Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It's the last chance to dance in the Bracket Fiasco


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Fair warning: If you haven't entered our Bracket Fiasco, you have a few hours -- a scant few hours, I stress -- to do so. In addition to the traditional Final Four sweatshirt, this year's winner will receive a Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone and accessories from Verizon. (Total value: $950.)

Already the NCAA tournament has produced three eye-opening results in its First Four: Tennessee, which wasn't a lock to make the field, surged from 12 points down to beat Iowa in overtime; North Carolina State, which almost nobody thought would make the tournament as of 6 p.m. Sunday, beat Xavier, and Cal Poly, which entered the Big West tournament at 10-19, beat Texas Southern and is now among the last 64 teams standing.

The Big Orange had a big night. (Al Behrman/AP)

Now Cal Poly gets to play unbeaten Wichita State on Friday, and you'd have to think the Mustangs' road will end there. But you never know. As for N.C. State: The Pack stand a very good chance of reaching the round of 32 -- No. 5 seed Saint Louis is next up, and the Billikens have lost four of five. As for Tennessee: The Vols have won five of six (with the loss coming against top-ranked Florida) and figure to take down No. 6 UMass in the round of 64.

The Big Dance begins in earnest at 12:15 p.m. today, and if you pay attention to basketball in the Buckeye State, you'll be watching. First Ohio State plays Dayton in one of those obvious-rivalries-that-isn't -- kind of like Wichita State-Kansas, or Georgetown-Maryland, or Kentucky-Louisville circa 1982 -- and then Cincinnati faces Harvard in a game being tabbed as another Crimson upset. (Harvard beat New Mexico last March. But I like the Bearcats today.)

But what, you ask, do I know? The answer, as ever, is not much. Every year the Bracket Fiasco underscores the point. But I fill out a bracket all the same because ... well, because it's fun. And if you fill out a Bracket Fiasco bracket, you could have yourself a new phone plus glory untold, and who's not up for (or down with) that?

This word to the wise, then: If you haven't entered, get cracking. It's like the folks over at the Georgia Lottery say -- you can't win if you don't play. So please do. And we thank you in advance.

From myajc.com, our premium site: Key NCAA question -- will No. 4 seeds storm the Final Four?

Also from myajc.com: In this Bracket Fiasco, I like Florida over Louisville.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.