Thursday, March 15, 2018

Official 2018 Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament Bracket and No-Holds-Barred Death Match Bracket Challenge


It's that time of year again.  The 2018 NCAA Tournament officially tips off today.  That means millions of college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) will be missing-in-action from school, work and other areas of their lives in which they have all manner of responsibilities to uphold.  

American GDP may temporarily dip anywhere from 10% to 30% for the first two days of March Madness, as the gears of the American economy grind to a near-halt because the nation's workforce has bailed out on work and on its other responsibilities in order to watch the daylong cavalcade of televised NCAA Tournament games.

Hard core fans of college basketball (and degenerate gamblers) are well known for treating the first day of the NCAA Tournament like children treat Christmas morning: they spend weeks, if not months, in eager anticipation of the moment  -- often going so far as to count down the days -- that the Big Dance finally arrives. 

The smartest college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers), however, treat the first day of the NCAA Tournament like children treat Christmas morning for another important reason as well . . . because the first day of the NCAA Tournament is also the day in which Drive and Dish publishes its annual handwritten NCAA Tournament bracket!

And there's another import reason that those same smart college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) count down the days to the release of the official handwritten Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket each year:  It's now just about the only time all year that Drive and Dish actually publishes anything new.

Much as deer spend the waning days of summer feverishly preparing for rutting season in the Fall —bucks viciously lock antlers and fight, instinctively understanding that it will be their only chance all year to procure a female for mating -- the smartest college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) spend their winters in anticipation of reading the enlightened basketball acumen that graces each megabyte of bandwidth used to host the official hand written Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket . . . for they've come to instinctively understand that it could very well be their only chance all year to read the sage basketball wisdom of Drive and Dish!


Drive and Dish began publishing on March 8, 2007, as the major conference tournaments were wrapping up, and just before that year's NCAA Tournament field was revealed to the public by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.  At first, Drive and Dish co founder Mark Buckets wrote earnest articles about college basketball, while yours truly talked trash and published smart-assed, "click-bait" style blog posts written in "hot take" fashion about almost anything that was even remotely connected (however loosely) to college basketball or the NBA.

On the eve of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, yours truly toned down the smart-assery just a hair (though not all the way) in order to publish a rambling mashup of random thoughts about college basketball, titled "Deep Thoughts (About College Basketball)."  In that post, Drive and Dish made its  first official NCAA championship prediction (though it was done in a pretty unofficial manner) when yours truly correctly picked Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford's Florida Gators to sober up just long enough to win the ‘07 national championship:

It's usually easy to identify the best teams in college basketball. There always seem to be at least two or three teams that are significantly better than everyone else, and thus, seem like sure-fire bets to reach the Final Four. That's not the case this year.
A lot of teams are pretty good, but nobody is really good.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Ohio State and Wisconsin top the polls, but they just don't appear to be championship caliber teams. Ditto for for North Carolina and Kansas. The only team I can think of that has what it takes to win a championship is...Florida.                                                                                                             

Hmm, Florida...where have I heard...hey wait, didn't they win the championship last year? And, wow, it looks like they have everybody back from last year's championship team.  

So why haven't they played better this year? Oh yeah! Gainesville is a party town. Those players are rock stars on campus and...they know that they're better than every other team in college basketball. Florida will get serious once the Tournament starts.

Drive and Dish published near daily for the next year or so, and in 2008, we began what would go on to become our now time-honored tradition of publishing our hand written NCAA Tournament brackets early in the morning of the first day of the Tournament (obviously before the games start).

We also filled out handwritten NIT and CBI (and eventually, CIT) brackets just for the hell of it in those days.  Oh, and Mark Buckets truly did yeoman's work back then by live-blogging every game of the Tournament (examples here and here).

Trouble started brewing, though, after Mark's Duke Blue Devils were upset in the first round by a then-unheralded Virginia Commonwealth team.  As soon as Duke slinked off the court after having been stunned and humiliated by VCU, Mr. Buckets abruptly burned out on live-blogging NCAA Tournament games (gotta admit though, live-blogging's not for everybody!) and flaked began to waver in his commitment to basketball blogging altogether (damn Millennials and their flakey troubles with commitment!). 

By that point, yours truly had soured on trash talking and "hot take" styled "click bait" blogging, and had begun to publish longer, better thought out pieces (known today as "long form" writing).  Mark Buckets left Drive and Dish for greener pastures and although yours truly kept pumping out semi-long form blog posts for some time, eventually it became clear that basketball blogging wasn't going to pay the bills (though in fairness, through this blog, we actually received some legitimate offers to write about basketball for well known websites).  Drive and Dish began publishing more and more infrequently, until eventually, the only thing we managed to get up each year was the aforementioned annual handwritten Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket .

We explained it pretty well last year:

Drive and Dish was established in March of 2007.  In our ten years of existence, we've only undergone a handful of changes.  First, after receiving some constructive criticism on our original, basic, plain-as-vanilla Blogspot design, we adopted a slightly more stylized design template (with a Duke Blue Devils-inspired blue, white and black color scheme in order to appease the late Drive and Dish co-founder, "Dukie" Mark Buckets)... 
...Our second major change came when we began posting our hand written NCAA Tournament brackets on the eve of the 2008 Tournament.  Later that year, our third big change occurred when Mark Buckets retired from sports blogging in order to spend more time with hookers and blow his family.  Thereafter, the Drive and Dish blog became a sole proprietorship.

One of the biggest, and most unfortunate changes to Drive and Dish came after "life changes" * forced yours truly to curtail the amount of time spent blogging about basketball. This blog kept going in earnest, but its output slowed down to but a few posts per month.

* "Life changes" can refer to any number of life events that can cause one to reorient one's life priorities, including but not limited to the following: running from unpaid child support payments, tax liens, gambling debts, lost savings in a notorious Ponzi scheme, faking one's own death to get out from under one's debts . . . plus hookers and blow...
...The final change came about in 2013, when the blog went into complete radio silence, with the sole exception of posting the official Drive and Dish handwritten NCAA Tournament Bracket on the morning of the NCAA Tournament's opening day.

Longtime readers know that we're all about tradition here at Drive and Dish, so we're certainly not going to disappoint our readership by neglecting to publish our 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket.  However, this year we've added a twist -- Drive and Dish founder and longstanding Executive Publisher, Executive Producer and Assistant Associate Junior Copy Editor, "S.K." (formerly known around these parts as "T.S.", and sometimes still known as "yours truly") has accepted a challenge from "C.H." to publish dueling brackets in a no-holds-barred, all out battle to the death, handwritten NCAA Tournament bracket death match.

Neither "S.K" nor "C.H." has watched much college basketball this year, though yours truly has seen a few games throughout the season (mostly games from mid-major conferences though).  So really, neither of us is well prepared for this battle.  But we're looking forward to it nonetheless.

That much is tradition here at Drive and Dish.

Thus, in keeping with tradition, we submit our special 2018 Drive and Dish hand written NCAA Tournament death match brackets:

SK (aka, "T.S."):  



Just for the hell of it, here's S.K.'s official 2018 Drive and Dish hand written NIT bracket (there's no challenge, or no-holds-barred death match for this one though, because nobody really cares about the NIT):