48 games done in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and I know that I sure can't win my own contest! I sit in a seven-way tie for 85th, along with league commissioner bhsportsguy. The two of us need to get together and employ more Jack Molinas-like tactics.
The leader is still Monterey Chris with 55 points with Suffering Bruin hot on his tail one point back. Three people are three points off the lead. The next round of games are worth four points each.
Monterey Chris tabbed 14 of the Sweet 16. However, one miss was a team in the Elite Eight (Washington State) and the other was a national runnerup guess in Wisconsin. So, it's going to be hard for him to keep the lead.
Suffering Bruin tabbed 14 of the Sweet 16 as well. His two misses were teams he picked to win one more game (Texas and Wisconsin), but he's got his Final Four intact. This puts him in a spot, as professional gamblers like to say, where he's more likely to win.
It looks pretty likely that the contest will come down to the championship game barring a team like Butler or UNLV making it to the final. North Carolina seems to have very little support from the leaders. Ohio State and Florida are the more popular choices. If either of them go down before the Final Four, the contest will really open up.
Thursday's games will be from the West and South.
In San Jose, #1 Kansas plays #4 Southern Illinois at 4:10 pm PT with #2 UCLA playing #3 Pitt afterwards.
In San Anonio, #2 Memphis plays #3 Texas A&M at 4:27 pm PT (check your watch to make it sure it truly starts at 27 minutes past the hour) and #1 Ohio State plays #5 Tennessee after.
The Sweet Sixteen features:
3 SEC teams - Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee
3 Pac-10 teams - UCLA, Oregon, USC
2 Big 12 teams - Kansas, Texas A&M
2 Big East teams - Georgetown, Pittsburgh
1 ACC team - North Carolina
1 Conference USA team - Memphis
1 Horizon team - Butler
1 Mountain West team - UNLV
1 Big 10 team - Ohio State
1 Missouri Valley team - Southern Illinois
California and Tennessee are the only states represented by more than one school.
There are just three private schools left: Georgetown (the only one with a religious affiliation), USC, Butler, and Vanderbilt.
UCLA and North Carolina both have played in the Final Four 16 times, although the NCAA only credits UCLA with 15 appearances as the 1980 trip was vacated.
Kansas has 12 Final Four trips, Ohio State has nine, Georgetown and UNLV have four, Florida has three, Memphis has two (both as Memphis State) as does USC, Oregon and Pittsburgh have one Final Four appearance each.
It is possible that there could be four first-time Final Four participants. I believe that has not happened since 1959 when Cal, West Virginia, Louisville, and Cincinnati all made their Final Four debuts. I could be wrong about this.