In March Madness, you live and die by the upsets. And that’s what happened to the “brainy bracket,” my attempt to pick the winners based on their academic ranking in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. I picked Stanford to upset Kansas, and of course Harvard to win in the early rounds. But Duke and Villanova–my eventual winner–crashed out in upsets of their own, sending my bracket from the top to the bottom of the heap.
What does it prove? Absolutely nothing, except that there is enough parity in the tournament to keep things very interesting. In a league where an academic titan like Duke can compete for the title every year (well, almost), that says a great deal about the enduring ideal of the scholar-athlete, for all its imperfections. And who knows–maybe Stanford and Wisconsin will make the Final Four after all. Better half-right than nothing!