Every year on Selection Sunday, the crack staff at ESPN throws a hastily copied and scribbled bracket in front of us while we are waxing poetic about teams, players and coaches on our Bracketology show. We are expected, within five minutes, to pick every game of the NCAA tournament, and to do so reading the penmanship of a young staffer who writes far less legibly than a doctor with the shakes during an earthquake.
Of course, even the cerebral powers of The Bilastrator are challenged in just five minutes, especially sitting next to Digger Phelps, who is screaming about some indignity befalling his Irish in 1978, and Jay Williams slapping the floor insisting that he actually guarded someone during his illustrious career.
So, even though The Bilastrator will stick with his five-minute picks and live with them, you should not have to. For your benefit, The Bilastrator will pick every game with the benefit of more than five minutes so that complex calculations can be done and analytics can be applied. The Bilastrator does this so that you may win your office pool and take the glory of March Madness. As always, you're welcome.
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Round of 64
No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 16 Southern: No 16-seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed, and it will certainly not happen here. Gonzaga is too big and too good. The Zags advance to take on the winner of Pittsburgh and Wichita State.
No. 8 Pittsburgh over No. 9 Wichita State: Pittsburgh goes 10 deep with no stars. The Panthers are a very good offensive rebounding team, ranking fourth in the nation in getting more than 40 percent of their own misses. Pitt does not shoot free throws well but is in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Wichita State is also an outstanding rebounding team and has the chops to hang with Pitt on the glass. The Shockers rank among the top 10 defensive rebounding teams in the country. Because Pitt is better on the offensive end, The Bilastrator favors Pittsburgh, and the Panthers will move on to face Gonzaga.