Indulge a proud father in some bragging…
My wife and I have competed in NCAA brackets for as long as we’ve been together. Since we’ve had kids, we’ve gotten them involved with brackets of their own. I picked on behalf of my one year old son (straight chalk), but this year my daughter picked her own games.
The night before the tournament started, I pulled up espn.com and went through all of the games, asking her who she liked: Oklahoma State or Oregon? Memphis or St. Mary’s? VCU or Akron? With the exception of automatically picking the 1 seeds to beat the 16’s in the opening round, I did not veto her when she wanted to knock out a 1 seed in the round of 32 or took five double-digit seeds to the Sweet 16. I entered in her picks, as she gave them to me, and we repeated the process through the entire bracket. Then we watched kids videos on YouTube, (including the very painful ABC Rap).
So here’s the deal: my beautiful four-year old, who earlier this year saw a basketball game on TV and called it “football”, is absolutely killing it with her bracket. As of this writing (three days into the tournament, half of the Sweet 16 set), she is in the 99th percentile* on espn.com. Of the seven million brackets on ESPN, only 90,445 are better than hers.
What makes it even cooler is this tournament has a number of big upsets: #12 Oregon getting to the Sweet 16, #9 Wichita State knocking off #1 Gonzaga, #12 Ole Miss over #5 Wisconsin, #13 La Salle over #4 Kansas State, #14 Harvard over #3 New Mexico, #12 Cal over #5 UNLV.
My daughter correctly picked them all.
About the only big upset she didn’t predict was #15 Florida Gulf Coast over #2 Georgetown. Frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t pick that one as she was born on the gulf side of Florida.
I’ll admit: I want to get my bragging in now while I can. As amazing of a run as she’s having, I’m skeptical about her picks of Oregon over Louisville, North Carolina over Kansas, and Temple over Indiana. But if this tournament has shown anything, it’s that the top seed overlook the lower ones at their own risk.
Her Final Four? She has Ohio State, Duke, Florida, and Temple, with home state Florida winning it all. You can snicker at that Temple pick, or you let me know how your bracket is doing.
Oh, that’s right. You’re getting smoked by a four-year old girl.