Your guide to the madness Thursday
by 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 stunning upset we’re talking about for days.
Soundtrack: Before you read any further, take a listen to this morning’s jam of the day.
The first word: The madness is upon on us now more than any day of the year. For some perplexing reason, the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament has not been declared a national holiday yet. Pity. It’s not fair to make any sports fan think about anything but a bracket on the best sports marathon of the year when 16 games determine the fate of office pools and bragging rights. Still, today has already become more important than A) your work life and B) your personal life.
16 on deck: An index to help you handle the madness.
For clarity, three stars means tell your boss you need to help your grandma with something very serious because you need to watch it. Two stars means follow this game and pay very little attention to anything else while you’re at work. One star means your heart will go on if you miss this.
— Afternoon rush —
***Must watch*** (Midwest Regional) No. 14 Valparaiso vs. No. 13 Michigan State in Auburn Hills, Mich., 12:15 (CBS): It’s the first game of the tournament. Bryce Drew’s coaching against Tom Izzo. Enough said.
***Must watch*** (East Regional) No. 11 Bucknell vs. No. 6 Butler in Lexington, Ky., 12:40 (truTV): If you can find this channel (which is better than Oxygen and Lifetime, we promise), Bucknell is supposed to be the new Butler. This is everyone’s favorite first round upset.
*Life won’t end if you miss this* (West Regional) No. 9 Wichita State vs. Pittsburgh in Salt Lake City, 1:40 (TBS): The Shockers (the second best team in the Valley) and Pittsburgh (a middle-of-the pack Big East team) could stage a barnburner, but a No. 9 seed beating a No. 8 seed isn’t spectacularly stunning.
***Must watch*** (Midwest Regional) No. 13 … [For more on Bracket Briefing: Your guide to the madness Thursday, click here.]