March Madness is a time that is filled with multiple layers of enjoyment/agony. First is Selection Sunday. Second is filling out the bracket. Third is watching your bracket either succeed, or what happens more often, fall apart.
There are a lot of tips out there on how to craft the perfect bracket. Don't forget to pick those No. 12 seeds, because they tend to succeed. Never go against a No. 1 seed in the first round, because that has happened yet.
You'll end up reading a lot of articles about how Yale is a hearty upset candidate, or how Gonzaga is a dangerous double-digit seed. The Internet will flood your brain with ways on how you can win, all seemingly based in logic, but none just going with what makes the NCAA Tournament so great--sheer madness.
So here is how you craft a perfect bracket. You don't overthink it and you let chance rule everything. With that, I humbly present the greatest bracket ever created.
Alright, I'll be the first to admit that this greatest bracket ever created looks more like the most insane bracket ever created. But let me explain the rules.
First, I got together my materials: a printable bracket, a pen and a coin.
Second, I created my rules, and they were quite easy.
- Heads = higher seed advancing
- Tails = higher seed advancing
- If seeds were a tie, heads goes to whichever team is first in the alphabet
Simple enough right? Now let's break it down region by region to see how this whole thing fell apart.
The most nerve-racking portion of determining how a team advances by coin flip is the dreaded No. 1 vs. No. 16 flip. Granted, that upset has happened yet. But to say it won't happen EVER, well, that is just now how Madness works. Someday, we will be able to write a line about how TEAM A is the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed. Luckily for me, Kansas didn't do such things.
Overall, this portion of the bracket is the easiest one to get behind. There weren't any overtly incorrect or preposterous upsets. A No. 11 Wichita State over a No. 6 Arizona isn't that hard to digest knowing that Wichita State is definitely better than a double-digit seed. All of that I can deal with.
Things got a bit questionable in the second-round, however. Colorado pulled off a huge upset over Kansas, and Temple decides to knock off No. 2 Villanova. The chances of all this happening according to the coin are even, but the chances of this happening in real life seem pretty slim.
However, as this region progressed, things mellowed out. Maryland goes on to beat Colorado and Miami takes down Temple, and the result is a No. 5 Maryland in the Final Four. Not necessarily how I would fill out my own personal bracket, but I can get behind this result.
The first three flips went according to plan. Oregon advances, who cares about trying to figure out the No. 8/No. 9 matchup, and Yale (a popular early chatter upset pick) does indeed knock off Baylor. But then UNC goes ahead and takes down Duke. Scratch that, UNC-Wimington goes ahead and takes down Duke. I know a lot of pundits were saying Duke was primed for upset, but I don't think they meant in the first round. Teams from Texas fall victim to both Northern Iowa and Green Bay, and suddenly this portion of the bracket is looking a bit questionable.
Luckily, Oregon advances to restore most of the order. So does Yale, because instead of facing Duke, the Ivy League school is facing UNC-Wilmington. This calm before the storm only lasts for a couple days, however. Oregon advances into the Elite Eight like a good No. 1 seed, but Northern Iowa pulls off consecutive upsets, knocking down both Oklahoma and Oregon and suddenly I have the smallest of three Iowa schools in the Final Four. Hmm...
The first flip goes to Dunk University's favor and Florida Gulf Coast makes it out of the First Four. Then FGCU decides to make it into the second round as well, knocking off No. 1 North Carolina. The Eagles are the first team to ever take down a No. 1 team and now this bracket is in sheer ruin. It only gets worse from there. Chattanooga somehow takes down a resurgent Indiana team. Tulsa, who had no business being in this dance in the first place, upsets Notre Dame and SF Austin knocks out West Virginia. Wisconsin and Xaiver try to balance the ship but the damage is done. In the second round of the East Region, four double-digit seeded teams advance.
FGCU continues its improbable run with a win over Providence, but luckily Kentucky restores a bit of balance by taking down Chatanooga. SF Austin wins the game vs. Tulsa no one cares about, and Xavier continues its strong play into the Sweet 16. Xavier eventually ends up taking down Kentucky and gives me a Final Four team that I would legitimately pencil into any bracket I fill out. Overall, Xavier cleans up the mess and things are looking halfway decent again.
This region, for the most part, played out as it should have. Virginia, Texas Tech and Iowa State all pull off wins. Purdue is upset by Little Rock, but I am ok with that because honestly, when is the last time Purdue actually made any noise in the tournament? Gonzaga wins as it is supposed to and upsets Seton Hall, with Fresno State shockingly taking down Utah as well.
Then things go a bit south. Syracuse, that other team people don't think really belong, somehow defeats Dayton and Middle Tennessee takes down the fifth No. 1 team in the tournament in Michigan State. Suddenly, things are looking a bit grim in the Midwest Region.
Virginia comes storming back like a good No. 1 seed. They knock off Texas Tech and Iowa State in to reach an Elite Eight matchup with none other than Gonzaga! Go Zags! Unfortunately, Gonzaga falls short in what no doubt is a hard fought game and the Cavaliers are into the Final Four.
When all is said and done, I have a No. 6 seed, a No. 11 seed, a No. 2 seed and a No. 1 seed. Not the best collection of numbers, but crazier things have happened. Crazier things like Northern Iowa upsetting Maryland to make it into the National Championship game. They are joined by Xavier, who is able to push past the defensive mind of Tony Bennett and Virginia.
So here it is, it all comes down to one flip. And the answer is heads. Xavier wins!