Another Shockers Special or two could be around the corner. (USAT)
This year’s wild, wacky, zany and utterly mad NCAA tournament has not only lived up to the hype, it’s exceeded almost every expectation imaginable.
It’s delivered all the necessary ingredients of a ratings blockbuster – upsets, buzzer beaters, incredible comebacks, exhilerating individual performances, undeserving top seeds falling by the wayside, flying Angry Birds issued by the most polarizing figure in the game, Marshall Henderson and even the meteoric rise of RamBoy. Most unbelievably, though, is a tiny school established six years after its star player, Sherwood Brown, was born, has captivated the nation with re-DUNK-ulous jams, frenetic defense and the head coach’s pinup wife.
What a game. What a year. What a tournament.
[Bracket busted? Try again with Second Chance Tourney Pick'em!]
My favorite facts from the opening rounds:
• The average true seed in the East is 9.0 (3, 5, 12, 16), Midwest 15.25 (1, 6, 11, 43), South 16.0 (2, 10, 13, 59) and West 28.25 (8, 21, 35, 49).
• Among this year’s batch of Sweet Sixteen coaches, those in the Midwest have 23 Final Four appearances, East five, South five and West two.
• This is the fourth time in tournament history four Big Ten teams have reached the Sweet Sixteen. The Big East holds the record for most single season appearances with five back in 2009.
• At least one double-digit seed has made the Sweet Sixteen in 27 of the past 29 Dances.
• Out of roughly 3.3 million Tourney Pick 'Em entries only 233 correctly prognosticated 14 of 16 Sweet Sixteen teams, two netted 15 of 16, zero nailed all 16. Interestingly, both 15-game winners have Kansas taking the title.
Unfortunately, the unpredictable craziness quickly eliminated millions from office pool bragging rights. Many brackets, inlucing the Noise’s, has taken on the appearance of a slasher movie victim. Red strikes from region-to-region have left entries irreperably bloodied, damage that’s led hoop heads to discard their sheets in various ways – tearing, rolling, smoking, goat-feeding. Chances are the person leading the pool pack is an extremely lucky basketball newbie with a penchant for orinthology. After all, four Sweet Sixteen teams are represented by feathery mascots.
But here’s the good news: Life is full of second chances, brackets included. To ensure a better performance, here’s my guide to hardwood redemption in your Second Chance Tourney Pick 'Em game:
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