There's just something about going crazy trying to fill out a bracket that will end up being torn to bits in three days.
It definitely wouldn't be March without the madness and this year's tournament is sure to be one of the best in recent years.
At least 10 teams could win the national championship while history is in the making for a team trying to end the season undefeated as well as a senior walk-on on the brink of scoring 3,000 points.
Furthermore, because of the large amount of stellar teams, some received lower seeds (4 Lousville and 4 Michigan State) than I expected, making it tough to choose a winner.
Trying to figure out the Kiss of Death, I mean Midwest, was definitely a challenge. Three of last year's Final Four teams are in that bracket - 1 Wichita State, 2 Michigan and Louisville.
That's why my bracket looked more like one of my kindergarten coloring projects when I finished.
Not that you asked, or should use my bracket as an example, here is how I narrowed it down.
Since Big 12 ball is what I've watched the most this season, I decided to start filling out my bracket with those teams.
For every team but Kansas State (matched up against Kentucky), I gave the Big 12 team the win.
Why? These teams played in the toughest conference in America. If that doesn't prepare you for the NCAA Tournament, I don't know what will.
That changes in the third round.
2 Kansas vs. 7 New Mexico
KU head coach Bill Self said on Monday that doctors said Joel Embiid should be healthy enough to play in the Sweet Sixteen. For the Jayhawks to get that far, they have to beat a solid New Mexico team that touts a talented inside-out attack offensively. Andrew Wiggins will have to keep stepping up for Kansas during the tourney but so will the other players around him.
3 Iowa State vs. 6 North Carolina
Iowa State is the best team in the Big 12, in my opinion. The Cyclones' versatilty on offense provides matchup nightmares for the opposition. DeAndre Kane against Marcus Paige will be a point guard battle for the ages.
9 Oklahoma State vs. 1 Arizona
Oklahoma State has been playing its best ball as of late. The Cowboys are playing together behind their four biggest offensive threats - Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Phil Forte and Le'Bryan Nash. While Arizona isn't the best offensive team, it is one of the best in the nation defensively.
6 Baylor vs. 3 Creighton
If this game was anywhere other than San Antonio, Creighton would be a no-brainer. However, with the Bears playing only 181 miles away from Waco, the sixth man is sure to make an effect. However, will the fan support help Baylor control the best player in the nation, Doug McDermott, as well as defend the perimeter better than the Bears have all season?
7 Texas vs. 2 Michigan
The Longhorns will hope to play like they did against West Virginia in the Big 12 Championships when they face Michigan. Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley will be big, no pun intended, for UT in the front court. It also wouldn't hurt if Javan Felix went off from the perimeter. Defensively, Texas will have to work to contain one of the nation's most efficient offenses in Michigan.
Now, let's back up and look at the bracket by regions.
Because Kansas will be without Embiid for the first few games, I have New Mexico pulling the upset in the third round. Syracuse would eventually defeat the Lobos and end up facing the overall No. 1 seed Florida. Syracuse started the season as one of the hottest teams in the country before slipping through the end of the regular season. Florida, however, hasn't lost since December. The Gators advance to North Texas.
1 Virginia makes it to the Sweet Sixteen before encountering a popular pick in Michigan State. Because of its run in the Atlantic-10 Tournament paired with its strong regular season finish, I have St. Josepth's as my Cinderella team. The Hawks advance to the Sweet Sixteen before getting dominated by 3 Iowa State. Here's where my choice becomes unpopular with many people - the Cyclones the Spartans and advance to the Final Four.
The fact that these games are played in San Antonio makes all the difference in one area of the bracket. Baylor defeats old Big 12 foe Nebraska and narrowly defeats McDermott and Creighton to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. At that point, I honestly flipped a penny and ended up with BU defeating Wisconsin to advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the last five years. 1 Arizona will be waiting there, after narrowly defeating the Bedlam teams - Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Arizona defeats Baylor to move to the Final Four.
Wichita State's hopes of going undefeated are shattered by Louisville in a rematch of last year's Final Four. The Cardinals advance to the Elite Eight where they await the winner between Duke and Michigan. Led by Jabari Parker, the Blue Devils hang on to defeat the Wolverines. However, Duke falls to Russ Smith and Louisville as the Cardinals head back to the Final Four.
In my Final Four, Florida will take on Iowa State and Arizona would face defending champ Louisville. The Gators will continue to play basketball at a high level while the Wildcats find a way to edge out the Cardinals, making my final two Florida vs. Arizona.
This is where the loss of Brandon Ashley hurts Arizona. Furthermore, the Wildcats don't shoot well from behind the arc, something they need against a deep and experienced Gator squad.
Florida will cut down the nets in AT&T Stadium.