The #1 thing that makes sports interesting is the suspense. That's kind of what makes anything interesting, really, but sports are better than movies or books at producing it. Suspense, not action, is what keeps us interested, otherwise hockey would be a fifty billion dollar business and baseball would've never left the semi-pro ranks.** ESPN finally realized this by no longer showing you which draft prospect was on the phone during a particular pick and everybody said thank you, why did you even start that in the first place? (Because as a media entity, their first instinct is to scoop rather than entertain.)
So I should be all kinds of pissed off at the narcissistic attention whore who decided to leak the bracket early. But I'm not. Because, facing the prospect of a bloated two-hour selection show "featuring more analysis and interviews" (and as a totally unintentional consequence, more ads) I just decided to extend my Tivo-enabled middle finger to CBS. I taped the thing, stayed off the internets, started watching an hour late, and zipped through everything that looked unrelated to an actual bracket or a few discussion bones about my teams. It took 45 minutes. It was wonderful. CBS can lard up the show all it likes with inane blabber and money grabs, but I'm not going to look at any of it unless they put it back to an hour, tops. Just the matchups, ma'am. Don't care what some guy in a suit thinks about them.
And as a bonus, the bracket leak embarrassed CBS and called attention to the fact that people don't actually want to put up with their shit.
Now for the bracket itself. It sucks. Mainly because of Chicago. And who UVA will play in Chicago, if they earn their way there. Chicago attracts Purdue and MSU grads like you wouldn't believe. The committee handed the #1 seed two road games blocking the way to the Final Four. It's no wonder the whole world is picking MSU to get there instead. Well, that and they've beaten us the last two years and Tom Izzo is postseason gold. The pundits love this, though - it's the really easy way out from picking all #1 seeds to make the FF.
Of course, UVA-MSU requires each team to win three games - but MSU is a near-lock to hold up its end of the bargain. Conventional wisdom is that Seton Hall has the best chance to knock them off before then, but Seton Hall has to get past Gonzaga and most likely 3-seed Utah - though Utah isn't much of a 3-seed. And besides the fact that MSU won the last two games, now they come into the tournament as the top three-point shooting team in the country.
It sets up perfectly for them, really - Chicago, a fairly easy path to at least the E8, and the lifeblood of every Sparty in existence: DIZREZPEKT. Putting UVA #1 over them is actually a fairly easy decision for two reasons: the ACC is by every metric a tougher conference than the B1G, and MSU's strength of schedule is middling while UVA's is elite. The main argument against it is "well UVA isn't a conference champion," which given that both teams were 13-5 in the regular season and made the conference championship game, basically boils down to "we beat the #4 team in the conference but you lost to #1." It would've been maybe a good idea for them not to put four sub-300 teams in KenPom's rankings on their OOC. But despite the logic, you'll never get a Sparty to believe their 2 seed is anything but ACC bias (even though their AD is like the #2 guy on the committee) and disrespect on a galactic scale, which is exactly how they like it.
All we can do is hope UVA gets to that E8 game in Chicago and then brings the single best game they've ever played in the Tony Bennett era.
**I'm not trashing baseball. I love baseball. It's like 250 little mini-dramas - at least one every pitch - rolled into one beautiful sunny afternoon.