I kind of feel like Butler Coach Brad Stevens today, having come within a half-court shot of winning the national championship. Yes, the much-awaited unofficial results are out, and according to the incomparable Bracket Matrix Web site, I finished tied for second out of 115 number-crunching men and women in the quest for the bracketology national championship.

If I were to say this is the biggest honor since the birth of my son, well, I’d be lying. But it’s still pretty cool. And I still have my ring from tying for the mythical national title a few years ago (unless that honor gets vacated because of my sordid relationships with third-party power brokers, which is always possible).

Each bracketologist is graded on his/her ability to correctly project the 68 tournament teams, the exact seed of each team and also each team’s seed within one seed of its actual placement. I got 36 of 37 at-large teams correct – I had Seton Hall over Iona as my one miss. I seeded 42 of 68 teams exactly right. And I seeded 63 of 68 teams within one seed of their actual seed. Some of my seeding misses included 11th-seeded Colorado, which I had as a 13th seed, and 12th-seeded Harvard, which I had as a 10th seed.

Anyway, area basketball fans in the area should take pleasure in the fact that the Washington area is the Tobacco Road of bracketologists. Much like North Carolina and Duke, Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times and I consistently rank among the nation’s elite. Yes, the road to the national title usually runs through the congested Beltway.

Okay, before I take this thing a little too far (too late), here are the finishes of some other notables:

Patrick Stevens, Washington Times: tied for eighth.

Yahoo Sports!: tied for 33rd

Joe Lunardi, ESPN: tied for 37th

Okay, let’s finally get the games underway…