Somewhere in between my 8th and 9th hour of yard work during the #CoronaVirus shutdown, I washed my hands, wiped down all surfaces with a Clorox Wipe and then pulled out my phone to text JPinIC:
“What if we ran the officially unofficial March Madness bracket for SBNation. We release it on Selection Sunday and starting Monday (and each day following) we “play” the games in each region where readers, listeners, followers, etc. select the teams that win via polls on the site and Twitter. We also use the comments for SBNation readers to give us the best reasons why their teams should advance and then we use them in our “Tournament Update” posts. The reason I ask is mainly because I’ve spent the last two days doing yard work during what should’ve been conference Semi-Final/Finals and I can’t possibly fathom not having some sort of bracket to follow and the social media sarcasm that comes with the tournament the next few weeks. Thoughts?”
“I like it”
This is my duty. This is why I was chosen to blog and podcast for SBNation. If the NCAA wont do the right thing to give us, the “student athletes”, their families and coaches the Selection Sunday we all deserve, I’ll do it for them. Corona Virus or not, like the great Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort said, “I’m not f*%$*&^ leaving!”
NCAA men's basketball VP Dan Gavitt statement: There will be no bracket release.— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) March 15, 2020
So, my fellow Pantsers and SBNation lovers alike, allow me to officially welcome you to March Madness:
Damn if that doesn’t slap harder than ever before.
As I explained above, we’re going to run with our own March Madness starting today. The winner in each matchup will be decided by polls that will accompany each “GameDay Post” on this site (schedule of events below), as well as the Twitter accounts listed here (make sure you’re following all of them as you are able to vote more than once):
From there, teams will advance just like the regular tournament based on total votes. Make sure you check back to Black Heart Gold Pants a few times a day for updates.
Now, with all of the schematics out of the way, let’s talk about the bracket. I hemmed and hawed over the sourcing of the bracket for a while. Do I make up my own seeding? Do I just take names out of a hat? Do I have that kind of time? Do people care that I did all of that for them? Of course they’ll care. These are great people. But if I spend the next six hours figuring this out, will they care more about me making a bracket than my wife will about not finishing more tasks in the yard?
I need to work smarter, not harder. So I went to ESPN.com in search of Joe Lunardi’s last updated Bracketology post. I gave it a quick up/down, decided it was the most educated guess out there and decided to run with it.
And if you don’t like it, tough. Make your own March Madness and get off my perfectly manicured Spring lawn!
So, without further adieu, I present to you the Midwest Region:
No shock here as Kanas is our #1 overall seed. There is interesting potential with a Duke/Iowa matchup in the second round that will surely get dicey. And can sell-your-soul-to-the-college-basketball-devil Wisconsin continue their recent domination? Only time will tell.
Next up, we have the East region...
Don’t look now folks, but #1 seed Dayton is going to have a tough go in their opening round matchup against either Robert Morris or BostonU if I know this blog as well as I do. We have some interesting matchups with Butler taking on the second play-in game in this region with either Texas or Richmond. The same goes with Penn State who has a tough draw if the the Wolf Pack can make it past UCLA. And if you aren’t jacked up for Huggie Bear against Utah State, you need to spend more time watching Disney+.
Look like the West is locked in... let’s take a look!
Indiana slides in as an #11 seed and looks to have a decent road to the Sweet-16 if they can just stay hot. San Diego State is as tought of a #2 seed as you’re going to see in this tournament and Gonzaga looks poised to find their way into the Final Four once again. That is unless of course Juwan Howard’s Michigan Wolverines have nothing to say about it.
And finally, the South Bracket...
And finally, Baylor is your last #1 seed. Shockingly, coming in as a #3 seed is Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans. Can Izzo recreate some March Magic and get back to the Final Four? Time will tell.
Let’s take a live look in at Purdue who unfortunately was one of the Next Four Out:
What a shame.
Here is the full bracket, ya know, if any of you want to print them out ahead of time and tweet them at us:
So, there you have it folks. The Bracket is live and we’ve officially entered the Madness. Now, there is only a few things left to do and that’s to lay out the schedule of events and figure out who our First Four winners will get the chance to play again on Monday evening!
Starting tonight we will run the First Four games. Here is the schedule from there:
Monday March 16: Midwest Bracket will play beginning in the late afternoon
Tuesday March 17: East Bracket will play beginning in the late afternoon
Wednesday March 18: West Bracket will play beginning in the late afternoon
Thursday March 19: South bracket will play beginning in the late afternoon
Friday March 20: Recap special
Monday March 23: Round of 32 for Midwest and East
Tuesday March 24: Round of 32 for West and South
Wednesday March 25: Sweet 16 for Midwest and East
Thursday March 26: Sweet 16 for Midwest and East
Friday March 27: Recap Special
Monday March 30: Elite 8
Tuesday March 31: Final Four
Wednesday April 1: The Finals
Thursday April 2: Champion is crowned/One Shining Social Media Moment
The polls are now open for the First Four play in games. Who ya got?
Boston U vs. Robert Morris: Who ya got?
This poll is closed
#16 Robert Morris
#16 Boston U
Texas vs. Richmond: Who ya got?
This poll is closed
NC State vs. UCLA: Who ya got?
This poll is closed
#11 NC State
Prairie View A&M vs. North Carolina Central: Who ya got?
This poll is closed
#16 Prairie View A&M
#16 North Carolina Central