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The ultimate NCAA Tournament bracket based on each school's famous alumni

There are precious few schools that actually have a chance of winning the NCAA Tournament. Sure, in a literal sense they all do, but c'mon. The clock always seems to strike midnight for the best Cinderella and ultimately we're left with the best programs. Good teams come and go, but elite alumni are forever. This is truly a bracket where everyone has a chance.

I exhaustively poured over the "notable alumni" lists for every school in the 2016 tournament and picked who I thought was the best famous person to represent his or her school. This was not an easy task. Look up Maryland, for example. You need to pick between Jim Henson and Larry David. These decisions were brutal. Without further ado, here's the 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket based on famous alumni.

famous alumni bracket


The only bracket you'll bust here is your funny bone! Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Larry David, Kristen Wiig -- it's a murderer's row of comedians. Sooner or later everyone hits the wall, or in this case, The Rock. Dwayne Johnson not only went to Miami, but he played football for Miami. Picking him vs. Larry David was absolutely brutal, but until I see Larry David break his own arm out of a cast and fire a chain gun, it's hard to pick him

Should have gone further: Gregory Peck

Peck is one of the most wonderful actors of all time. He was intense enough to kill someone with a stare, and strong enough to punch their lights out if needed. Awards were synonymous with his name and it's brutal that he ran into Larry David so early.


This is a truly odd region dominated by two Hollywood luminaries. Meryl Streep is a friggin' juggernaut that can never be stopped where there's an award to be won, and Ed Harris is brilliant in everything. The rest of this region was just ... strange. Richard Nixon might have deserved to go a little further, but that's a matter of your perspective on whether the good he did is vastly outweighed with him being a criminal.

Should have gone further: Nobody

This bracket was weird, but relatively easy to pick. I truly feel like nobody got robbed with their matchups and this one was clear-cut as could be.


I did my best not to load this bracket with athletes, because that would have been lazy. That said, leaving Michael Jordan out of the list would have been a travesty. He needs to be a part of this because his fame transcends basketball. It's supremely sad that the best Notre Dame could offer was George Wendt. It was either him or Rudy, and I wasn't picking Rudy.

Should have gone further: Frank Lloyd Wright

Talk about seeding destroying your chances. This was just unfair. Frank Lloyd Wright changed modern architecture and influenced so many people that we'll be seeing his work (or work influenced by him) for the next 100 years. That said, Gene Kelly is a golden god to me. If you disagree: Go watch Singin' in the Rain and talk to me.


This was a really top-heavy region with the heavy-hitters all coming in the top part of the bracket. Obviously Sam Peckinpah is amazing, but it was really hard to see any of them getting past the best of the top. Some might be angry about Bing Crosby being eliminated so early, but take a look at his personal life. I can't support that.

Should have gone further: George Washington Carver

This was the hardest decision of the bracket. It was a heart vs. head call. I wanted George Washington Carver to go further, but Tina Fey has so much pull over modern TV and media that it was a hard call.

Final Four

This is brutal. Two amazing athletes, two amazing actors.

First up: Rock vs. Streep

Nobody is hotter than The Rock right now, but his game has been marred with inconsistency. There are times he'll blow you away with lip syncing, then he'll make San Andreas and kill that good will. Streep is the model of consistency and consistent teams make it through in these situations.

Next up: Jordan vs. Fey

Another really tough decision here. Tina Fey is absolutely amazing, but when the dust settles it's hard to know where she'll slot in among the greatest comedians of our time. Jordan, on the other hand, will consistently and reliably be in the top-three talk forever -- regardless of who comes next or how many Monstars invade earth. It has to be MJ.

National Championship

Earlier I said that consistency wins championships, and that's true. Look at our matchup: Meryl Streep vs. Michael Jordan. Both amazing, both proven winners, both consistent.

That's not to say the pair haven't had hiccups. Lest we forget that Streep made Mama Mia or that MJ played for the Wizards. Dark spots in otherwise stellar careers. In the end there is only one correct answer, and it's Meryl. Why? Because Meryl wins everything. She consumes all around her like a star about to supernova while occasionally letting another planet enjoy the warmth of her glow before swallowing it too.

Three Academy Awards, one of the greatest actresses of our generation. I'm not saying it's a blowout, but Meryl cuts down the nets and drapes them over her Oscars for good measure.

Congratulations to Yale and Meryl Streep!

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Potential Cinderella: Northern Iowa cruising after remarkable turnaround

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