…I’ll go with them…but I don’t like it.”
For that reason, if any year is going to be the one where someone gets all 63 picks right, it’s this one. Every year there are at least a few apparent “sure things” that go the other way and mess up everyone’s bracket, but with so few of those matchups this year, chances are relatively high (but still mind-bogglingly low) that someone gets them all right.
I tend to play it fairly safe with my brackets so there aren’t a whole ton of upsets. I did pick a few major (i.e. >1 seed difference or past the Sweet 16) upsets though:
- Ohio St. over Syracuse in Round 2: I don’t like either of these teams to make it past the Sweet 16, but someone’s gotta win this one and I feel slightly better about OSU.
- Baylor over Creighton in Round 2: I’m not completely sold in Creighton; Doug McDermott is fantastic, but the rest of the team is decent at best.
- MSU over Virginia in the Sweet 16: MSU is getting hot at the right time this year. I like Virginia a lot, but MSU played too well in the Big Ten tournament to overlook.
- Iowa St. over Villanova in the Sweet 16: I may have fallen for the Cinderella pick a bit here, but I felt compelled to pick Iowa St. to knock off Nova.
- Louisville over Wichita St in the Sweet 16: Louisville definitely deserved higher than a 4 seed, and they’re going to prove it against a great but overmatched Wichita St. team.
- Duke over Michigan in the Sweet 16: I don’t particularly like Duke, but they probably deserved a 2-seed, and I can see them outplaying a somewhat inconsistent Michigan team.
- Michigan St. over Iowa St. in the Elite 8: Again, much as I like the way Iowa St. has played this year, MSU looked as focused and driven as ever in the Big Ten tourney.
- Louisville over Duke in the Elite 8: Louisville’s on two missions – to prove they deserved better than a 4-seed and to try and repeat as champs. I think they’ll make it back to the Final Four at least, but no further.
Florida and Arizona were probably the two best teams in the country this year, and so I have them through to the final with Florida winning, but I really have no idea how things are going to turn out this year. Plenty of possible upsets and great games from Day 1 through the final…I can’t wait.