Fun Friday: March Madness

We are on spring break with our son Josh this week in Utah and we caught most of the games yesterday. I am not a huge college basketball fan, I prefer the pro game, but there is something about march madness that is so great, particularly these first two weekends where the games come fast and furious.

So I thought we could have some fun sharing our brackets, or our picks, or whatever.

Here’s mine, sorry about the chickenscratch handwriting. I failed penmanship every grade in school for very good reasons.

I’ve got Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Kentucky going to the final four and Kentucky taking the trophy.

How about you?


Comments (Archived):

    1. fredwilson


      1. falicon

        Everyone in our family fills one out, winner gets to pick place we all go out to eat as a family. #GoodTimes

    2. LE

      Knowing nothing about this I am going to go with your bracket.

      1. falicon

        Know very little about NCAA basketball as well…I mostly make my picks based on tidbits I hear from sports talk radio…and then schools I like (like Xavier) and knowing some tendencies (like at least one 12 seeds tends to beat a 5 seed every year — the trick is in picking the right ones) 🙂

        1. LE

          Know very little about NCAA basketball as well…Oh no. I am going to switch to @kidmercury when he shows up!Wish it was called NIT more often though.

      2. TRoberts

        And as someone who is likewise afflicted with sportsball ignorance, I am going to copy your copy.

  1. William Mougayar

    Interesting to note that several sports betting sites are accepting and promoting Bitcoin as the preferred currency.

    1. falicon

      I only gamble on the NFL games – but I used BitCoin to do it this year…*so much* less friction than trying to use U.S. Dollars from within the U.S. to do this sort of thing…

    2. Salt Shaker

      Well, does this help or hurt BTC acceptance as a legit alternative? A move to BTC, in part, was likely done to skirt illegal betting and commerce laws (certainly in the U.S.) The more BTC is associated w/ illegal activity, or even tawdry behavior (as gambling is in some eyes), the more there will continue to be an uphill battle for broad acceptance.

      1. LE

        I can answer that. 100% good. [1] Brings media attention. What I call ‘dead bodies on ebay’ (or was it craigslist). Remember there was a time that Times Square was seedy as well. Real cash is used to buy all sorts of illegal things.[1] Even Travisgate is ultimately good for Uber. Lot’s of free press. Don’t believe me? Look who won the Presidency by saying all the wrong things.

      2. awaldstein

        you are right but that is not the biggest hindrance standing in the way.

      3. William Mougayar

        I think it’s neutral at this point. wagering with btc is still a small segment.

  2. Michael B. Aronson

    Nova to repeat at 8 to 1 odds, I see you “almost” had Princeton, who had open look to win. Know them very well after seeing PENN play them 3x and could have beaten in tournament (OT). Ivy basketball at much higher level than previous years.

  3. Swatick Majumdar

    My son comes in from GTech as well today. The family forever looks forward to these breaks. Quality time these and nothing comes closer. I like Kansas’s chance this year, but I’ll admit it as well that I’m not the most ardent follower of the MM games.

    1. fredwilson


      1. harryh

        I was actually at the game last year (mom went to UNC and is a huge fan). Was really fun except for that last shot.Hopefully I’ll get to go again this year.

        1. creative group

          harryh:Proved our earlier point of women connected to this blog being more knowledgeable than all men combined regarding sports topics but few even post. The men can’t even fake it good.

    2. creative group

      harryh:We can picture you in the Carolina blue tight 1970 shorts yelling and screaming in the student section at the water polo match. :-)This blog is hilarious on sports. Now lets get back to regular programming.

  4. karen_e

    Swan’s going to get into this discussion any minute now, waving around a bottle of Pappy.

    1. andyswan

      I love the call out. It’s not noon yet is it?

      1. pointsnfigures

        St Patty’s Day. No restrictions.

  5. Richard

    Press can’t decide if we should root for these altheltes as men or boys, Fisher-David’s mental snap was unconscionable for a man acceptable for a boy

  6. andyswan

    IMPROVE THE GAME:1) Bonus FT’s should be optional. If you decline, you inbound the ball and defense not allowed to guard in the back court.2) Move the 3 point line back at least to NBA length. My 9 yo son should not be able to shoot 35% from the line that guys are playing at during athletic peak3) Reduce # of timeouts per team to 1 in first half, 2 in second half4) 5th foul no longer ejects player — instead, fouls 6 and on are technical fouls.5) Get REAL in the interviews— everyone is reading from the same script. Total nonsense… say what you mean!Have a great weekend AVC— you guys are the best

    1. LE

      3) Reduce # of timeouts per team to 1 in first half, 2 in second halfWon’t that reduce the amount of advertising that can be sold? (Takes wild guess at this one..)2) Move the 3 point line back at least to NBA length. My 9 yo son should not be able to shoot 35% from the line that guys are playing at during athletic peakWill take a wild guess at this one as well. My theory is that that is part of the entertainment value. Similar to game shows where they seed simple questions that anyone can answer. The questions are easy on purpose. Ditto for reality tv (such as Shark Tank). Businesses that anyone thinks they can do. Even 9 year old contestants.The fact that this bothers you is really confirmation that it’s a good idea. If someone misses you shout out ‘my 9 year old could have made that shot’.

