Top seeds Jay Busbee and Dan Shanoff survived, yet Awful Announcing, MGoBlog, One More Dying Quail, Paul Shirley, and Sunday Morning Quarterback all came up short in spite of the fact that four of the five of them were facing equal or weaker-seeded opposition.
Here is the harsh reality of the tale of the tape:
- The third round was competitive everywhere except in the National League West. The Mid-Atlantic Conference and the Campbell Conference each had matchups decided by 10-vote margins, yet the National League West contained one solid trouncing and an absolute blowout as Matt Jones continued to use that newfangled "radio" invention to squeak by in a 3,680-577 nailbiter.
- Oddly enough, the bracket that saw the most lopsided margins in the third round also is the one with the worst surviving seeding. Those emerging from the National League West are seeded ninth, 12th, and 13th, making it the only division with two remaining double-digit seeds and no surviving bloggers seeded better than sixth. The National League West is the lone bracket in which a majority of the outcomes in the first three rounds have been upsets, as 10 of the 19 showdowns in this division have been won by the blogger with the weaker seeding.
- The Mid-Atlantic Conference was the only bracket in which two superior seeds avoided upsets in the third round. Consequently, it is the only one of the four divisions in which two top five seeds remain.
- Four contestants seeded fifth or better advanced to the fourth round. Four contestants seeded 12th or worse also advanced to the fourth round. I remain undecided whether this restores my faith in the ability of the scrappy underdog to take down the preferred choice of the establishment or whether this just means that seeding is as inexact a science in the blogosphere as it is in the smoke-filled room in which the N.C.A.A. tournament selection committee does its dirty work.
- That said, the seeding proved most reliable in the AFC North, in which a better-seeded blogger was defeated by a worse-seeded blogger only five times in the 19 head-to-head showdowns in the first three rounds. Two of those five early-round upsets were registered by Run Up the Score, who eliminated me in the second round . . . not that I'm bitter or anything.
- The Campbell Conference has proven increasingly stable as the tournament has proceeded, producing four first-round upsets, two second-round upsets, and one third-round upset. This puts the division on a pace to feature exactly half an upset in the fourth round.