So, your bracket is perfect.
You knew better than to pick Princeton over Notre Dame. You reread recaps of Middle Tennessee State’s win over Michigan State last year and convinced yourself not to make the same mistake again. You doubted Vanderbilt’s ability to comprehend the Arabic numeral system. And you remembered that Maryland’s biggest strength was shooting itself in the foot. You read your KenPom — some (not us) would say too much KenPom — and you came into Thursday ready to claim the only real Cinderella at the end of the dance: the $40 work pot you’re going to take your significant other to Friday’s with.
Except — and I really hate to do this — you’re not alone. In fact, you’re not even unique.
After Day 1 of the NCAA tournament, 154,283 of the 18.8 million entries in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge remain perfect. Compare it with 2016, when “just 14,525 — or 0.1 percent — out of the approximately 13 million Tournament Challenge brackets were a perfect 16-for-16.” As for 2015? Only 273 out of 11.57 million.
Thursday was strangely straight-forward when it came to everyone’s favorite 68-team one-game-elimination amateur basketball tournament. Only two lower seeds won — Middle Tennessee State and Xavier — but if you looked at the right projection system or gambling line, you would’ve seen both of them listed as favorites. Plus, of the 16 games played on Thursday, just seven were decided by fewer than 10 points. The madness of Day 1 was that it really wasn’t mad at all.
But don’t fret, my friend. Instead, cherish the fact that you were part of the less-than-1 percent for one day. You’ll likely soon be back with the common people. But alas! All of your goals aren’t out of reach: Friday’s just brought back unlimited appetizers.