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March 21, 2011

Bracketless Bracket: Sweet Sixteen Update

The first two real rounds of the thoroughly entertaining 2011 tournament are over, and two things are abundantly clear. First is that our student-athletes should spend more time learning when is and isn't an appropriate time to foul. Second is that Brian Westbrook (no, not that one) will not be winning this year's Bracketless Bracket tournament. Over the course of just two games, every single team in Westbrook's bracket has lost, meaning he can earn no more points in this competition. Since he already has the lowest point total, he will definitely be the overall loser of the Bracketless Bracket tournament. (Indeed, everyone else has at least one team left in his or her pool.)

Unlike, say, traditional bracket tournaments where you could pick Texas-San Antonio to win the whole shebang, it is impossible to tank in the Bracketless Bracket. Even if you start out with the lowest possible max score by picking every team from the same region, you'll still end up in the middle of the pack. That's why Westbrook's feat is truly impressive. His choices of Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Texas were an impressive top four that could have easily met in Houston in April. Instead, they all lost to inferior competition in the second round.

While Westbrook's shot at glory is over, there is now a clear favorite in the Bracketless Bracket tournament. With both the highest current and potential scores, Joel Landas is dominating the competition. Not only are his top four of Kansas, North Carolina, Connecticut and Wisconsin still alive, but he also has 5-seed Arizona, 8-seed Butler, 10-seed Florida State, 11-seed Marquette, and 12-seed Richmond. (And for good measure, he also had 13-seed Morehead State, which shocked Louisville in the opening round.)

While Landas is ahead, his victory is by no means assured. Almost half the field still has a chance to catch him in the coming weeks. We'll keep you updated as the tournament progresses!

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