Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness: The Sweet Sixteen

The Sweet Sixteen is now in place.

As a number of people have pointed out, this has not been a tournament for drama thus far.  What is a ball without a Cinderella story?  And yet no flag with deeper than a fifth seed has survived the first two rounds.  To a certain, very limited extent, this is due to the vagaries of the brackets and the seeding order, both determined (were you wondering?) in a highly informal process as I was relaxing on the couch on Christmas afternoon.

Much more so, it is because most of the flags of the American states and territories, to a greater or lesser extent, stink.  All we have really done so far is winnow out the worst of the batch.  There are a few possible exceptions: a flag I like better than y'all do (Louisiana) and one y'all might have liked a whole lot better than I do (American Samoa); at least one pretty good one that got squeezed out (Cal) and at least one that is in, but very likely doomed (but I would not want to openly predict the vote).

We're left with sixteen contenders, and my guess is that we'll start to see closer votes and tougher choices.  After all: there can only be four regional champions, and only one winner overall.  Semifinals for East and South will open simultaneously on Thursday; semifinals for West and North will open on Friday.  L&TM5K readers can "enjoy" a short burst of more conventional content; Vexillophiliacs can stay up late Monday to see who will come out on top in the Hawaii/Washington showdown.

Happy Daylight Savings Time in participating locations!

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