Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Quickie Jinx: VCU Edition

From my Wall Street Journal bracket-picking column:
Coming off a get-the-blood-pumping win in the “First Four” round against USC, VCU gets a jump on slow-starting Georgetown and pulls off the upset – then turns around two days later to stun 3-seed Purdue to land the Rams in the Sweet 16.
Oh, but wait! Cut to the bottom of the column:

The single pick that scares me most is the one I more cavalierly assumed away: Southwest No. 3 Purdue losing on Sunday to VCU, rather than – say – thumping VCU, then beating Notre Dame, then giving Kansas all it can handle...

And so let’s make this modification: In the Southwest, scratch out VCU beating Purdue on Sunday in the Round of 32, then push the Boilermakers past Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 before Purdue loses to Kansas in the regional final. There. I feel better now.
No. I don't feel better now. I feel much worse now. Much, much worse.

(I also picked George Mason to beat Ohio State -- if GMU had their best player available, it might have been more of a game. I knew it was going to be a reach, but I thought I had a hedge, because I had Syracuse winning the East anyway. Oh, and I had them beating Washington in the Sweet 16, because I had the Huskies beating UNC. And yet: I am most annoyed I wussed out on the VCU-over-Purdue pick, rather than annoyed at having over-reached with Mason or Wash.)

For the record: My bracket is now in the 38th percentile. My 4-year-old son, picking his own bracket for the first time, is in the 70th. If I had used the "National Bracket," I would have been in the 86th. If I had simply gone with all higher seeds, I would have been in the 96th percentile (alongside my wife, whose bracket is in the 96th percentile). Barack Obama, of course, continues to taunt everyone from the 99.9th percentile.

-- D.S.

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