We here at the Sports Desk mostly post about football - usually college football and, less frequently, the pros, and usually the New England Patriots at that. We don't talk about college basketball very often, if at all, around here but March Madness had descended upon us and we're actually doing pretty well so far with our bracket selections.
More specifically, we went 24-and-8 in the first round of 32 games. We were perfect in the West Division, but then again, we picked very conservatively, if unimaginatively, in the West - No. 1 over No. 16, No. 2 over No. 15, etc., all the way down to 7 over 10, and the West generally behaved appropriately with no upsets up to that point. However, we did correctly pick the one, very minor upset in the West - No. 9 Florida State over No. 8 Missouri, but that was just luck on our part.
Every year, or so it's said, there's always one No. 5 vs. No. 12 upset, and we had picked No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 West Virginia as this year's upset. But that didn't work out for us - there were in fact no 12-over-5 upsets this year and we lost that game in the East Division, as well as No. 4 Wichita State's loss to No. 13 Marshall. Further, we had picked Wichita State to beat Murray State and make it into the Sweet 16, so now we don't have a contender in that game at all, putting us one down when it comes to the Sweet 16.
But still, that's not too bad - of the 16 games in the East and West Divisions, we only lost two, and only one of eight potential Sweet 16 winners so far. We were lucky that our two losses in the East were scheduled to play each other next, resulting in only one potential loss in the Sweet 16, not two.
In the Midwest Division, we went 5-and-3, but we didn't have the three picks that lost - NC State, TCU, and Oklahoma - winning their next games and entering the Sweet 16, so the damage was limited and out of the 24 total games in the East, West, and Midwest Divisions, we only lost one Sweet 16 spot so far.
Then we get to the South, where literally one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history just occurred. No. 1 ranked and No. 1 seeded Virginia (31-2) lost yesterday to No. 16 seed U. Maryland - Baltimore County (wherever that is), the first time in NCAA history that a No. 1 seed lost to a No. 16 seed. Like most of America, except possibly for some (but not all) on the UMBC moms, we had picked Virginia. According to CBS Sports, something like 26.6 percent of all bracket picks predicted Virginia to win it all - every game up to and including the National Championship. There's a lot of people who's brackets just imploded with Virginia's loss.
We didn't fare quite so badly. We did have Virginia winning their opening game (duh, No. 1 seeds have historically gone 135-0 against No. 16 seeds), as well as making it to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, but we boldly picked Cincinnati to beat them and take the East Division's Final 4 spot, so the Virginia upset only cost us two future games, not 3 or 4 future games like a large number of people.
Somewhat whimsically, we further picked No.2 seed Cincinnati (30-4) to win it all - the National Championship - and Virginia's loss certainly cleared the playing field for them, so to speak (and to use an analogy from another sport), so the upset may have done us more good than harm, even if it did count as a loss and cost us two future games.
Overall and for the record, we went 5-and-3 in the South Division, having lost, in addition to Virginia, with No. 4 Arizona's upset loss to No. 13 Buffalo and No. 7 Nevada's OT defeat of No. 10 Texas. But unlike Virginia, we didn't have either Arizona or Buffalo winning any further games, so as with the Midwest Division, the damage is contained.
So anyway, as noted above, all of that puts us at 24-and-8 so far in the tournament, and with only two teams (Virginia and Wichita State) that won't make it to the Sweet 16 and one team (Virginia) that won't make it to the Elite 8. A good start and you may have done better, but don't tell us that you picked UMBC over Virginia, because we won't believe you.