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):


Wrigleyville Illini said...

I’m starting to question Underwood. His teams look lost out there and I don’t think today’s ballers respond positively to all his old skool yelling and in your face coaching. That ish went out with Bob Knight. It’s 2018 and this is not Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers basketball anymore. We need a coach who’s cool with the players and who can recruit 4 Star and 5 Star players to come here.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still on the underwood train. But recruiting has got to pick up real soon or i jump off.

wrigleyville illini said...

OMG!! Leron Black is going pro!!! This sucks ass big time!!! Now we dont have a big under the basket next year at all. Underwood needs to get either 5 star big men or some stud graduate transfers!!!! I mean, Black was undersized as it was, and he was our only big on the whole friggin roster!!! We literally have nobody over 6'4 or 6'5 who can even walk and chew gum. We're gonna freakin suck huge ass next year unless Underwood gets off his arse and gets some real frikken bigs in here next year. Hell, at this point I'm cool with offering recruits $100,000 like Arizona. We need big men now!!!

Wrigleyville Illini said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wrigleyville illini said...

Dude, I meant “friggin” Loyola, not “frisking” loyola. Friggin auto correct!!!

Wrigleyville Illini said...

Friggin AYY dude!!! Loyola wins a tourney game and we’re sittin here with a sub 500 record, an in over his head coach who can’t pull the 5 star McDonalds All Americans in, and our best player just declared for the pros and hired an he’s gone forever.

How the hell does freaking Loyola win a tournament game before we do!!! That’s just not cool!!! I’m so pissed.

I’ve got to sit here at the Cubby Bear and listen to all the freakin Iowa fans throw shade at me and at the Illini. Prolly doesn’t help that I’m dressed head to toe in my Chief Illiniwek costume. Also prolly doesn’t help that I'm 5 or 10 pounds heavier (20-25 lb. IRL) then I was when I dressed up as Chief for Halloween. So the cowhide pants are starting to really get stretched to their breaking point.

Frikkin La Bamba burritos and Natty Light didn’t put as much weight on me back in Chambana as Chipotle and Goose Island (plus Three Floyds and Lagunitas) do now. Dude, gettin older sucks!!! Got to watch what I eat and how much I drink now. Can’t recover from hangovers as quick as I did back at school. Plus at 32, I’m usually the oldest dude in the wrigleyville bars now. Got blown out last Friday at John Barleycorn when I tried to open some coeds home for break. Frikken stuck up beotches!!!

Friggin Loyola. Winning a tourney game at the same time my Illini miss the tournament for the 4th straight year. That really burns my arse. Also, my hairlines not as thick as before. Now every time I go into Murphy's or any of these other wrigleyville bars, I feel like the old man who crashed the frat party. Not cool. But Loyola winning just makes it all sting that much more. I want it to be 2005 again, back when I was in undergrad and the Illini were in the national title game. We were an elite college basketball program back then. Our games were on ESPN. Jay Bilas and the ESPN A-Team would come to the C-U to call our games. Sometimes we'd even get Dan Schulman and Dicky V. Now we can't even get the "C-Team" broadcasters for our Big Ten Network games!!!

Frikken clown shoes Bruce Weber ruined our program, and John Effen Groce and Brad underwood are driving the nail into the coffin!!!

We need to get some shooters and banger type of bigs on this roster ASAP!!! We need some more ball handlers and some slashing wings too. And we need some stretch fours and a legit rebounding big, and....

Damn. We freaken need players at every freaking position!!! We suck arse !!! And I'm sick and tired of sucking arse!!!

Oskee Wow Wow.

Long live the Chief!!!

S.K. said...

Wrigleyville Illini,

Please watch your language. We allow quite a bit of linguistic leeway in our comments section, but there have to be limits. And you're pushing those limits. "F-bombs" and slanderous/unsubstantiated allegations will be deleted.