It took lots of tweaking and studying RPI's, BPI's and all the other numbers used in putting together an NCAA tournament bracket projection.
But on Sunday, this Jersey Guy got lucky, going 68 of 68 in his last projections. Included in that was one perfect match up--No. 4 Butler vs. No.13 Winthrop in the Midwest Regional. It also included 35 teams seeded exactly, 21 within 1 spot and 9 within two spots.
Admittedly picking the field wasn't ALL that difficult because there just weren't that many bubble teams to consider. But the final few teams are always covered with enough negatives to pick against them.
As usual, the toughest calls came late. Deciding between North Carolina and Duke as the final No. 1 was a challenge, but the tie breaker was that North Carolina won the toughest conference in college basketball by two games.
Keeping Syracuse out of the field was also another challenge, but we took a chance and put USC back in to replace the Orange in a Sunday morning switch.
But in the fast paced world of college basketball, all of that angst disappeared the minute the actual brackets were released.
We will do a more thorough breakdown of the brackets later this week, but with a quick look you can find some nice potential challenges in each Region.
The East is set up for a Villanova-Duke final in Madison Square Garden, and the South could be a North Carolina-Kentucky meeting. But the Wildcats need to watch out for Wichita in the second round and UCLA after that.
The Midwest has some potential for upsets, as early as the second round. Miami could pose problems for No. 1 Kansas and who knows how much more energy Michigan has in its system after making a run in the Big Ten tournament
In the West, Gonzaga has all sorts of pot holes. Notre Dame, West Virginia and Arizona all have the ability to knock off the Zags.
So, starting on Tuesday, March Madness will finally be here
But for now this Jersey guy is going to frame his bracket. Since first doing this back in 1983, there has always been an ""if only'' comment right after the announcement.
Not this time. This time we got it right--finally.