      1. andyswan


    2. Salt Shaker

      A true Libertarian would have ragged on the central powers and antiquated oversight of the NCAA 🙂

      1. andyswan

        oh believe me I can go on and on about that racket

        1. LE

          Watch and learn.

        2. andyswan

          Oh neat… coach gets paid $500k PER MONTH but if I take this bag of groceries from a booster I get banned

          1. Ryan Frew

            LOL – you’re from Louisville, aren’t you?

          2. PhilipSugar

            I have said this. If we want student athletes, then we must have faculty coaches. That means the average salary is about $10k a month.If we really cared we would do two things:Get a scholarship? It cannot be revoked, you cannot revoke a signing letter. Make the kid get 2.5 or better.ANDIf you really care, let the really good kids give two full scholarships to family or friends that keep a 2.5 average.You want to improve situations? And make the NCAA not look like a plantation system (I am from PHL and Charles Barkley says it best)Do that.

          3. Salt Shaker

            Phillip, I think a “plantation” characterization respectfully may be a tad extreme, though no doubt there def is exploitation. Give student athletes a reasonable per diem and a personal travel allowance to be used exclusively for home visitation. It’s a privilege to get an athletic scholarship, and it’s value beyond dollars and cents should not be diminished. Over compensating an athlete takes away from the alleged primary reason they’re attending, and that’s to get an education. Excessive compensation sends the wrong signals on many levels.Conversely, when/if a player leaves early for the NBA or the NFL, for example, and they sign a pro contract, that player should be obligated to reimburse the school for all costs incurred to date (e.g., tuition, room/board). The current NBA minimum is $543K, $465K for the NFL. (If they stick great, if not then that’s the risk they take by turning pro).Once a player signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI) it should be treated as a binding contract between the university and the student athlete, with, of course, caveats/exceptions for breach by either party.Universities and student athletes both need to be held accountable, and actions by either party should have consequences. All this one and done shit (hello Kentucky) has made a farce of the whole educational and student/athlete system, independent of perhaps denying a more “worthy” student an athletic scholarship.

          4. PhilipSugar

            That is Charles Barkley’s quote not mine. And I hate to say he is right.Sign a letter of intent with a school and they over recruit. You know what happens. You lose your scholarship, and get stuck high and dry.Get hurt? Lose your scholarship, stuck high and dry.Want to transfer? You need to get permission AND the coach can give you a list of schools you can’t transfer to, stuck high and dry.What do you think the commissioner makes a year?I’ll give you the answer with deferred benefits well over $2mm a year.I would be embarrassed if this was my business.I love and watch College Athletics but I think the system is crap.

          5. LE

            Are sports at the college level so important that slots have to be taken away from other deserving students who don’t play sports? Because that is what appears to be happening.

          6. PhilipSugar

            No, it’s like having salespeople. They are necessary.

          7. LE

            When I was growing up the smart kid in the neighborhood (who went to Penn and became a well known doctor) used to talk about ‘football colleges’. So I think you are right with regard to those types of colleges in order to grab attention and differentiate yourself. But I don’t think this is necessary for what is a top tier and competitive college. So sure for Rutgers, Penn State and some of those hayseed colleges in the midwest sports is advertising and attention.

          8. creative group

            andyswan:There is huge support of the NCAA not paying players by ex-athletes which is the strangest view ever. It seems because this is a generational divide. The Universities are allowed to share in Billions made on student athletes talent, which actually support non revenue making collegiate sports and womens Athletics via title 9. Pay the Student Athletes a share of revenue making sports and they can pay their own tuition which is the rebuttal given by opponents to paying revenue producing Collegiate Athletics.

    3. pointsnfigures

      We discussed this on FB. Disagree on #1. If you can’t shoot 70% unguarded from 15ft, why are you even in the game. It’s the second easiest shot in the game. 2) agree for the NCAA, but not for HS (men only) 3) keep timeouts, but limit how many you can use in the last two minutes of the game 4) I like the threat of not being in the game. 5) If these kids were themselves, someone in social media would crucify them.Who would have thought Northwestern would be wearing home whites in their first NCAA appearance and who would have thought in a game between NU and Vandy, a mental error would decide it.I missed on one game Day 1. UNC-Wilmington, thought you could pull it off.

