The good news is that nobody did so badly as to take the quasi-advice put forward in the introductory post to the Dealbreaker Tournament Challenge, because, hoo boy, what a disaster.
That suggested final of Villanova vs. Virignia, the two top-seeded V’s? Well, Virginia became the first No. 1 seed in men’s NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 16. The notion of “SDSU” as a Final Four team? Both South Dakota State and San Diego State lost in the first round. Penn becoming the first 16 seed to win a game? That did happen, but it was UMBC making history against the aforementioned goliaths from Virginia, not the Quakers against Kansas.
The 151 brackets entered in this competition featured 16 different national champions. The most popular choice was Villanova, on 48 entries, and the Wildcats are through to the Sweet 16. But for those who picked Virginia (31), Michigan State (8), North Carolina (7), Arizona (5), Cincinnati (5), Xavier (3), Ohio State (1), Penn (1), and Tennessee (1), the party is over.
That’s a total of 62 out of 151 who lost their national champion in the first weekend of play, which is pretty embarrassing when you consider that a person trying to lose this contest, and entered in it only for the purpose of being able to track the progress of the tournament and write about it, picked Villanova to win the whole thing, never mind that it could just as easily have been Virginia given that no further thought was given to that idea than “hey, both those schools start with V and are No. 1 seeds.”
The joy of this tournament is that the current leader of the Dealbreaker Tournament Challenge is Chase Goodwin, who already has lost four picks from the Elite Eight and two from the Final Four, but still has a legitimate shot to win the whole thing and not just be a one-weekend wonder. Chase has Purdue winning the national title, which sounds insane because it’s Purdue, which lost the title game in 1969, has only been to one Final Four since then, and pretty much generally disappoints everyone while creeping us out with their mascot… and yet it could totally happen this time.
In second place, Paul Organ lost one Final Four team, Virginia, and has Michigan cutting down the nets in San Antonio. Lots of others also still have a chance at this thing, but probably not you, because, as ever, only one person can win that sweet, sweet prize at the end. Will that person be Sister Jean from Loyola-Chicago? Perhaps! She had the Ramblers in the Sweet 16 after all, but no farther than that. She probably didn’t expect to see Nevada in the next round, but also, she’s not entered in this contest, as far as we can tell.