I know a person whose NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket is intact. We’ll call the person Daisy. As preposterous as this sounds, it’s true. I saw her bracket before the tournament began. The bracket is so pure and so clean it is almost pretty to look at. It’s like a blue mountain stream, minus the trout.
My bracket is not like a mountain stream. My bracket is like a pond next to a chemical plant, and the color is not found in a Crayola box unless the box offers a color called Industrial Green Sludge.
Mine is full of scratch-outs, white outs, thick dry-erase lines and deep red that comes either from my pen or my veins. As it turns out, the Elite Eight will not include Xavier and Tennessee, the Final Four will not feature Michigan State and Villanova will not beat Virginia in the championship game.
Despite all the upsets, the bracket Daisy filled out features not even a thin line through a single team. Daisy, for example, picked Gonzaga to beat UNC Greensboro. The game was March 15, opening day of the tournament, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. March 15 only seems as if it was a month ago.
Gonzaga versus UNC Greensboro was a warmup for the upsets and near upsets that would follow. The Spartans, who play in the Southern Conference, were a No. 13 seed, Gonzaga a No. 4 seed. But the Spartans could have won this game, and almost did.
The Spartans are coached by former North Carolina captain Wes Miller, and man, is he good. But Gonzaga freshman Zach Norvell hit a three3-pointer with 20.8 seconds remaining, and Gonzaga hung on by the tips of its fingers to win 68-64.
Gonzaga leads the NCAA in Zachs. Last season, you’ll recall, the Zags featured Zach Collins, who now plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. North Carolina beat Zach and the Zags in the national championship game.
Why am I focusing on the Gonzaga - UNC Greensboro game? I’m focusing on it because it is the only game Daisy picked.
Why did you pick only that game?
“You said Gonzaga was good.”
Yeah, but you don’t get to pick just the games you want, or game you want. I also said Virginia and Duke and Michigan and Michigan State were good.
I can’t be indignant, however. Daisy might end up with as many Final Four teams as I do.