Selection Sunday has come and gone, and we now have a glorious bracket to make our picks over the next few days. If you are anything like me, you were glued to a TV as the bracket was released and feverishly wrote down notes as each game was released. While the quickly scribbled notes of my instant reactions resembled hieroglyphics from my doctor-like penmanship, I managed to make some of them out hours later for the purpose of this article.
NCAA March Madness Bracket Instant Reactions
Here’s a few instant reactions from the bracket release and how I think a few teams will fare.
The Number One Overall Seed was Rewarded
No top overall seed has an easier path than the Alabama Crimson Tide. They surpassed Houston and Kansas to get the overall number-one seed after a dominant SEC conference tournament run and they were rewarded as such.
Their odds are still way too low for my liking, but it will be interesting to see what their Sweet Sixteen and Final Four odds will be. Normally not a market I attack, but Alabama’s path is that easy.
Good luck Kansas
While Alabama was rewarded as the top seed, the Jayhawks slip up has proved to be costly. Like their conference play all season long, their region is a gauntlet. The winner of Arkansas Vs. Illinois will be waiting for them in the second round with Saint Mary’s or UConn following suit in the Sweet Sixteen.
It only gets harder when they get to their regional final, potentially matching up against TCU, Gonzaga, or UCLA. Good luck Kansas, you will need it.
Purdue First Number One Seed to Fall
I always make a note of teams I am looking to fade when going into Selection Sunday and boy oh boy I couldn’t be happier with how Purdue’s region shaped out. In my opinion they will be the first number one seed to get potentially bounced early with Memphis potentially lingering in the second round.
Purdue’s guards have serious issues when having to face defensive pressure and that is exactly what Memphis will look to do. They also have the size and athleticism to make Edey uncomfortable, slowing down the big man’s scoring on the inside.
It’s not a guarantee that Memphis wins their first game as a small favorite over FAU, but if this matchup happens then you can expect a big wager from me and multiple tweets throughout the course of the game.
Lack of Cinderella
Listen, I know I am wrong. I know what the trends are and that every year we see a double-digit seed make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Take this next line with a grain of salt. I just don’t see it happening this year.
In fact, my instant reaction is that no team higher than a 10 seed wins their first game. Insane, I know. This bracket seems chalk heavy.
One team that does intrigue me as a ten seed or higher is Drake, getting a hobbled Miami squad in the first round. While I penciled Miami as the winner for now, you can expect me to change it to Drake as my double digit Sweet Sixteen run to fit in with historic metrics.
Marcus Sasser’s health
I’m no doctor, but a quick google search told me that Sasser is most likely not going to be 100% throughout the tournament. His missing production was immediately apparent as Memphis steamrolled the Cougars in the conference championship final.
Houston is still a very good team, a team more than capable of winning their early games in a weak top half of their bracket. Where it gets intriguing is when they potentially match up against Texas, a duel against the hottest team in the nation and my early pick to make it to the finals.
Marcus Carr weaving a basket through the Kansas defense! pic.twitter.com/VDIsbmjAvi
— Hook'em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) March 11, 2023
Prove it to me Izzo
I am a notorious Michigan and Michigan State hater while living in this state my whole life. Constantly praying for their downfall in the postseason with a hatred that burns in my heart equivalent to 1000 raging fires.
While I respect the Tom Izzo of old, I have not been impressed with him the past few seasons. The saying “January, February, Izzo” has been as true as my tweets that say, “The diet starts today”.
Michigan State has been blessed with a very friendly region, getting a weak USC squad and a very defensive friendly matchup against Marquette. If they can get past the Golden Eagles, then they can set their sights for a deep run as Providence and Kentucky don’t exactly strike fear in anyone’s hearts.
Initial Final Four Picks
This is a bonus one and my bracket is subject to change 100 times between the time this is published and the first tipoff. As of now, my initial Final Four picks are Alabama/Texas/Marquette/UConn.
Alabama has the easiest path with only Arizona and their weak defense posing as a threat.
Like Alabama, the Longhorns region is very friendly as well with a much-anticipated matchup against Houston awaiting them in the Elite 8. Sassar is most likely entering tournament play not 100% as a groin injury can be tricky to deal with.
Marquette is my first intriguing pick, getting a potentially tricky matchup in their second round against the Spartans and their elite defense. Should they get past Michigan State, then they get a much friendlier matchup against either Providence or Kentucky. This is also heavily correlated with Purdue getting bounced early by Memphis.
UConn is my Final Four pick that is most likely subject to change as that region is a gauntlet and has multiple teams more than capable of getting to the Final Four. I lean towards them as they were the most consistent unit to rank as a potential contender per Kenpom, yet their conference tournament performance was less to be desired.