Looking For Upsets In Your Bracket

Bobby Curran
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Friday - March 18, 2009
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Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon

Get those brackets ready! The best two days of the sporting year are this Thursday and Friday when the NCAA holds its opening round of the men’s basketball tournament. All the hand wringing about who’s in and who got left out is officially over. And lots of teams feel they should have received a higher seed. Best not to become preoccupied with what might have been, lest you become one of the tournaments upset victims, which is what makes the tournament so fascinating in the first place. On the men’s side, a 16 seed has never knocked off No. 1, and there have been relatively few close calls. In 2002, Holy Cross led top-seeded Kansas by five with under 12 minutes to play and was still within four inside a minute. Sooner or later, we’ll see a 16 prevail.

We do see No. 15 seeds pull off the shocker. Going back to 1991, Richmond shocked Syracuse 72-69. In 1993 Santa Clara bounced Arizona 64-61. More recently, Coppin State eliminated South Carolina 78-65, and in 2001, Hampton knocked off Iowa State 58-57.


Teams seeded at No. 14 do better yet. Fifteen of them have won against No.3’s since 1985. The nail-biting, teeth-gnashing drama that accompanies win or go home consequences 16 times each day is a hoop junky’s dream. And everybody knows choosing a bracket that has a chance to win the office pool means you’ve got to include some upsets.

I always have at least one No.13 and a No. 12, because it seems they often advance. I believe there are perhaps 10 teams with a chance to win the national championship. Of those, I’m rooting for Pittsburgh with its physical play and coach Jamie Dixon’s Hawaii connection.


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If I was Buffalo Bills management I might be astonished at some of T.O.‘spost signing comments, like when he said that he’ll be the same guy he’s always been, and anything negative we’d read about him in Dallas was simply untrue. You wonder if Jerry Jones would have made that decision if Owen’s skills were not in decline. He no longer commands the same attention from opposing defenses that he once did, which might be the best evidence that he is not what he was.


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The N.Y. Giants are making conciliatory remarks about the possibility of a return by wide receiver Plaxico Burress if he can extricate himself from serious jail time resulting from charges related to shooting himself in the leg in a New York City nightclub.


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