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Thursday September 21, 2017
Posted: Mar 31, 2015

On busted brackets and a much-anticipated Final Four

Sidelines: Central Maine Sports Blog

It has been quite a wild NCAA Tournament, and if your brackets are anything like our sports staff’s there are plenty of red X’s on them. Here’s a look at how the staff’s predictions played out and what they’re looking for heading into this weekend’s Final Four:

RANDY WHITEHOUSE

I’m not here to talk about the past. Tonight I say we must move forward, not backward, upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

Thankfully, I’ve got more references from The Simpsons to keep me occupied until what I believe is one of the most anticipated, intriguing Final Fours in a long, long time arrives. We have three No. 1 seeds, one of which is trying to make history, and a No. 7 with a coach (Tom Izzo) who should automatically get at least a No. 4 seed every year based on his presence alone. We had four No. 1 seeds in 2008 but I bet you can’t name at least three of them (North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA and Kansas). I remember 2001 with Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and Maryland being pretty exciting, and 1993 with Carolina, Fab Five Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas was pretty sexy, too. But since I’m a Big East nostalgist, 1985 with Villanova, Georgetown, St. John’s and Memphis State is my personal all-time favorite.

This one has a chance to top that. Of course, we don’t have the possibility of a ’Nova over Georgetown upset this time, but Michigan State over Kentucky in the championship would be pretty close.

But it isn’t happening. The Wildcats are destined to make their haters weep and their agents-in-waiting very rich.

TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

I was in a sports bar in Myrtle Beach, S.C. to watch the early games on the first Thursday of the tournament. Sitting a few tables away, a pair of Iowa State fans cheered on their Cyclones.

As Iowa State let Alabama-Birmingham hang around, the pair got quieter. “Your Cyclones better not blow it,” I said. “Because I have them in the championship game.”

We know what happened. Iowa State blew it, and my bracket was a birdcage liner before the tournament was barely two hours old. The two Iowa State fans quietly paid their check and left, heads down in shocked disbelief.

Two days later, Villanova lost to N.C. State, and half my Final Four was gone. I did correctly pick three lower seeds — Michigan State, Wichita State and Utah — to advance to the Sweet 16, but the damage done to my bracket in those frantic first hours was fatal. I picked just one Final Four team correctly, and that was Kentucky, as close to a sure thing as there was in the field (I had Arizona in the West).

Give me Kentucky over Michigan State in the final. Because I can never in good conscience pick Duke.

DAVE DYER

Like many others, I was out of my bracket fairly early. I started off okay, but was essentially crippled by Villanova’s 71-68 loss to North Carolina State in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats were one of my Final Four teams, along with Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Kentucky. The Zags stayed in it until the Elite 8, losing out to Duke, while Wisconsin and Kentucky are still in the running. As a shameless Notre Dame fan, the Fighting Irish made me look like a genius, as I picked them to make it to the Elite 8. They almost pulled the upset of the tournament, losing 68-66 to Kentucky. Though it’s boring, if you went chalk you’re likely still in running in your tournament pool. I picked Wisconsin to win it all and I stand behind the Badgers, if for no other reason than to avenge Notre Dame’s loss and beat Kentucky in the Final Four. I’ll take Michigan State over Duke to play Wisconsin in the championship game.

EVAN CRAWLEY

Iowa State, the one ghost that won’t stop haunting my bracket. I gave the Cyclones wayyyy too much credit, had them making a run to the finals and as a result have taken a loss in each round. Outside of that though, I’m still in pretty good shape in most of my pools. Gonzaga was the only team I missed in the Elite 8 and Duke was the only Final Four team I didn’t have in there. Kentucky was my pick to win it and I’m still sticking with them, although the game against Wisconsin should be a great one. Rooting for Michigan State but I don’t like their chances against Duke. And yes, I’m still not happy Providence had to play Dayton in what was essentially a true road game. At least the Friars still have the Frozen Four.

MATT DIFILIPPO

My one bracket (a friendly competition against my wife) was awful. To give you some idea of how I felt about this year’s tournament, I watched Vin Scully on MLB Network the other night instead of the end of one of the games (I can’t remember which one). The Kentucky-Notre Dame game was good, but it’s spring, so it’s baseball time for me.

 

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