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Marken Madness: Covering the LEFT Half of March Madness

So, it’s March. It’s kind of a weird month if I’m being honest. Not a whole lot going on. The weather is decent, I guess. Let’s see, what else. Oh yeah, some schools have spring break so… that’s fun. We didn’t get one. Anything else? Oh yeah, tax day is coming up. Oh wait no, that’s in April. Disregard that last part… well, don’t disregard it, because, you know, the IRS—you know what, just don’t worry about it right now. But yeah, overall I’d say that March is kind of a chill month, especially sports wise. As far as sports go, we really got nothing going on for this month.

HAH! I LIED! This month is about to be fucking electric because MARCH MADNESS IS BACK, BABY! Oh, we are SO BACK!

Holy shit I’ve been waiting TWO YEARS to say that after we all got blue-balled last year by the coronavirus. God, those days were dark. I remember me and my dad were gambling on whether or not the weather man would get the forecast right. I would clip my toenails down to the nub… just so I could feel something.

But I don’t have to worry about that anymore, because the 2021 NCAA Tournament is happening, and man, it’s gonna be a goddamn blood-bath, like the Red Wedding on elephant steroids kind of blood-bath.

In fact, it’s gonna be such a category-5 shitstorm that the board of directors here at Total Frat Move Enterprises decided that I am only fit to cover one half of the tournament, as the madness of the tournament’s entirety would drive me…well… MAD!

So, they brought in a specialist to split the whole tournament with me. TFM Sports-nut Mailman Dave will be covering the entire RIGHT side of the bracket, while I will cover all things on the LEFT side, until we meet in the middle… at the 2021 FINAL FOUR, where our two minds will become one and form an unbeatable alliance.

Alright, now onto the main event: The LEFT side of the bracket. 

Don’t worry, this is just a metaphor, I’m not tearing up my bracket… not yet.

My Overall Consensus:

In the West, or the UPPER left, there’s one team that I’d bet my mortgage on. I may sound like a broken record player, but GONZAGA has a Sunday morning walk to the final four. I say that because the next best team is No. 2 seeded Iowa, who lost to Indiana twice this year. I go to Indiana, and while it hurts me to say this, our team was pure catshit. We just fired coach Archie Miller after an anonymous donor paid $10 Million to buy out the rest of his contract… so yeah, that’s how bad we were. We were an absolute goose egg of a program and Iowa still lost to us TWICE! Kansas holds the No. 3 seed, but those guys are flaccid, and I hear that a few of their best players are placed on some sort of Covid-19 protocol and could potentially miss a game or two. Virginia holds the No. 4 seed, but they are more irrelevant than ever, representing one of the top teams of a spotty ACC. Creighton is the No. 5 seed and yeah they can shoot the lights out at times, but their defense can’t guard a parked car.

While there is plenty of room for upsets in this bracket, Gonzaga has a walk to the final four, and it’s not even a brisk walk, it’s an absolutely stress-free wellness day type of walk.

As you make your way down to the East, or the BOTTOM left side of the bracket, you will see a wounded No. 1 seeded Michigan and a daunting road in between them and a Final Four appearance. Congrats on a great season, but there’s a greater chance they might not even make it to next week. I smell a potential upset with the winner of LSU/St. Bonaventure beating Michigan this weekend. In my opinion, this bracket is wide open. This is the bracket where you see a Cinderella story come to life, similar to the year when Loyola Chicago went to the Final Four. If you recall, that was the same year that No. 1 seed Virginia got curb-stomped by the No. 16 seeded UMBC Retrievers, leaving that bracket wide open for anyone to take a slice. Alabama is the No. 2 seed, and while they are HOT right now, they have a gauntlet of a journey ahead of them. They have to navigate past the likes of an equally hot No. 3 seeded Texas, a No. 4 seeded Florida State team that is just oozing with athleticism, and a sneaky good No. 7 seeded Connecticut.

If you want my advice, get behind one team, and only one, and call it. If anything is certain, it’s the fact that the East is going to be messy. Chances are, when the dust settles, the elite eight matchup is going to look like you drew two teams out of a 16-team hat to play each other. But if I had to support one team to make it out alive, I’d go with Texas. They can break teams down on defense, they can shoot the lights out of the gym, and they got an experienced coach in Shaka Smart. Hook em horns.

Teams on the left that I LOVE:

These are teams that I believe are capable of lasting a few days and could win you some money or respect, whatever you are betting on.

Gonzaga (Obviously)

Creighton (until they play Gonzaga)

Oregon

LSU

Florida State

Michigan State

Texas

Connecticut

Teams on the left that I HATE:

On the flip side, I’ve documented a list of teams that I think will let some people down. Obviously some of these teams are going to win their first game, but I’d say any game after that is a coin-flip. Overall, just stay away from these teams if you can.

Iowa

Kansas

Virginia

Michigan

Alabama (They are damn hot right now, but their journey is a nightmare)

Maryland

Colorado

My Dark Horse Final Four contender: Michigan State

Before you laugh, just hear me out. The Big-10 is without a doubt the best conference in college basketball, as they not only sent a record-setting NINE teams to the tournament, but they got a lot of teams repping some really low seeds in all corners of the tournament. Chances are, if Michigan State survives and advances, it won’t be long before they face another Big-10 team. One could argue that this does not play in favor of Michigan State, as most of the Big-10 has Michigan State’s number. I say this is exactly what Tom Izzo wants: just some good ole fashioned sibling rivalry, and Tom Izzo is the big brother. Big brother always wins. There are few coaches that know March better than Izzo, and one of them (being Coach K) didn’t even make the goddamn tournament! Michigan State is also placed in East, an absolute juggernaut of a bracket. This is the type of bracket where a couple of unpredictable survivors will slip through the cracks… until suddenly it’s the elite eight and only two teams are left dancing. Every team in this bracket has a tough matchup. Thus, if it’s choppy waters for every team, then I think that experience is the closest thing to a lifeboat, and Michigan State has plenty of experience. Even if No. 1 seeded Michigan somehow manages to limp its way to the elite eight, they better not find themselves standing against the Spartans, because if they have to play Tom Izzo and Michigan State, they will lose.

Or Michigan State could lose in the play-in game against UCLA and all of this becomes obsolete. That goes for anything I said above. This blog could be laughing stock by the end of the weekend, and I could spend all of next week eating my words.

Or I’m a genius.

Happy March!

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Written by Henry Marken

I lost my pinky finger at age 4, but then found it again at a soup kitchen when I was 15. Survivor of a wild turkey attack (2008). I went to the University of Phoenix before it was cool to do college online. Currently in a lawsuit with Crayola after a devastating purple crayon incident.

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