Bittersweet Sixteen: Part 1

I’m still bitter over UW’s loss to UNC last weekend, but I’ll get into that more in Part 2. As we enter the Sweet Sixteen, I have learned a valuable lesson. One that I should have learned last year. You need to watch college basketball to successfully fill out your bracket. That or you need to be Obama. However, my bracket isn’t completely busted, but it’s still looking pretty bad. I’m currently ranked 3,693,342nd on ESPN.com, but out of the 16 teams playing this weekend, I had nine of them reaching this point: Ohio St., Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, UConn, SDSU, Kansas, Richmond, and BYU. Three of my Final Four teams are still alive: Kansas, Ohio St., and Duke and my National Champion (Kansas) still has a chance. Now that I take a look at it, I’m pretty impressed. Maybe you don’t need to watch college basketball! Since I almost qualify as an expert now, let’s take a look at the remaining games. I’ve decided to split this up into two posts. Friday’s games will be up tomorrow.

1 Duke vs. 5 Arizona – I’m going with Duke in this one. I typically root for the underdog but Arizona has a few factors working against them. It’s not because I think Duke is a better team (they are) but because I have recently developed a lifelong hatred for their rivals (see: Tar Heels, North Carolina). Duke is also one of my three remaining Final Four teams so I’m obligated to root for them to get that far. Arizona’s Derrick Williams is exciting but, as you may or may not know, Arizona is Keenan’s favorite college team. Now that my team (UW) has been eliminated, I can’t stand seeing his team advance to another round.

Keenan is doing all he can to get the Wildcats to the Final Four.

2 San Diego State vs. 3 Connecticut – The Sunday before the NCAA Tournament started, ESPN aired their Fab Five documentary. That’s when I learned that Steve Fisher, who is now the coach of San Diego State, coached that Michigan team. After watching Webber choke away the National Championship against UNC in 1993, I felt bad for everyone involved. Since Fisher is the only one still competing (Juwan Howard’s corpse on the Heat doesn’t count as competing), I hope he gets that championship he was so close to getting.

8 Butler vs. 4 Wisconsin – I had Butler losing to ODU and Wisconsin losing to Belmont in the first round (okay NCAA, you win) second round. I don’t even know where Old Dominion and Belmont are. One thing I have learned though, is to not to pick against Butler. Their coach, Brad Stevens reminds me of what I thought the Denver Broncos were getting with Josh McDaniels. While McDaniels failed in Denver, Stevens has succeeded with Butler. Stevens took over the Butler coaching job in 2007 and has lead Butler to a 114-24 record, including an appearance in the National Championship last year. Even without Gordon Hayward, Butler knocked off top-seeded Pittsburgh last weekend. So why did I have Butler not winning a game in the tournament? Oh yeah, because I didn’t watch any college basketball this year. I’m picking Butler here.

Who will have a more successful career, Gordon Hayward or Brad Stevens?

2 Florida vs. 3 BYU – Jimmer. He just doesn’t disappoint. He’s the Tim Tebow of basketball. A part of me wants to hate him but he just seems like a good guy who is insanely talented. If I hated Jimmer, I would be hating 3-point shots and exciting basketball games. I want to see him land in Phoenix where he can play with Steve Nash and then take over as the starting PG when Nash finally retires at age 40. I still don’t see him falling past Utah’s pick though. Anyway, I think BYU wins just because I want more Jimmer.

Gettin' his Jimmer on.

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