So, how did you spend your Saturday night?
Oh yeah? That sounds fun.
Us? Not much, really. Just hung out at our
house hotel room, watched some basketball and locked our child in the bedroom of our hotel suite.
Huh? Oh, yeah, no big deal. Just had to get hotel maintenance to disassemble the door handle. Did you see that Oral Roberts game?
No, seriously, it was only for a couple hours and he was asleep and we had the monitor, so what could have possibly gone wrong?
In case you weren’t able to pick up on it, the transition of Hangover Headquarters to Pittsburgh is going exactly as planned.
Speaking of going exactly as planned, let’s check in on the NCAA Tournament. We’ll take a region by region look at what has transpired so far, and what is still to be decided.
Before we do that, I am going to complain about the Sweet 16/Elite 8 schedule. I should be able to type this knowing who just clinched the last spot in the Final Four. Instead, we have to wait two more days. And we should have been able to enjoy basketball Thursday and Friday night, rather than all Saturday and Sunday. Listen, NCAA. We can convince Mrs. Hangover to allow us one weekend of doing nothing but watching basketball all day, but not two. In a row. Just when we think the NCAA couldn’t get any dumber…as usual, we digress.
West Region (Hangover Pick: Gonzaga)
The Zags are a win over a Pac-12 team away from the Final Four, and have yet to be challenged. The 5-seed Creighton Bluejays were a mere speed bump on the road to immortality, and it seems unlikely USC or Oregon will put up much of a fight either.
While we generally mock the irrelevance of the Pac 12, they have been the dominant conference in this year’s tournament, with 4 teams making the Sweet 16. They are guaranteed at least 2 Elite Eight teams, and possibly 3 if UCLA can upset Alabama (they are down 2 with 9 minutes left in the first half as we write this). Pretty impressive for a conference that no one knew existed for most of the season.
Updated Hangover Pick: Gonzaga
East Region (Hangover Pick: FSU)
To give you some idea of how unpredictable this tournament has been, the Sweet 16 in the East was the chalkiest of all regions, with the 1,2 and 4 seeds making it along with 11-seed UCLA. That’s right, and 11-seed in the Sweet 16 and this was the most predictable. Credit UCLA for their run, but they also faced a fellow 11 seed in a play-in game, then the 6 and 14-seed to get here. Shout out to Shaka Smart for losing to Abilene Christian, failing to win an NCAA tournament game during his Texas tenure and skipping town for the Marquette job before getting fired.
In our picks, we overvalued the ACC and undervalued Michigan’s roster without Isaiah Livers. The result, Michigan steamrolling the Noles in the Sweet 16, setting up an opportunity for another Final Four trip for Michigan. Elsewhere, the only other ACC team to make the Sweet 16 was Syracuse, who was an 11-seed, and is also the least likable team in the conference, non-Duke division.
Updated Hangover Pick: Michigan
South Region (Hangover Pick: Baylor)
The story of the South Region was Oral Roberts, a 15-seed who came within an open jump shot at the buzzer from the leading scorer in all of college basketball from being the first 15-seed to ever reach the Elite Eight. Instead, Arkansas, and the ugliest polo shirts on earth will be facing Baylor on Monday night. While watching the Arkansas-Oral Roberts game, Mrs. Hangover commented, “if they were trying to make it look like their shirts were covered in confetti, they achieved it, but that was a terrible idea.”
Meanwhile, Baylor found their defensive intensity in the second half against Villanova, and if they defend like that, they may be the only team who can slow down Gonzaga. And no, I don’t think they’ll have much issue with Arkansas.
Updated Hangover Pick: Still Baylor
Midwest Region (Hangover Pick: West Virginia)
We were way off, but our only solace is that this was the most unpredictable region in history (ed. Note – this may or may not be true. We’re too lazy to check). The Sweet 16 featured 8-seed Sister Jean, 12-seed Oregon State, 11-seed Syracuse and 2-seed Houston. Loyola and Oregon State played perhaps the ugliest game of the tournament, and reminded us that while upsets are cute in the first round, we want some teams that are actually good in the Sweet 16 and beyond.
Now, Houston will face Oregon State with a trip to the Final Four on the line. And by trip, we mean, opportunity to remain in captivity in a hotel in Indianapolis. As someone who is so devoted to the NCAA tournament that we also moved into a hotel for the duration of the tournament, we can assure that there will be a few smiles on the faces of the team who loses. Sure, they’ll look sad on TV immediately following the game, but by the time they get on the bus to go to the airport, you’ll think they just won the national championship.
Updated Pick: Houston
While our overall picks and bracket is looking pretty rough, we do still have our original national championship game picks of Gonzaga vs. Baylor. At this point, we see no real reason to change that, and while sure, they were the two best teams all year, the 2021 version of March Madness has proven to be the least predictable in history. And again, we don’t have any actual facts to back that up, but trust us. We were pre-med.