Predicting the stunning upsets is never easy
by Paul Myerberg and Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to another session of Bracket Briefing, our attempt to provide you with essential information on the Big Dance — forecasting the Ali Farokhmaneshes before they spark the upset we’ll be talking about for days.
The first word: If you’re that person who was forced to work today, we’re sorry. But you can breathe easier knowing that it hasn’t happened. Yet. You already know what we’re talking about: The upset. Not the No. 8 over a No. 9 seed. The big one that becomes legendary. In tonight’s slate of games, there will be plenty of opportunities to see one of the Davids take down a Goliath.
The best bet: No. 11 Belmont vs. No. 6 Arizona.
President Obama turning Belmont into the upset pick could be a double-edged sword because as Bruins coach Rick Byrd puts it, “now it’s fashionable.” Obama wasn’t far off with his choice in a veteran-laden Belmont team led by long-range specialist Ian Clark. Arizona swingman Kevin Parrom said the Wildcats will be playing “with a chip on our shoulder.”
Brick city: The story line seemed so good: A mid-major giving the Cinderella-turned-elite program a taste of its own medicine. Butler wasn’t having it. Butler and Bucknell combined for 35 points in the first half (while combining to shoot about 29% from the field), so it’s no surprise that the basketball clanked off the rim:
The two heated up in the second half — relatively speaking — with Bucknell’s Joe Willman nailing five jumpers over the first 10 minutes while the Bulldogs found their groove from deep. Butler pulled away late, outscoring the Bison 28-17 in the final eight minutes to earn a 68-56 win. The Bulldogs meet the winner of Marquette-Davidson in the round of 32.
Fashion statement: President Obama took a dig at Notre Dame’s hideous green jerseys when filling out his tournament bracket with ESPN’s Andy Katz. Said Obama, “I am wearing a green tie today because we’ve got the Irish prime minister visiting, but that neon glow thing wasn’t working for me.”
Notre Dame’s response to Obama’s comments? The university shipped a customized jersey … [For more on Bracket Briefing: Predicting the stunning upsets is never easy, click here.]