Entering NCAA Tournament brackets into online contests is becoming an amazingly popular event each March, and the hype leading up to this year's 2nd Annual Bucket Squad Sports Reports (Your #1 Source for All Things Sports) Mega March Madness Matchup Monstrosity certainly did not disappoint. BSSR and ESPN combined to receive a whopping 20 million brackets in their respective bracket challenges this year, and out of all those entries, only 658 brackets (0.003%) remain perfect.
Most brackets were busted in the second game on Thursday when Virginia's seasoned point guard Kihei Clark unexpectedly threw an ill-advised, cross court pass after being trapped in the corner with mere seconds on the clock. Furman's big man intercepted the pass and kicked it ahead to JP Pegues, who knocked down a smooth three with two seconds on the clock to eventually win it for the 13-seed Paladins.
That wasn't the biggest upset of the day, however, as that title belongs to the 15-seed Princeton Tigers, who battled back and hung on for dear life to bounce Arizona by a score of 59-55. The Wildcats went ice cold offensively down the stretch, scoring just six points in the final ten minutes of action. As the team who cost me a shot at the BSSRMMMMM crown last year (see this article to find out why), I wasn't mad at all to see Arizona lose yesterday.
Aside from those two games, we didn't have many that came down to the wire. (8) Maryland erased an early 13-point deficit to defeat (9) West Virginia in Thursday's opening game, and (4) Tennessee nearly surrendered an 18-point lead to (14) Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajuns went on a fierce run in the second half when their threes finally started falling, but the Vols hung on for a 58-55 win. I'd also throw in (5) San Diego State's grind-it-out win over (12) Charleston to this category, as the Aztecs ended up winning by just six points in a game that was back and forth throughout. They ended an 11-game losing streak from the Mountain West Conference in the NCAA Tournament.
There were several blowouts in Thursday's games as well. (1) Alabama, (1) Kansas, (2) Texas, (2) UCLA, (5) Duke, and (10) Penn State all impressively won by 20-plus points, with Penn State's being the most shocking as the Nittany Lions were the underdogs to (7) Texas A&M.
The SEC had a very strong showing on Thursday, as (7) Missouri, (8) Arkansas, and (9) Auburn all handled their respective opponents by around ten points each. Adding in the other three games of the day featuring in an SEC team (Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas A&M), the SEC finished at an impressive 5-1 through day one of the first round.
Now for the information that everyone has been waiting for: the first leaderboard of the 2023 Mega March Madness Matchup Monstrosity. We had seven people enter a bracket again this year, and the last perfect bracket was busted after just the second game of the tournament. As a brief recap, correct picks in the first round are worth ten points and double in value across each round. Therefore, here are the values on a round-by-round basis:
With all that said, we do have a first place bracket after 16 games of the tournament. Here's the leaderboard after day one of the opening round:
1. winning bracket (130 points)
2. Trizzy Tre (110 points)
T3. Disappointing (100 points)
T3. Drew (100 points)
T5. Back2Back (90 points)
T5. Micah's Bracket (90 points)
T5. Swatson (90 points)
Check back tomorrow for another update after all first round games have concluded.
Written by Nick Swatson