March Madness: it’s the magical season when we all realize we are master sports analysts, declare to the world our infallible tournament predictions, . . . and then proceed to scream at the TV for three weeks straight. Like many of you, I crafted an amazing bracket. Although no one has ever come close to making a perfect bracket, it has to happen sometime, right? I knew this year would be the one, and the first perfect bracket would – of course – be mine. That was until Michigan upset Colorado State during the first game on the first day of the first round. So to all my fellow amateur analysts out there, I share with you my Top Five largest regrets in my March Madness Bracket. If you managed to avoid these errors, congratulations, and if not, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone.
5. Overestimating Auburn
I thought taking Auburn to the Elite Eight would be a good idea given the season they had. It seems they may have peaked a little too early. After an 18 point loss to Miami on Sunday, I wish I had knocked the Tigers out of my bracket a little sooner.
4. Taking South Dakota State to My Sweet Sixteen
I know. I should have known better than selecting a 13 seed to advance that far. Miracle runs for bottom-ranked teams are possible (look at St. Peter’s for example), but predicting exactly when and where they will occur requires greater precision than my strategy of semi-informed guessing can provide. The worst part is that I doubt the Jackrabbits’ defeat will do anything to stop me from making this same mistake next year.
3. Underestimating Houston and Purdue
I definitely missed the mark on these two. I had UAB knocking out Houston in the first round and Texas knocking out Purdue in the second. After watching the tournament unfold, I think both of these teams have a lot of fight left in them and a solid chance of advancing further. Houston is coming off a commanding win against Illinois and faces an Arizona team that struggled to fend off TCU. Purdue is in even better shape as they are now the top seed in the East and face 15 seed St. Peters in the Sweet Sixteen.
2. Taking Loyola to My Elite Eight
Can you blame me for this one? It’s usually fairly safe to assume that Loyola will make a run in the tournament. Even though it wasn’t technically an upset, I was shocked when Loyola got knocked out during the first round (and by a double digit loss nonetheless). Even with my (misplaced) confidence in this team, Elite Eight still seems like it may have been a bit too far.
1. Taking Kentucky to the Championship Game
We all knew this one would be here. St. Peter’s upset against Kentucky busted far more brackets than just mine, but that loss on the first day still hurts. The worst part is, when I picked my bracket, I actually considered the fact that St. Peter’s might upset Kentucky, but then said to myself “That’s ridiculous. Kentucky will be fine.” To be clear, I’m not mad I picked Kentucky to win that game (those upsets are too rare to try to predict); I’m disappointed that in spite of my concerns, I still took Kentucky to be the runner up of the whole tournament.