For the first time in the 29-year history of this contest, nobody picked an illegal wild card. We repeat, nobody picked an illegal wild card. Truth is, despite our annual rant against such behavior, we're a little bit disappointed.
Also disappointing were our contestants' selections. One might say "wild" would be a very poor descriptor of their behavior (and even if one might not, we would). Almost half the group (26) chose Kentucky, and no other wild card candidate got more than six votes. Of the 15 teams selected, all but three are seeded between 6th and 9th. And bandwagon choice Kentucky isn't that far out of that range as a #5.
The other two choices are almost opposite sides of the spectrum, even though both choices come from the same Volunteer State. On the good side, Howard lucked into taking a Tennessee team that got a #3 seed on Selection Sunday. On the not-so-good side, three entrants (Biebel 2, Burch, Marshall) picked a team (Middle Tennessee State) that wasn't exactly invited to the Dance.
Here's the full list of wild card selections:
TCU: 6 (Biebel 3, Booth, J Broder, Leo Leach, Reid, B Whiteside)
Florida: 6 (Gallagher, Mash Leach, Rybaltowski, R Schlegel, Tester, Warner)
Virginia Tech: 4 (DiCicco, Goren, R Simon, Templeton 2)
Houston: 4 (Baumgarten 2, M Kleiman, B Peloso, K Sullivan)
Middle Tennessee: 3 (Biebel 2, Burch, Marshall)
Butler: 3 (George B, Fitch, Grossman)
Creighton: 2 (Mad Leach, J Whiteside)
Tennessee: 1 (Howard)
Rhode Island: 1 (D Kedson)
NC State: 1 (Pogach)
Missouri: 1 (Templeton)
Miami-Fla: 1 (M Josephs)
Florida State: 1 (D'Zuro)
Arkansas: 1 (Sciarabba)
The games start tomorrow. We hope you're all in front of a screen.
The above post contains several errors. These are corrected in a follow-up post on March 16th.