Creating a Weird and Wild March Madness Bracket (Part Two: Sweet Sixteen Edition)

One last dance before the actual Dance continues.

By Alexandra Cadet

Friends, I have bad news.

Remember how I was gloating about my tournament picks in part one of my weird bracket series? Well…things didn’t go to plan. I don’t want to delve into details, but let’s just say that the Iowa Hawkeyes and Baylor Bears are not on my good side for the foreseeable future. Thanks a bunch…for nothing.

But instead of stewing in my own defeat, I’ve decided to channel this negative energy into constructing one final bizarre bracket (I should totally trademark that!) for the Sweet Sixteen. I’ll be making my picks based on anything but seedings, since those have proven irrelevant so far anyways. Here are the results of my exploits.

Sweet Sixteen

Judging Criteria: Jersey Quality

UNC vs. South CarolinaThe battle of the Carolinas is a close one, with both teams going for something sleek and simple. Some really odd line design on the Gamecocks’ part gives the W to UNC. WINNER: UNC

Creighton vs. Iowa StateI’m sorry, but the Blue Jays’ fit is just way too blue. If you’re gonna make your jersey one solid color, make sure it’s an inoffensive one à la UNC. WINNER: Iowa State

Maryland vs. Stanford Why is there a swatch of checkered black-and-yellow fabric on the Terrapins’ left pant leg? Is it high art, or perhaps high camp? And why does it make the overall look 100x better? WINNER: Maryland

Ohio State vs. TexasIt was a missed opportunity for Texas to not put the Longhorn mascot on the jersey. However, they win this battle nonetheless, thanks to Ohio State using the ugliest font that I have ever seen. I’ll never badmouth Comic Sans again. WINNER: Texas 

Tennessee vs. LouisvilleThe Lady Vols take this, solely because of all the orange. We need more orange in sports. WINNER: Tennessee

South Dakota vs. Michigan →  Conversely, the Wolverines lose this, because we need less yellow in sports (looking at you, Iowa. Thanks again…for nothing). WINNER: South Dakota

Notre Dame vs. NC State Notre Dame’s blue-and-gold getup is arguably the best color combination in this bracket. NC State’s jersey is okay, but for a team called the Wolfpack, it’s more of a whimper than a howl. WINNER: Notre Dame

Indiana vs. Connecticut The “IU” insignia on the Hoosiers’ pants really makes the whole ensemble pop, and the Huskies’ red-and-blue lining is pretty daring. The tiebreaker here is that I’d want to wear Indiana’s and admire Connecticut’s. WINNER: Indiana

Elite Eight

Judging Criteria: My Thoughts on the College’s Home State

UNC vs. Iowa State → I visited North Carolina once. It was fine. And frankly, I don’t like corn enough to give Iowa the edge here. WINNER: UNC

Maryland vs. Texas → Both states are far from my favorite, but the commute to Maryland is more convenient. WINNER: Maryland

Tennessee vs. South Dakota → Tennessee, hands down, because I long to see all of Graceland’s glorious tackiness in person. WINNER: Tennessee

Notre Dame vs. Indiana → It appears that my criteria has backfired; both of these schools are in the same state. Using their campus quality as a tiebreaker, the win goes to Notre Dame. WINNER: Notre Dame

Final Four

Judging Criteria: Quality of the College’s Food

Tennessee vs. Notre Dame → Notre Dame has the advantage in terms of rankings on Niche, and any college that has a waffle maker in their cafeteria has my vote. WINNER: Notre Dame

UNC vs. Maryland → Maryland wasn’t given a ranking on Niche, so I’ll base my judgements off of Spoon University. UNC seems to have plenty of delicious restaurants nearby…but Blaze Pizza is my favorite place for takeout, and there’s one right next to Maryland’s campus. Yes, I’m bending the rules and counting off-campus food. Go sob into your pillow about it. WINNER: Maryland

Maryland will look towards their offensive strength to take them past the Stanford Cardinal in the Sweet Sixteen. (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

Just like that, we’ve arrived at the final. Since this is the last weird prediction I’ll be making, I want to end it off with something strange. And what’s more strange than normalcy amidst chaos?


Judging Criteria: Chance of Winning the Game

Notre Dame vs. Maryland → This matchup would be a scoring bonanza. Notre Dame are extremely fast on transitions, and Maryland have plenty of attacking firepower to spare. On their day, both teams could feasibly break 100 in terms of scoring, making this game a bit of a toss-up. But the Fighting Irish have more momentum behind them thanks to their dominant 108–64 win over Oklahoma; they’re also used to facing tougher opposition in their conference compared to Maryland. So when it comes down to it, I have to send the Championship home to (sigh) Indiana. WINNER: Notre Dame 

Finally, my weird bracket journey has concluded. Now I may rest…at least until the Elite Eight games come around and wreck my actual bracket AGAIN. 

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