Monday, March 26, 2012

Bracket Showdown, Day 8: ...Step 3 = Kentucky.

After a weeklong vacation in Las Vegas, Bryan triumphantly returns to the blog with an update on the 36-entry Feats of Strength Bracket Showdown.

After two glorious weekends, four teams are headed to New Orleans to compete for the college basketball championship. Sixty-four other teams are not headed to New Orleans or, at least, if they are, will be mostly limited to drinking hurricanes on Bourbon Street. Let's look back at our Bracket Showdown and see how our contestants are doing. The full scoreboard is available in this Google Document.

  • After a long run atop the leaderboard, Barack Obama finally fell to third with UNC's loss to Kansas. Since the Tar Heels were also his choice to win it all, Obama's bracket will probably finish out of the (imaginary) money. But this is still a respectable showing for the leader of the free world, who probably had all of, what, 15 minutes to think about this.
  • The new leader heading to the Louisiana Mercedes-Benz Superdome is Ken Pomeroy, whose log5 system has 89 points through four rounds, two better than Jeff Sagarin. Both brackets have Kentucky beating Ohio State in the finals.
  • Seven of the top eight entries are all analytics-based, the one exception being Obama's. The top expert is Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, whose 82 points put him one ahead of ESPN's Scott Van Pelt. Since Van Pelt has Kentucky beating UNC in the title game, though, he can't catch Palm, who picked Kansas to lose to Kentucky.
  • In fact, let's stop dancing around it: EVERYONE picked Kentucky. No, really: 28 of the 36 brackets had Kentucky on the final line. I have never seen that sort of consensus, but to be fair, I haven't ever looked before.
  • Not only that, but 31 brackets put Kentucky in the final game. None picked Louisville, but then again only Common had the Cardinals even making the Elite Eight. In the other semifinal, nine entries put Ohio State in the finals, and five picked Kansas.
  • There's only so much you can say about everyone and their mother picking Kentucky, so let's instead celebrate the oddballs mavericks: Peter Tiernan's medium-risk bracket favored the Buckeyes, and his high-risk bracket favored the Jayhawks.
  • If you want to talk about really ballsy picks, though, you have to discuss the offering of CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. I mean, they were wrong, but still: ballsy. Dodd's final four consisted of Missouri (lost in the round of 64), Florida State (lost in the round of 32), Creighton (lost in the round of 32), and (who else) Kentucky.

I'll be tweeting this weekend with updates after each game, and trying to update the scoreboard as best I can.

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