Upsets litter early rounds; Sweet 16 set
March 17, 2014
Editors note: As a March tradition, the Daily Illini sports staff sits down and creates a bracket of its own. This year’s bracket is a collection of 64 sports personalities from the significant to the comical. We’ve voted for our winner, but we want you to get involved — check us out on Twitter and Facebook or in the comments section of this article on DailyIllini.com to contribute.
Upsets and upstarts marked the first two rounds of the Twittournament.
Just to give you a taste of the action, the Daily Illini’s very own Sean Hammond knocked off LeBron James, the No. 1 overall seed.
That and more highlighted the top matchups of the first two rounds, and to paint an overall picture of the early part of this tournament, I have picked four matchups to focus on. Three fall in the first round and one falls in the second round.
First was the matchup between Sean Hammond and King James. Seeding was determined by number of Twitter followers, thus the pairing of LeBron (12 million followers) and Sean Hammond (268 followers).
This one was a stunner, down to the very finish.
Not really. LeBron is pretty strongly disliked here in Chicago Bulls territory, and Sean is such a lovable guy that the decision was a no-brainer for the staff. Personal loyalties aside, LeBron should have been a clear-cut choice, given his 12 million followers and 4,000 tweets. Lebron’s ratio of followers to following is a whopping 44,776:1. Sean actually follows more people than people who follow him, but his offline charisma gave him the win.
The second matchup of interest is the first-round faceoff between Aaron Rodgers and 506 Sports. Rodgers grabbed the No. 3 seed in his quadrant but was bounced by 506 Sports and its measly 5536 followers. Rodgers’s Twitter feed is dull and relatively uninspired while 506 Sports grabs your attention with handy television sports listings and broadcast maps. With a relatively small audience, 506 Sports responds to its followers and provides a great service for anyone living outside of their favorite team’s rooting radius.
The third matchup of note was the dethroning of regional No. 2 seed Skip Bayless by the No. 15 seed Illini Drive, Champaign’s premier sports radio show. Bayless follows no one on Twitter, automatically marking him as a villain, and his tendency to get hyperbolic, both on Twitter and in person, cost him some support among rational members of the selection committee. Illini Drive just became our tournament’s Florida Gulf Coast.
The fourth and final pairing that deserves some attention is the second-round battle between the Champaign Room (SB Nation’s Illinois blog) and Chris Kluwe, former NFL punter. Champaign Room upset Peter King in the first round, and Kluwe defeated ESPN’s Dana O’Neil in his first matchup. Kluwe is an outspoken activist for various social causes, a hilarious parent and a video game addict. His Twitter handle @ChrisWarcraft reflects the last point quite strongly.
Sadly, Kluwe was defeated by the Champaign Room, which provides a blogging take on the Illini, and is more known amongst the selection committee than Kluwe. This continued the underdog run of the Champaign Room, which began as a No. 14 seed in their quadrant.
The second round matchups established some clear crowd favorites, including the aforementioned Illini Drive and Champaign Room, as well as Mike Wilbon, Champaign Mayor Don Gerard and Awful Announcing, which bounced regional No. 1 seed SportsCenter in its second-round pairing.
As we head into the Sweet 16, this Twittournament can only get better.
Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.