I don’t know about the rest of you, but my NCAA Tournament bracket is splattered with red, the color of ink I use to mark out incorrect selections.
If my bracket was being graded, I guess I’d get a 25, because I managed to pick one of the teams in the Final Four.
Thank you, University of Florida Gators.
The Gators, the only No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, joined No. 7 seed University of Connecticut, No. 2 seed Wisconsin and No. 8 seed Kentucky for the chance to be college basketball champions for 2013.
I’ve written previously that I picked the Wichita State Shockers — a Final Four team in 2012 — to shock the world and finish the season undefeated at 40-0 and cut down the nets in Arlington.
Unfortunately, the Shockers got shocked in the second round when they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats.
My other Final Four picks were Michigan State, who lost in the Elite 8 to UConn, and San Diego State, who was my pick to be the “Cinderella” team of this year’s tourney.
San Diego State is coached by Steve Fisher, who rose to fame when, as an interim head coach of the Michigan Wolverines in 1989, he led his team to the championship. After cutting down the nets, he was named permanent coach of the Wolverines and recruited the Fab Five — Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.
I thought Fisher and his San Diego State team, seeded fourth, had a chance to make some noise.
I can’t really complain about that pick since the Aztecs won twice before losing a six-point game in the West Regional to No. 1 seed Arizona.
Arizona ended up losing one of the best games of the tournament, a 1-point overtime loss to Wisconsin.
I am kicking myself for not picking UConn, a program that has a strong tournament résumé, having won titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.
In fact, not only did I not pick the Huskies to reach the Final Four, I somehow thought they would get upset in the first round to No. 10 seed Saint Joseph’s. While the game did go to overtime, UConn won, 89-81.
One good thing about having a busted bracket is you can watch the games purely for the enjoyment of the competition and not really worry about which team wins.
For example, I found myself unable to decide who I wanted to win between Michigana and Kentucky in the Midwest region final, but thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth between the two teams and was on the edge of my seat in the final seconds of the 75-72 game.
It’s interesting to note three of the four schools that made the Final Four this year are all from major conferences: Wisconsin from the Big 10 and Florida and Kentucky from the SEC.
UConn, for years a member of the Big East conference that produced such college basketball powerhouses as Syracuse and Georgetown, began competing this year in the newly-formed American Athletic Conference.
Despite the status of my bracket, the tournament has offered everything a college basketball fan would want — upsets, buzzer beaters and exciting action on the court.