Hope is not lost, my bracket still lives

Published 5:08 pm Friday, March 23, 2018

Madness doesn’t even begin to describe this year’s NCAA tournament.

Night after night, the unthinkable happens. Put your hand up if you thought Loyola-Chicago would be playing Kansas State in the Elite Eight. Now put your hands back down, you liars!

At least the East and Midwest regions have been somewhat reasonable. A couple teams like Syracuse, Marshall and Alabama surprised everyone those first days of the tournament, but the classic blue blood teams have slowly risen to the top.

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In my Final Four, I have Virginia (ugh) playing Michigan and Purdue playing Duke. Only the latter is still possible, but watching Villanova blow through their opponents like a locomotive has me worried Purdue will even make it out of the Elite Eight.

My championship game is Duke vs. Michigan, with Duke taking the crown. The Blue Devils look like the most complete, fundamentally sound team in this tournament and seem built to take it down.

I was called crazy for picking Michigan to make a run, and I began to question my sanity after watching the Wolverines make it past the first two rounds by the skin of their teeth. But then they met Texas A&M Thursday night, and the offense was absolute fire. I’m excited to see if Michigan can bring that same attack against a Florida State defense that seems to use Jedi powers to keep the ball out of the basket.

Oh yeah, about the Seminoles. They’re good. Every other team still in the tournament has to be looking at that tape and wondering nervously how to score against them. Gonzaga couldn’t shoot a 3-pointer to save its life on Thursday, nor could they make a free throw. The Seminoles picked up on that and guarded the paint, pretty much fouling anyone that came close to the basket. It worked, and FSU is now in the Elite Eight because of it.

This weekend will be another exciting slate of games. Even better, my bracket is still very much alive, albeit limping.