      1. andyswan

        OK let’s say you shoot 70% FTs. That means there is a 51% chance you will get one point or less out of the possession. That completely skews the risk/reward of fouling to advantage the team that is down. Stupid!!!It should never be to your advantage to get caught fouling. In what other sport is it an advantage to get caught breaking the rules?

        1. pointsnfigures

          Yes, assume that’s the low. What if the mode of the distribution is 80-85%? A true player can shoot from the charity stripe. That’s why they call it the charity stripe. #23 from the Bulls shot 83%. #32 for the Lakers shot 84%. (My high school team FT% was 77%). Shooting from the line isn’t difficult.

          1. andyswan

            OK… 83%. You’re down…other team has the ball. You foul them intentionally.64% chance they get 2 points. 31% chance they get one. 5% chance they get zero. 0% chance they get three.Still advantageous to foul.The fact is, teams WOULD decline the FTs, even if they shot 90% from the line. They’d rather run the clock. They should have the option of doing so…. the proficiency at shooting FTs is irrelevant. If you want to shoot them, you can… if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

        2. Ryan Frew

          Most sports that I can think of haha. In Soccer, players foul all the time to prevent the build up of a play. In racing, there have been issues with guys recking other guys so that no one could gain points (See: Prost/Senna). One could argue that an intentional walk is taking advantage of breaking the rules. . I’m not saying you’re wrong…it was just a fun thought experiment haha.

        3. JamesHRH

          lots – soccer, water polo, football, hockey….

      2. Salt Shaker

        Re: “mental error”Ya gotta feel for the Vandy kid, but coaches burned all their TO’s early in half. Disadvantage down the stretch. No excuse for player mental error, but coaches partially responsible there too. At the very least, they should have been shouting “no fouls.”

        1. JamesHRH

          coaches over coach.John Wooden never had a player make that mistake, b/c they were never looking to him – during a play – for instruction.

    4. Richard

      Fouls committed to stop the clock in last 2 minutes of play should be permitted to be declined by opposing team (same for NBA).

    5. creative group

      andyswan:We only agree with 2.We have a limited time to address the opposition to the other suggestions you made.But at least wanted to acknowledge you having the kahunas to at least put your thoughts out there for discussion and dissecting.On reviewing the posts regarding anything sports related we come to the realization this blog’s best asset and strength is commenting on anything but sports because the knowlwdge is fair weather fan or what is being discussed without actually knowing sports in general. We have confidence that the majority of women who rarely comment on sports related topics have a better command of sports topics than the men who attempt to fake it here. (The everything Chicago Cubs Championship run being the exception. No true New Yorker would ever wear any apparrel of any other sports team except for losing a bet)The collective interest in sports on this blog would be similar to attempting to discuss Nuclear physics when you only walked by the classroom the course was being conducted on your way to english 202. (No exception to the rule rebuttal because you were on your high school cross country team in 1970)

  7. jason wright

    Sports? OK, I’ll hijack this one.Tomorrow is the first Monument of the cycling season, Milan-Sanramo. 291 km in seven hours. Try to catch the last 50 km for tactics, strategy, drama, and the pain of either victory or defeat.

    1. creative group

      jason wright:like calling speed walking a sport. Very demanding at some point on the human body but calling it a sport is a stretch.

  8. Dave Mullan

    Zags all the way! I think they need to find one more gear to get there though.

  9. pointsnfigures

    North Carolina cuts down the nets.

  10. Tom Labus

    Villanova repeats!!!

    1. creative group

      Tom Labus:The old Big East. A shell of itself. When basketball was can’t miss viewing.

      1. Tom Labus

        No question. That was a tough schedule

  11. jason wright

    You know what they say, give a monkey a typewriter and it will eventually type a completed version of Romeo & Juliet.

  12. Andrew Min

    Gonzaga?!?! no way!!! haha

  13. Frank Garland

    Fred – Your bracket looks a little old school. Now you can make picks as usual but then change teams during live games in exchange for points. Bracket tech hasn’t changed in 20 years. Now there’s no more busted brackets. Check it here. My Final 4 – KY, AZ, SMU, Iowa State. Full disclosure : I work with Realtime Brackets

  14. WA

    ’93 NOLA repeat – NC vs Michigan / NC all the way.

  15. PhilipSugar

    As a Kentucky Colonel I agree.

  16. george

    Great picks but I hope UCLA takes Kentucky down…

    1. creative group

      george:LaVar Ball shares your thoughts. LaVar of Wash State is that you? Hype man…

  17. JaredMermey

    It is amazing that printing and filling out by hand a bracket is still the predominant method of doing so.

  18. creative group

    FRED:The Villanova pick created a slight bump in the road that busted many a bracket.