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Anatomy of Madness: The Coin Flip Bracket

When you have nothing to lose, the fun really begins.

I don't remember when it started, but a few years ago I decided that in addition to filling out normal brackets for March Madness, I would also fill out a bracket decided entirely by chance. And thus, my annual coin flip bracket was born.

As has been the case since I started this tradition, my coin flip bracket is up on ESPN, and can be found here during the course of the tournament, if you want to point and laugh at it. (I know I will.) [Obligatory author's note: Off Tackle Empire and its parent companies do not sponsor and are not liable for the results of this bracket.]

Let's break this craziness down by region:


In the opening round, only three of the top seeds advanced to the round of 32: the 2, 3, and 7 seeds. In every other Round of 64 (I flatly refuse to call it the "second" round) game, the higher seed went over, including the never seen in real life but coin flip bracket staple 16 over 1 upset. Some semblance of order was restored in the next round, as Pitt and Kansas advanced as one might expect, and 13 over 12 is not too surprising in the grand scheme of things, but Dayton refused to play nice, and upset Syracuse. From that point on, though, some logic prevailed, and #2 seed Kansas emerged from the ravaged South.


Here, the bracket was more consistent, and actually looked like picks a normal, rational person might make. The upsets of Michigan State and North Carolina would break my real bracket, but here are just par for the course. The bigger surprise comes from both of those teams advancing to the Sweet 16 as well. Alas, both would bow out to the top two seeds in the region, and #1 seed Virginia emerges from the only somewhat surprising East.


The West was chalk on the edges, and #TeamChaos in the middle of the bracket, as five double digit seeds advanced to the round of 32. After the chaotic opening, the West quickly settled down into a near-mirror of the East, where the top two seeds again met in the regional final, only this time, the #2 seed Wisconsin prevailed.


Finally, the Midwest region, where things were not completely chalk, though were reasonably within the bounds of "it's likely someone out there has, could, or will in fact pick this." Manhattan over Louisville is the only shock of the round of 64, though Tennessee's run in the bottom half of the bracket is a major surprise. Eventually, though, the world rights itself, and #1 seed Wichita State advances to meet Wisconsin in the Final Four.


On one side, Virginia vs. Kansas. On the other, Wisconsin vs. Wichita State. Neither of those matchups is incomprehensible, as my coin flip Final Fours tend to be (one year, I had Cornell winning it all. They were a double digit seed that year). Emerging to meet for the national championship are the ACC champion Virginia Cavaliers, and the undefeated Missouri Valley champion Wichita State Shockers. In the end, the Hoos prevail, and my coin flip national champion is Virginia!

And there you have it. My bracket is set, with some craziness as always, but more than a few picks that could look genius by the close of business Sunday. I know a few people out there have made their own coin flip brackets, so if you'd like to share yours down below, I'm sure we'd all appreciate it.