By Larry Smith - IlliniGuys Contributor
March 14, 2022
(Cover photo courtesy W. Elijah Smith)
UPDATE: Duke's 81-77 loss to North Carolina in Saturday night's national semifinal ensured that the Dirty Dozen formula remains perfect in its 12 years in existence. The Blue Devils were the only Dirty team to reach the Final Four.
Well here we go again! March Madness is here. Time for me to not sleep and play with so many numbers and formulas that I make the late John Nash look like an arithmophobic.
Great to get a chance to do this after two years off. I had hoped to do it last year, but the numbers were off with everyone playing unbalanced schedules due to COVID interruptions. It would have been less Dirty Dozen and more Larry's Dozen and trust me - you don't want that!
For those who don't know, the Dirty Dozen is a formula I put together over several years of researching my White Jersey Theory (Part I is on this site already with Part II posting later this week). There was a lot of "stuff" I discovered over time and in 2009 decided to use it to fill out my bracket. I entered those picks in two separate office pools and won them both...the rest is history.
The Dirty Dozen is the 12 teams that will NOT win the NCAA championship. I've done this 11 times and it has never missed. One day it will - nothing is forever and/or certain - and, as you can see below, I hope this is the year it fails. Probably the biggest hit was the undefeated 2015 Kentucky team that was Dirty. I was accused of hating UK and/or Calipari and none of that was true. Everyone was predicting a UK national title that year, but the Dozen proved to be correct.
If nothing else, I think this helps cut through the chatter. Working as a network sports anchor/correspondent for more than two decades, I know how they are trying to fill time every March AND I know how little most of the analysts really truly know about each team. They really don't know why certain teams don't get invited to the tourney or why this team got a better seed than that team. Yet they become the main source of knowledge for most people talking about the NCAA tournament or trying to fill out a bracket. I'm not being nasty; most of these guys are friends. But I know how the sausage is made. Why did Seth Davis keep ripping the Big Ten during Sunday's show and never talk about the ACC? Because he's an ACC guy and knows virtually nothing about the Big Ten, especially about what they did this year...and there was nothing worthwhile about the ACC this year.
One thing to keep in mind: the Dozen doesn't allow for injuries, suspensions, etc. It's strictly a numbers game without emotion or bias or exceptions. That said, the two teams hit hardest by injuries this season are on the Dozen list. Will they break the curse? Time will tell.
Anyway, here it is. The Dirty Dozen is for entertainment purposes only; no promises or guarantees made. It's fun to talk about and to watch and see if it can survive another year. I appreciate all the notes and inquiries over the years. I know some of you use this to build your bracket and have shared some success stories. I hope that continues. If nothing else, good luck and enjoy the games! Fingers crossed that this is the year that it MISSES! Go Illini!
1) Baylor - lost in round of 32
2) Duke - lost in national semifinals
3) Auburn - lost in round of 32
4) Texas Tech - lost in regional semifinals
5) Wisconsin - lost in round of 32
6) Illinois - lost in round of 32
7) UCLA - lost in regional semifinals
8) Iowa - lost in round of 64
9) Houston - lost in regional finals
10) Colorado St. - lost in round of 64
11) Alabama - lost in round of 64
12) Texas - lost in round of 32
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