If you took the favorites, your brackets are golden. Every No. 1 seed, every No. 2 seed and every No. 3 seed still is playing. Two No. 4 seeds have advanced. So has Purdue, a No. 5 seed, and Arizona, a No. 12.
By beating Utah and Cleveland State, did the Wildcats prove they deserved a men's NCAA basketball tournament berth? No. A berth is a reward for a successful season, and Arizona's season was mediocre. What the Wildcats proved is that, when they had to be good, they could be.
They also proved that Cleveland State, which resembled the Boston Celtics of Bill Russell and the Los Angeles Lakers of Magic Johnson in its victory against Wake Forest, is less than a world beater.
The first four days of the tournament did not yield the drama and excitement we feel we are owed. I was in Greensboro for the game othat kicked the tournament off. I followed Louisiana State as the players bounced three basketballs across a gray linoleum floor, onto a blue carpet down to the Greensboro Coliseum court. I wondered what the first game, first day and first four days would offer.
What they offered is a compelling reason to watch this week.
Three of my Sweet 16 teams failed to make it. I picked Wake Forest and Florida State to advance, not because I love Wake Forest or Florida State but because I was not impressed by the opposition. I should have been, obviously. More painful is my Arizona State pick. I picked Arizona State to upset Syracuse and Oklahoma and advance to the Elite Eight against North Carolina.
My Elite Eight is Louisville, Michigan State, Connecticut, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Villanova, North Carolina and Arizona State, my Final Four Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh and North Carolina, my final two Louisville and Pitt and my national champion the Louisville Cardinals.
I don't get to change now. You don't, either.
Lastly, the two local schools, North Carolina and Duke, play the late games, games that will begin about 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday.
A lot of us will be dragging at work Friday morning. But if we pace ourselves we'll recover by 7:07 p.m. when Louisville plays Arizona.