I made a promise to myself last year: when Buffalo's in the Tournament, I won't make a bracket. It worked out OK for me, so I'll probably stick to it.
But I did last year make a for-fun bracket imagining a perfect scenario for UB fans. Let's do that again:
I see people saying this region is hard, but that's only true if you want to use your bracket to win money.
Elite Eight: Buffalo over UConn
Gotta give a nod not only to Donyell Marshall's alma mater, but also to Warde Manuel's intermediate stop between his great stretch at UB and his bigtime job at Michigan now.
Others of note:
UNC-Asheville gets a run just so Buffalo can beat them in revenge for that Kenny George game years ago. 7'8 is just too much.
Temple losing is I hope obvious. Arizona gets a bump considering their in-state rival. Hawaii gets a bump as the home of Bull Run's Conrad Mostiller, and South Dakota State gets notice as Step One in UB's trip to the Dance last year.
Elite Eight: Chattanooga over Wisconsin
Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!
Last year we had Turner Battle make it with UAB, and now Reggie gets a shot. If not for Blake Hamilton, we might have changed our name to "Moc Run" this week. On the other side, considering Nate Oats and Lance Leipold, Wisconsin teams get a number of bumps in here.
Others of note:
Two Bull Run editors once lived in LA, so USC gets a nice little run. I could make a case for Xavier winning for taking Matt Stainbrook off our hands, or losing for taking Matt Stainbrook, period. I went with the latter.
I had fun with the West Virginia guys last year, so they can win a few in my book. Stony Brook must lose.
The 16-1 was tempting for all sorts of reasons: FGCU-USC would be a delicious matchup for USC head coach Any Enfeld, and Farleigh Dickinson was victim to one of the most incredible comebacks in UB history, but UNC gets it for their role in Reggie Witherspoon's first game.
Notre Dame is the big loser here. In either of the other non-Buffalo regions, Mike Brey's group would be through for their coach's connection to UB Football, but they run into Reggie and even before that the attention to Oats and Leipold.
Elite Eight: Oregon over VCU
We played VCU this year, so we want them to look good, but Jon Jones won an NCAA National Championship in Oregon, qualified this weekend for the World Championships in Oregon, and will compete in Oregon at those World Championships this week. Point, Ducks.
Others of Note: More Wisconsin love for Green Bay, and another 2015-16 opponent in St. Joe's. Duke must lose. Northern Iowa is a MAC affiliate member I don't dislike (looking at you, Binghamton), so they go above Texas, who could have gotten a bump for CJ Massinburg. Baylor I still have good feelings about from those football games, for some reason.
Elite Eight: Iowa State over Michigan State
After the gofundme fundraising for Coach Oats earlier this season, Iowa State is a shoe-in for the Final Four in my book. They also benefit from a lower half of the bracket that has no one we really care about for any reason.
Others of Note:
Again, the bottom of this one stinks. Syracuse must lose, and otherwise there's a whole lot we don't care about. Fresno State gets the run because we played them in Men's Hoops back in, like, 2005.
Purdue and Hampton both get runs as former homes of current UB Coaches, with Trena Peel's Hampton winning out over Sandy Calfo's Purdue. Texas Tech over Butler is I guess a small concession to CJ Massinburg's home state that didn't happen with the Longhorns.
Little drama here: Buffalo on one side, Reggie Witherspoon on the other? A perfect national championship matchup.