Haiku Challenge window closing; vote before noon today!; plus who'll win NCAA Tournament: Poll. Vote now!; also, my bracket, history of Hurricanes and other state schools in the Big Dance & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is THURSDAY, MARCH 17. Happy St. Patrick's Day! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why Hurricanes' NCAA path isn't that scary, March Madness betting odds, tourney's worst teams academically, Hot Button Top 10, Year of the Rat remembered, Dolfans' free agency verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Periscope -- and now newly on Snapchat, too, @upsetbird2.
THE MARCH MADNESS PREDICTOR POLL: The four little play-in games are done, now, today, the real NCAA Tournament starts -- including Miami Hurricanes opening vs. big underdog Buffalo at 6:50 p.m. So, who wins it all? I have listed here, alphabetically, the nine teams that are either top-2 seeds or better than 20-to-1 in the betting odds. Vote for the the one team you think is most likely to be champion. Not the team you want to win, but the team you think will win:
OH NO! IT'S BACK! IT'S OUR 11TH ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE!: The entries are pouring in -- a veritable torrent -- but which I mean we have several ao far. We've done this as long as we've had this blog and it is back for tradition's sake and by unpopular demand. I say unpopular because many of you are intimidated by this contest, or simply do not agree that nothing captures America's mania over the NCAA Tournament and bracketeering better than ancient Japanese short-form poetry. I do not do this for the masses, but for the select, chosen few who await the contest every year with relish. It's sort of like a restaurant menu that offers liver. Few like it, but the few who do love it. You may know that a haiku is a 17-syllable poem. (Not 16! Not 18!) Ideally it's in 5-7-5 structure but we're loose with that. Rhyming is OK but not necessary.
Three simple but hard-fast rules:
1. If your poem is 17 syllables exactly and it's about the NCAA Tournament/March Madness/college hoops, it's a valid entry.
2. You may submit entries ONLY one of two ways: In this blog's 'Comments' section below, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (No Twitter entries please!!). You may enter as many haikus as you wish.
3. Entries close Friday (today) at noon, with the winner to be announced later Friday.
Prize, you ask? I dunno, maybe a Dolphins media guide? A chance to visit the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on a Tuesday we're in-studio? We'll figure something out. In any case, do it for the sheer glory and to flex your creativity, not for the prize. OK, ready? Get the mind revving. The entry window has banged open. Haiku!
MY BRACKET: I have Kansas and North Carolina in the Final Four (no surprise), but against two opponents who'd be huge surprises to get that far. My FF has Kansas beating Texas A&M and UNC beating Iowa State. I have the Miami Hurricanes getting to the Elite Eight before bowing to the Jayhawks. We'll update you daily on how our bracket is doing. Got three out of four right in the play-in games. Our winners in today's/Thursday's 16 games games are, in order of tip-off times: Duke, Butler, UConn, Iowa State, Baylor, Virginia, Kansas, Purdue, Miami, Indiana, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Kentucky, Providence and Gonzaga.
THE LIST: NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS BY STATE SCHOOLS: NCAA Tournament men's Division 1 basketball, listed by number of appearances/invites:
Team Apps. Games Record Last Best result
Florida Gators 19 59 42-17 2014 National champions 2006, '07
Florida State Seminoles 14 29 15-14 2012 National championship runnerup 1972
Miami Hurricanes 8th 13 6-7 2016 Sweet 16 2000, '13
Jacksonville Dolphins 5 9 4-5 1986 National championship runnerup 1970
Central Florida Knights 4 4 0-4 2005 All 1st-round losses
South Florida Bulls 3 5 2-3 2012 3rd round 2012
Florida A&M Rattlers 3 4 1-3 2007 2nd round 2004
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 2nd 3 2-1 2016 Sweet 16 2013
North Florida Ospreys 1 1 0-1 2015 1st-round loss
Florida Atlantic Owls 1 1 0-1 2002 1st-round loss
Florida International Panthers 1 1 0-1 1995 1st-round loss