Let's get right to the fun stuff:
As fleeting as it might be, from now until games start ending on Thursday night, I am in the 93rd percentile nationally of all brackets that are out there. This, of course, is in stark contrast to last year's finish in the 12th percentile.
Let's be clear: I'm headed for a nosedive, because I have Kansas winning the national title, and I (stupidly) picked Villanova to the Final Four. (I also had Georgetown to the Elite Eight.) That said: I picked Washington to the Sweet 16, along with Xavier and Butler. The phrase "Even a broken clock is right twice a day" comes to mind....
Astoundingly, Barack Obama is still pacing ahead of me -- 95th percentile -- even though he too has Kansas and Villanova in his Final Four, plus G'town in his Elite 8. That percentile will plummet. Meanwhile, the trusty ol' National Bracket has been tilted -- it's in the 55th percentile.
Per today's SN column, my big takeaway from the weekend -- from Northern Iowa knocking off the Tournament's prohibitive favorite to Cornell's leave-no-doubt run into the Sweet 16 -- was that, thankfully, unpredictability is back in the NCAA Tournament, after a couple years of conventionality.
If UNI can beat KU, then anything than happen: UNI can certainly beat Michigan State -- or Ohio State, for that matter. Xavier can beat K-State -- although I'm not sure anyone is playing better than Syracuse right now. St. Mary's could win 2, including a win over Duke. Why not?
(By the way: Purdue fans annoyed that I've been hammering Purdue as an "over-seed" can finally back off: Congrats on the run into the Sweet 16 -- it justifies the seeding, although I would say that given the over-seed, it's like a double-digit seed making the Sweet 16.)
And then there's the Game of the Tournament (at least, besides UNI-KU): Kentucky vs. Cornell. I was blown away at the way Cornell sliced up a Wisconsin defense that is far better than Kentucky's. That said: UK has athletes that Wisco doesn't -- and that Cornell has never seen before, even when they took Kansas to the wire in Lawrence.
However: That Cornell could keep up with Kansas -- and dominate Wisconsin -- should give them all the confidence they need to hang with Kentucky. All the pressure is on the Wildcats, and it would be an even bigger upset than UNI over Kansas.
Given the way the Tournament has unfolded, it wouldn't surprise me. And, obviously, everyone in the country besides Kentucky fans will be rooting for it.
Complete column here (Tiger talks! Mauer signs!) More later.