Sweet 16: Unless you've got a team still it, this is where the NCAA Tournament hits a lull - slightly. Truth is, the best part of the tourney is the opening weekend. And that's very different than just about every other post-season in sports.
Sports fans and non-sports fans fill out their brackets. It's a novelty. Every bracket is perfect. Then very quickly, it's not. And in most cases, their busted by the end of the first weekend.
We love the upsets. We love Cinderella. We got it with Farleigh Dickinson. They busted top-seed Purdue. They join UMBC as the only other 16 to beat a No. 1.
Don't worry. There is still more fun to be had. And th excitement level will ratchet up again as we make our way towards the Final Four in Houston.
There was plenty of excitement in Birmingham last week, which got both Alabama and Auburn. Both were playing for the Sweet 16 on Saturday.
I saw a low price single ticket for the last session listed at $693. I've actually called basketball games at the BJCC - also known as Legacy Arena. I also saw a Justin Bieber concert in the same arena. Hey now! My daughter was a fan.
Has there been a bigger weekend in Birmingham in sports history with two No. 1 seeds and Alabama and Auburn playing in the same venue? Some of those "Iron Bowls" come to mind. They had Olympic soccer at Legion Field in 1996.
Auburn had Houston on the ropes - for a half. The Tigers' season ended though. Alabama took care of its business, avoiding an early departure like the aforementioned Purdue and another No. 1 in Kansas.
Arkansas beat last year's champs, the Jayhawks. With Tennessee taking care of Duke, that puts three SEC teams in the "Sweet" category for the week ahead.
The Big East has three in as well. The Big 12 has two. No other conference has more than one.
The Big Ten is a big flop again this season. They along with the SEC had the most "Big Dance" entries with eight. The only team remaining is Michigan State.
Only half of the top 16 seeds are in the Sweet 16. The biggest surprise is Princeton, a 15 seed.
In our Bracket Challenge, Robbie Ellis was sitting high atop the mountain early. He was correct on 15 of his first 16 picks, missing only Arizona.
Out of over 20 million brackets in the ESPN contest, Robbie peaked at 152 nationally. I think I'm ranked 152 out of the 159 in our group.
He has slipped some though. Braxton Parmer is in first in our batch of prognosticators. He is at 4,617 overall. Maybe it'll hold up for him.
The top brackets overall still aren't perfect. Prior to Purdue falling on the second day of the tourney, there were 22 perfect brackets. All 22 were perfect no more with the Boilermakers' setback.
Can the Crimson Tide win it? The bracket has stacked up nicely for them. They face a No. 5 seed in San Diego State next (Friday at 5:30). Then they'd get the winner of a No. 6 vs. No. 15 matchup. The top two seeds on the other side of the bracket are gone.
I'm looking ahead. And you shouldn't do that. Ask Purdue.