(Update 3/25): After a exciting Sweet 16 round, there are only eight teams left to fight things out. The four winners head to Glendale for a chance to play for the title. Who do you think will be on of the final four teams standing?
Well, we're down to 16. After 48 games this weekend, there's only 15 left to decide who will be raising the trophy in Arizona next week.
How is your bracket doing thus far? If you're anything like me, it is probably in the dumpster, but that's ok. You can still have your voice heard by voting in this poll below.
Wondering how the public has been doing in picking the winners thusfar? Check out the infographic below.
It's finally here, someone's favorite time of the year: March Madness. For sports enthusiasts, this is the pinnacle of their entire sports-loving existence; for others, it's an excuse to yell about athletics and drink in copious amounts.
If you're like me, you probably fall into the latter, but since you're just so hip and cool you want the world to believe you can sport with the best of them. So I am here to give you some pointers (a sports pun, how fitting) on how to actually look like you care about the Madness that is March.
1. Make a Bracket: I know this seems like a terrifying concept, especially when you can't name more than two teams that are playing at any given time, but hear me out. Making a bracket will force you to learn the teams and watch the games so you can, at least, pretend to know something when shouting along with everyone else. As an added bonus, you can also see how elite your guessing skills really are.
3. Frequent Sports Bars: This is where the action is. Imagine a magical land with lots of high-strung men with too much testosterone, probably abandoning a lonely significant other somewhere, drinking together and yelling at a television in unison. Ah, America. If you can mingle amongst them and throw around a sporty phrase or two (try to stick to basketball) you'll fool everyone into thinking you not only know what you're talking about, but that you actually give a shit!
So this, my friends, is my fool-proof method on how to not just survive, but actually thrive in the glory and confusion that is March Madness. Now go forth, my sons/daughters, and sports talk like your life and future as a cool person depends on it.
5 NCAA Tournament Underdogs You Should Root Super Hard For
Everyone loves an underdog.
It's the most magical time of the year! The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts tomorrow, which means you need to familiarize yourself the 68-team bracket of absolute insanity.
Now, there are probably plenty of lists out there telling who you should put all your money on. In reality, it's a complete crap shoot. Sure, you can bet on high seeds and probably do pretty well. But where's the fun in that?
Instead, you should be rooting for absolute chaos. Big-time programs falling left and right! Schools with enrollments of, like, 54 knocking off the giants! How much more fun does that sound? Ah, that's right: SO MUCH MORE.
So I've compiled a list of the five underdogs you should no doubt be rooting for when the madness starts Thursday afternoon.
1. No. 13 seed Winthrop (vs. Butler in Round 1) If you're an NCAA tournament junkie, Winthrop will probably be a name that brings back memories. The school used to be a regular participant in the tournament in the early 2000s, but they've only ever won a single tournament game. Interestingly enough, that win came exactly 10 years ago against Notre Dame, which is just a two hour drive up US-31 from Winthrop's opponent this year, Butler!
Also, if Winthrop and Wichita State happen to go on incredible, tournament-shaking winning streaks, it'll set up a good nostalgia-inducing matchup. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State's head coach, used to coach at Winthrop. It's a seriously long shot, but hey, that's what this tournament is all about!
Like... are you kidding? That is such a good logo. You should totally root for Winthrop.
2. No. 15 seed Troy (vs. Duke in Round 1) Forget about Tory for a second, and focus on their opponent, Duke. It's so easy to root against Duke. Everyone does it. It's basically a national pastime. Duke has been so freaking good for so freaking long, and Coach K has been so successful (sometimes smugly so), that it just comes naturally.
This year's Duke team is no different thanks to the presence of Grayson Allen, the kid who can't stop tripping people on the court, and who also looks like Ted Cruz, just with the ability to finish around the rim.
Plus, maybe it's just me, but ever since I watched High School Musical back in the day, I've always rooted for any Troy in basketball. So go Troy!
3. No. 11 seed Rhode Island (vs. Creighton in Round 1) Rhode Island's got a couple real good things going for them.
First of all, it's Rhode Island's first NCAA tournament appearance since the turn of the century. The last time Rhode Island was in the tournament, a whole bunch of people were worried their computers would explode when the date turned to January 1, 2000. We're so much smarter now! (No we're not.)
Plus, the color combo on their logo is tremendous.
Everyone likes powder blue. It's got that delightful vintage look I always associate with college basketball. And then a good splash of navy blue for good measure? I love it a lot. I almost wish I went to Rhode Island. (No I don't.)
And, most importantly, Rhody's mascot is the Ram. It's a very good mascot, and one time it tried to get into a fight with the Hawk from St. Joseph's, which I think is extra funny because Rhode Island was kicking the crap out of St. Joe's in this game.
That's hilarious. Go Rhody.
4. No. 15 Jacksonville State (vs. Louisville in Round 1) The season 2016-17 was, far and away, the best in the history of Jacksonville State's men's basketball program. They won 20 games in a single season for the first time since joining Division I in the mid-1990s, and this is their first NCAA tournament appearance EVER. As I'll tell you again in a little bit, you can't help but root for a first-timer!
