March (your brackets to the trash with great) Madness

Last week, like tens of millions of Americans, I filled out brackets for the always-unpredictable NCAA basketball tournament.

So how are things going based on the seeds?

  • Number 1 seed undefeated Wichita State: No longer undefeated. Also no longer playing.
  • Number 2 seed Kansas: Dust in the wind.
  • Number 2 seed Villanova: In Spanish, no va. (“Doesn’t go” for non-Spanish speakers.)
  • Number 3 seed Duke: Poof.
  • Number 3 seed Syracuse, about whose zone defense Sports Illustrated wrote approvingly: You can’t win if you can’t score. (Dayton 55, Syracuse 53.)
  • Number 3 seed Creighton, whose leading scorer, Doug McDermott, was the subject of a SI cover story: In Australian, crikey.

The tournament is seeded from 1 to 16. If every higher seed won every first- and second-round game, there should be no higher seeded team than a fourth seed left. Instead, one of the South Regional semifinals will feature 11th-seed Dayton (which won its two games by four points) and 10th-seed Stanford (which won its two games by eight points). Sixth-seed Baylor, seventh-seed Connecticut, eighth-seed Kentucky and 11th-seed Tennessee are all still in the tournament.

Recall that I had four brackets, three of them based on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings. The offensive efficiency bracket has one Final Four team, Michigan State.

offensive efficiency after 3

The defensive efficiency bracket has three of the Final Four remaining — Arizona, Louisville and Virginia — though the one that isn’t, VCU, will lose me points by not getting to the national final. (And for some reason that one didn’t register with, so you’ll just have to trust what I say about that bracket.)

Remarkably, all four of my Final Four teams are left in the net efficiency bracket …

net efficiency after 3

… and in my ESPN bracket — Arizona, Louisville, Virginia and Florida.

ESPN bracket after 3

Certainly picking three number-one seeds to go to the Final Four is hardly going out on a limb, but I do think Louisville was seeded too low, which makes me still think they will get to cut down the nets in “North Texas.”

The regional semifinal round will feature at least one delicious matchup: Fourth-seed Louisville (my pick to win the national championship) against eighth-seed Kentucky (whose former coach is now Louisville’s coach) in Indianapolis. (A friend who is a Cardinals fan says the biggest winner will be the Indiana State Police. A Facebook Friend says Wichita State, whose season ended at the hands of the Wildcats, will actually end up with a perfect season once the NCAA vacates all of Kentucky’s wins for yet-to-be-disclosed NCAA rules violations.)

And, of course, Wisconsin, having done two things they’re not good at — playing at a quicker pace and coming back from a big deficit — is still in it, with a West Regional matchup against Baylor Thursday. For those who like history: West number one seed Arizona was a number one seed in 2000, until they ran into … Wisconsin.

For those whose brackets have been blown up by all the upsets, keep in mind that it could be worse. Ohio State fans endured Dayton’s ending their men’s basketball season, followed two days later by Wisconsin’s ending the Buckeyes’ men’s hockey season. As with Oregon, you can’t spell Ohio State without a 0.

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