The drama. The tension. The spreadsheets. Our Bracket of Celebrity/Pundit Bracket Predictions has only gotten better as Round 2 begins. Did your favorite TV personality and/or politician win the battle of the picks? Come see!
At the half-way point of Round One, we had a few upsets in the making. But in true March Madness style, even predictions made at halftime were likely to end up wrong. (If you're new to all of this, start here.)
1/8 matchup: We saw this one coming, but that doesn't make it any less shocking: The president of the United States was beaten handily by his diminutive YouTube impersonator. Yes, Kid President, an eight-seed (our lowest), beat top-ranked Obama, getting 23 of the 32 predictions right. He took the lead early in the first half and never relinquished it, no doubt souring the end of the president's trip to the Middle East. (Seeds were based on Nate Silver's picks, but more on that below.)
4/5 matchup: SBNation's Chris Dobbertean advanced in unspectacular fashion, but no doubt relieving all of you Chris Dobbertean fans.
3/6 matchup: To the list of things that you are worse than Joe Mantegna at (which should already include "acting" and "being intimidating"), please add "winning things." Mantegna's six-point victory over blogger Matt Norlander was the most lopsided win in Round One.
2/7 matchup: The first of our three ties happened in this game as musician Wale surged in the second half to catch up to College Basketball Insider's Garry Parrish. So how did we calculate the winner? We figured out who got more correct predictions in closer-seeded games. Wale called two of the four 8/9 matchups in the tournament to Parrish's one. So he advances in overtime.
We can't pretend that this is the most popular bracket. We can't. Unless you pay close attention to college basketball, it's possible you're not familiar with some of the names herein. But these are the real pundits. These are the experts. So they deserve respect. (Please note: The average correct predictions in the Celebrity bracket was higher than in this one.)
1/8 matchup: USA Today's Mike Lopresti advances in double overtime over SI's Stewart Mandel.
4/5 matchup: ...but Kelli Anderson gets revenge for her magazine, toppling Eddie Timanus of the colorful hotel-sponsored daily.
3/6 matchup: Meanwhile, in the battle of top SI experts Luke Winn beat Seth Davis, proving who really deserves to be on CBS all month.
2/7 matchup: But USA Today reigns supreme in one aspect: Nicole Auerbach called 25 of the 32 games correctly — the highest figure of any of our competitors. Her opponent, Pete Thamel of The New York Times, got 24 right, enough to win all but one other contests. These are the games the Fates play with our lives.
1/8 matchup: Real Househusband and Atlanta Falcon Kroy Biermann lost to ESPN's Jay Bilas, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with any of those institutions.
4/5 matchup: Rajon Rondo's NBA savvy was no match for college basketball pro Jeff Goodman. May Rondo's failure infect the rest of his teammates, particularly if they face the Knicks in the playoffs.
3/6 matchup: In another overtime match, ESPN's Joe Lunardi squeaked by pundit Bill Cowher. Pittsburgh mourns.
2/7 matchup: Like tearing off a Band-Aid, let's just say this fast. Dick Vitale won. We're no happier than you are, especially since he was down at the half. But his opponent, Jack Jones, stumbled badly during last night's games, and Vitale took and held the lead. Poor, humble Jack Jones, a simple betting firm analyst, the latest victim of Vitale's ceaseless, glassy-eyed steamrolling.
Team CBS region
This is our favorite region. It is amusing to think of people like Sharon Osbourne sitting down and considering the relative athletic merits of Cincinnati and Creighton. (As you'll see, she wasn't good at it.)
1/8 matchup: Mateen Cleaves, as expected, rolled to victory. USA Today loses again.
4/5 matchup: Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports managed to handle Sharon Osbourne quite easily. Sigh. A less scrupulous media outlet would have pretended Osbourne won, just for kicks. But we are journalists, here to accurately report on which mid-level celebrities and unheard-of print reporters were best at predicting the winners of college basketball games.
3/6 matchup: This was the best game in the first round. Aisha Tyler and Charlie Rose came out strong and then both stumbled — enough so that Rose actually took the lead briefly. But Tyler regained and held it, and advances.
2/7 matchup: CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell is better at sports predictions than Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. But he is better at welcoming you into the day with light patter and funny videos of soft animals.
Another important note: Our seeding, accomplished by matching player predictions against Silver's, turned out to be a pretty good predictor of success. There were only two upsets, one of which was a tie. In other words, Nate Silver's predictions only turned out not to work for one person: Barack Obama. Read into that what you will.
Now onto Round Two. Here's how the bracket stands; beneath, a live scoreboard that you will want to check eagerly after every game. Remember: In our round two, each correct prediction by our celebrities and pundits is worth two points, added onto the round one score. Will that make things more exciting? Well, it couldn't make them less. We've particularly got our eye on Lunardi, the ESPN "Bracketologist," going up against Vitale. And Aisha Tyler vs. Nora O'Donnell.