By this point in March Madness, I’ve usually lost interest. After all, my team, Northwestern, has NEVER been to the NCAA tournament. (They’ve been to the NIT three years in a row and made it to the quarterfinals this year, but that dream ended last week.) And while Indiana used to be a regular in the Sweet 16, that seems like ancient history, and the recent Hoosier teams have been terrible.

But this year, I’m interested. I submitted a bracket on ESPN.com as part of a group. ESPN received 5.6 million brackets, which is mind-blowing. My group, made up of readers of a Northwestern University Sports Blog called Lake the Posts, has 150 people in it, and the reason I’m interested is that somehow, someway, I’m currently #1 in the group. Hard to believe. The main reason I’m there at this point, I think, is that few people picked Kentucky to beat Ohio State, but I did–mostly as an anti-OSU move.

Will I still be in the lead at the end? Doubtful, because I picked Pitt to win the tourney and they were upset by Butler. But it’s still possible. Here’s what I need to have happen:

1. VCU beats Kansas today. I actually picked Kansas to make the final four, so I would maximize my points with a KU victory, but that will open to the door to entries that picked Kansas to win it all, and I can’t have that. Go VCU! It’s a long shot, but VCU has won other games they weren’t supposed to win, so they can do this.

2. Kentucky beats UNC today. UNC has been looking good, so that’s going to be tough hurdle. And it’s not like I’m a Kentucky fan. If not for the brackets, I’d root for both teams to lose this game.

3. Then, next weekend in the semis, Uconn beats Kentucky. I originally had picked Uconn to lose to Pitt in the Championship game, so I still need for them to make the final.

4. And VCU has to beat Butler. Having grown up a few blocks from Butler’s campus, I’ll certainly be rooting for Butler if they’re playing anyone other than VCU, since my bracket will be dead at this point. But there’s someone who picked them to win the tournament, so my entry needs them to lose at this point.

5. In the final VCU beats Uconn.

If all that happens, I win!

As I said, doubtful. But still. It’s a reason to care about the games. Go VCU!

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  1. >VCU beats KU. Check.
    UK beats UNC. Check.

    So I'm in first place (in my 150 entry pool) at least until the first semi.

    Go Uconn! Go VCU!

    (And I'm thrilled to learn that my bracket is in 6,343rd place out of 5.9 Million entries.)

  2. >Bummer. I was okay with Butler beating VCU even though that knocked me down to 2nd Place. UConn beating UK was a good thing.

    But it's a shame Butler lost in the final. I finish in 8th.

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