Well, on Day Two I ended up going 11/16, which is better but not particularly thrilling. That gives me a total of 21 for 32 for the first round, which is disappointing for me, since I usually do about 24 for 32 the first round. At least, that's how I remember it. I may be exaggerating my predictive abilities from years past.
The real reason why it stings so much, though, is that the best way to see how you're doing in the bracket is to calculate how many you would've gotten right if you'd just picked the higher seed, and how much you're doing better than that number is how good you're doing in the tournament. I'm usually two, three, maybe four points better after the first round. But this year, not so much.
The higher seed won 27 of 32 matches, and three of the other matches are games in which the 9-seeds beat the 8-seeds, and that doesn't count as an upset because there's literally no difference between an eight and a nine seed (by the way, I was 0 for 4 on my picks for 8 and 9 seeds. There's the ballgame, right there). So there were only two real upsets: Winthrop over Notre Dame and VCU over Duke, of which I called only one correctly.
Each year the tournament has been progressively more and more upset-prone, until a couple of years ago my dad and I calculated that, according to the results, there was almost no difference between a 5-seed and a 12-seed. It was like they were completely equal rivals. And George Mason last year (have you tired of hearing about George Mason this March yet? I have.) proved that a small team from nowhere can be a legitimate contender in the NCAA bracket.
So this year I picked a whole pile of dark horses (Ew. That's a disturbing mix of metaphors), figuring that with all the upsets about to happen, there was no reason why my picks couldn't be the right ones. It's a dangerous strategy, because the upsets that happen can end up being the ones you aren't expecting, and then you have a bracket twice as bad as everyone else - the upsets you picked that didn't happen, and the ones you didn't pick that did. But this - I wasn't expecting this. I wasn't expecting the favorites to dominate this dramatically.
Good news on the horizon, though: while I have a tendency to pick a lot of upsets in the first round, I play things pretty straightforward the rest of the way. So if the favorites-always-winning pattern continues, I'll be looking pretty good. And, all my Sweet 16 teams are still alive. I may be a little shell-shocked, but it is still mathematically possible that I could have a perfect bracket the rest of the way.
It's just not particularly likely at this point.