It’s March Madness time again.
That means it’s time to bone up on every one of the 68 teams so you can have your bracket done by tipoff for the first games on Thursday morning. ESPN and Yahoo sports and numerous other sports websites are chocked full of analysts who are more than willing to tell you who to pick and why – or who to avoid.
You can find the guys who have all the stats broken down all the way down to who plays well on the road and which road team plays poorly when it has to travel two time zones and play a 9 a.m. game.
Or you could pick your bracket less scientifically and choose on the basis of uniform colors or nicknames and you probably wouldn’t do much worse than clogging your head full of stats and analysis.
But there’s one thing that stands out. You probably want to pick a team from the Eastern time zone to win the whole thing. That’s because 43 of the 69 teams reside in the Eastern time zone. That’s 63 percent of the tournament.
Another 16 are from the Central time zone.
Only four teams are in the Mountain time zone and only five from the Pacific time zone.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has nine teams in the tournament. The Pac 12, on the other hand, has only three teams in the tournament, and two of them – UCLA and Arizona State were consigned to the play-in bracket. And the ACC has as many teams in the tournament as the mountain- and pacific-time zones combined.
St. Mary’s, in Moraga, was 28-5 and didn’t get in. Alabama at 19-15 did. USC at 23-11 didn’t get in. Texas at 19-14 and Oklahoma at 18-13 both are in the tournament.
The whole things seems tilted toward the east coast.
Granted, there are a lot more colleges in the east, but on the surface, it looks like anything west of the Rockies is little more than an afterthought. Even Gonzaga, which was ranked eighth in the nation, received only a fourth seed meaning the selection committee thought there were at least 12 teams who are better than the Zags.
Sure, I’m going to be up late the next couple of nights looking at the stats and analysis and I’ll have my bracket done in the nick of time. Bleary-eyed from reading too many blogs and posts, I’ll probably revert to the uniform or the nickname when it comes down to an 8/9 or 7/10 choice. And I won’t be foolish enough to pick any 16th seed.
And somewhere in the first or second day, there’ll be a 15th or a 14th seed that’ll pull an upset and completely screw up my bracket all the way to the Final Four.