But wait, there's so much more. The Gamecocks' coach, Ray Harper, is in his first season with Jacksonville State, which is pretty neat. You know what's even more neat? Ray's first name is actually Lilburn.
His name is Lilburn.
That sounds like a rapper. Or maybe what you'd call just a tiny insult. Not a huge burn. Just a lilburn. I'm all the way on board with Lilburn Ray Harper.
Also, the school's motto is "The friendliest campus in the South," which I can neither confirm nor deny but, honestly, who cares? That's an admirable goal. I appreciate a college doing its best to be nice to me. Normally colleges just want my money and also, in a more roundabout way, my soul. This time Jacksonville State wants to be my friend. I say, let's all be Jacksonville State's friend!
Plus, if you're not really sold yet, it's kind of impossible to root against a No. 15 seed. Florida Gulf Coast was a No. 15 seed, and they gave us Dunk City. Let's hope Jacksonville State does some equally dope stuff.
5. No. 8 Northwestern (vs. Vanderbilt in Round 1) Alright, so technically this isn't an underdog. Northwestern is an 8-seed, meaning they're favored in their first round matchup against Vanderbilt. But stay with me here: Northwestern hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament... ever.
This is a big ol' deal. If you follow a lot of sports writers on Twitter, you probably saw them all losing their collective minds when Northwestern made the field. It's hard not to feel really excited for the fanbase: waiting literal decades for something to finally come true makes for a pretty great feeling when that one thing actually arrives. How do you not root for a first-timer?
Also, if you need more convincing, the color purple is most definitely under-represented among powerhouse programs. Purple is such a good color! It's Northwestern's main color. Get Purple Fever. Listen to Prince all week. Do it big.
Oh, and they have a guy whose first name is Dererk, which is absolutely going to drive newspaper editors INSANE if he, say, hits a game-winning shot in the first round because dagnabbit that is not a name.
Don't you wish your school had super awesome alumni to come and watch sporting events? (I sure do. BE COOLER, DREXEL!)
After a close first half, Northwestern was totally feeling it from the field early in the second half, racing out to a colossal 49-34 lead with 13:41 left to play.
But there's a reason this was a matchup between an 8-seed and a 9-seed: these teams, in the end, were pretty darn even.
Vandy launched a dramatic comeback to try and salvage things, burying three three-pointers in 79 seconds, drawing within two points with five minutes to play. On the other side, Northwestern couldn't buy a bucket, scoring just six points in a 7:07 span.
Then, with 1:32 left in the game, Riley LaChance nailed a three to give Vanderbilt a 62-61 advantage, its first lead since *way back* in the first half, back when it was 5-4. So, of course, Northwestern came back down the court and hit a jumper of its own to take the lead back.
Was Northwestern's first game ever going to be anything but dramatic? I mean, c'mon. It had to be this way.
After another bucket from Vanderbilt, Northwestern's Dererk Pardon (not a typo in his first name, which is amazing!) was fouled going up for a shot with 26.1 seconds left, and knocked down both free throws to give the Wildcats a 65-64 lead.
Then Riley LaChance knocked down ANOTHER shot to put Vanderbilt back up one.
And then Northwestern received a goshdarn gift.
Because Vanderbilt's Matthew Fisher-Davis, in all the chaos, thought his team was still down. So he fouled the best foul shooter on Northwestern, Bryant McIntosh, who made both free throws.
The CBS correspondent was covering the USC-Baylor Round of 32 match-up last night -- a game that saw Baylor earn its first spot in the Sweet 16 in three years. Back then, as stated by Baylor head coach Scott Drew, the team celebrated by messing with the hair of Craig Sager. Sager sadly died of Leukemia back on Dec. 15.
So, to mark Baylor's achievement, Drew had his players mess with Jacobson's hair. While you can say, "Oh no, poor Dana," it's a well-done tribute, and you can tell she took it in stride.
It's clear everyone in the sports community, not just the basketball community, still misses Craig and his crazy suits.
I know, it's horrific. But frankly, sports in general fail to interest me. It's just people throwing or kicking a spherical object around a pollen-covered field or nasty smelling gym. I'm not wrong in saying that's a pretty accurate summary of most sports.
When I have friends and relatives asking me about my bracket, it takes every fiber of my being to not roll my eyes.
And bite my tongue when my dad asks me to look up the score of a game.
People find my disinterest in March Madness to be offensive. Seriously. When I say I hate March Madness, people look at me like I've gutted a kitten. So I do what I have to do to survive in this fucked up world. I put on a happy face and feign interest in public places. Like March Madness watch parties. (Which are only worth attending if there's free food.)
When someone asks me about who I think will win, I stuff my face with some chips, shrug and get the hell out of there. I run like my life depends on it.
I find safety in another room.
At least, until I hear footsteps growing louder.
Only to realize it's a friend who also fled the Madness and suggests watching something on Netflix.