The entirety of the United States of America is about to descend into a peculiar psychopathy known as “March Madness”, surrounding the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
This, I need to say up front: I hate basketball. I think the game is inane at any level. I just don’t find any enjoyment in watching, as I call it, “Bounce-bounce-bounce-SCORE! Other direction. Bounce-bounce-bounce-SCORE! Wash, rinse, repeat.”
Now, I know that mine is an unpopular opinion, and that most of my fellow Americans are preparing to be productiveless this Thursday and Friday as the drama of “Will underdog liberal arts school beat sports-factory mega-university?” unfolds.
Everybody’s been scrambling to fill out their tournament brackets, and enter pools, neither of which I’ve ever done for this sporting event. I’m not entering any pools, but I did fill out a bracket – and here’s how & why I made my picks.
So last night (March 18th) I was co-hosting the Vigilant Liberty Radio Roundtable of Extreme Liberty (replay permalink) and one of our guests for our discussion about the Ukraine/Russia/Crimea crisis was my friend Mary Chastain of Breitbart News. Mary and I are both lovers and students of history, and we had a post-show conversation that revolved around history and the lack of appreciation for and curiosity about it that permeates our culture and society.
I hear you already, “What’s that got to do with the NCAA tournament?”
Well, this morning on Twitter, I saw a social media acquaintance of mine, Steph (@stephandstuff, BTW a great follow!), bragging about her NCAA bracketology skills. Both she and another good Twitter friend of mine, Krystle (@TarheelKrystle), will probably get on my case as I relentlessly mock basketball while the tournament is on.
I also remembered my mother once telling me that there was a teacher at the high school where she used to work who’d enter the weekly college football pool amongst the faculty and staff based on the relative quality of the schools’ history departments.
So, based upon the U.S. News and World Report rankings of graduate history programs, here is my first-ever set of NCAA tournament picks. The schools’ history rankings are in parentheses.
Thus far, this approach is 100% accurate as in one of the “First Four” play-in games, Albany (104) defeated unranked Mount St. Mary’s. One of tonight’s play-in games features two history-ranked opponents: Iowa (42) vs. Tennessee (84). Iowa is my pick to advance to the round of 64.
Bracketologists should find it child’s play to fill this in on a blank sheet. Here goes:
Round of 64 Predicted Winners
- South: Florida (46), Pittsburgh (36), UCLA (9), Ohio State (24), Syracuse (74), Stanford (4), Kansas (50). Unranked “pick-em”: VCU vs. Stephen F. Austin
- East: Virginia (20), George Washington (60), Harvard (4), Michigan State (56), North Carolina (11), Iowa State (110), Connecticut (60). Pick-em: Villanova vs. Milwaukee
- West: Arizona (46), Oklahoma State (125), Oklahoma (64), Nebraska (74), Oregon (56), Wisconsin (14). Pick-ems: San Diego State vs. New Mexico State & Creighton vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
- Midwest: Kentucky (80), Saint Louis (84), Iowa (42), Duke (14), Texas (17), Michigan (7). Pick-ems: Wichita State vs. Cal Poly/Texas Southern winner & Louisville vs. Manhattan.
Round of 32 Matchups & Winners
- Pittsburgh (36) defeats Florida (46)
- UCLA (9) defeats Pick-em
- Ohio State (24) defeats Syracuse (74)
- Stanford (4) defeats Kansas (50)
- Virginia (20) defeats George Washington (60)
- Harvard (4) defeats Michigan State (56)
- North Carolina (11) defeats Iowa State (110)
- Connecticut (60) defeats Pick-em
- Arizona (46) defeats Oklahoma State (125)
- Oklahoma (64) defeats Pick-em
- Nebraska (74) defeats Pick-em
- Wisconsin (14) defeats Oregon (56)
- Kentucky (80) defeats Pick-em
- Saint Louis (84) defeats Pick-em
- Duke (14) defeats Iowa (42)
- Michigan (7) defeats Texas (17)
- UCLA (9) defeats Pittsburgh (36)
- Stanford (4) defeats Ohio State (24)
- Harvard (4) defeats Virginia (20)
- North Carolina (11) defeats Connecticut (60)
- Arizona (46) defeats Oklahoma (64)
- Wisconsin (14) defeats Nebraska (74)
- Kentucky (80) defeats Saint Louis (84)
- Michigan (7) defeats Duke (14)
- Stanford (4) defeats UCLA (9)
- Harvard (4) defeats North Carolina (11)
- Wisconsin (14) defeats Arizona (46)
- Michigan (7) defeats Kentucky (80)
- Stanford (4) vs. Harvard (4) – PICK-EM
- Michigan (7) defeats Wisconsin (14)
Stanford/Harvard winner (4) defeats Michigan (7)
I’m not wagering any money based on this, and I sure as heck don’t encourage anybody to either, but it will be interesting to see how I do versus actual basketball fans.
Hopefully I get some props from Krystle for putting her North Carolina Tar Heels “historically” through to the quarter finals. Oh, and Steph? Tell Louisville to improve their history department if they want to get past the second round on my bracket next year!