March Madness bracket: 2019 NCAA Tournament haiku previews for all 32 first-round games


The first round is set for the stage. The games aren’t on the horizon — they’re essentially here.

And before we get to bathing in basketball for the next four days, one final note of duty. Longtime readers know what’s about to go down. My annual haiku preview of all the first round games. It’s poetic, it’s pathetic, it’s a final look at the field before your bracket and mine turn into kindling.

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Haiku is of course the Japanese form of poetry that goes in a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. It also happens to make for a fun, challenging, simply enlightening way to preview Division I basketball games.

If you’d like extensive previews and information and stats and trends and picks and all of that, we’ve got you more than covered here on the site and, as always, at CBS Sports HQ.

But below, as always, here it is, the field of 2019 — as poetically as I can put it.


Duke (1) vs. North Dakota State (16)

Duke … likable now?
Zion, yeah, but RJ too!
Bison = J-Park goat

VCU (8) vs. UCF (9)

Tacko at center
🎵 You don’t wanna go to war 🎵
Dawkins wins, K next

Mississippi State (5) vs. Liberty (12)

Howland back, dancing
Give me Liberty or … nah
Very Quinndary!

Virginia Tech (4) vs. Saint Louis (13)

A-10 surprise team
Duke on horizon for Tech
Buzz to A&M?

Maryland (6) vs. Belmont (11)

Trendy upset pick
Show me: a Byrd as a GOAT
Still: Turtle power

LSU (3) vs. Yale (14)

Where will Will Wade watch?
All-FBI scandal game
Rest in peace, Wayde Sims

Louisville (7) vs. Minnesota (10)

Gophers offense: blech
Where will Rick Pitino watch?
‘Ville wins this easy

Michigan State (2) vs. Bradley (15)

Say hi to Sparty
Not good for the Bradley Brand
Cassius: old-man game

Bruins, Terrapins / The 11 is tasty / Terps have the talent USATSI


Gonzaga (1) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (16)

Third 1 seed for Zags
Rui, Brandon, Tillie: AHH!
Can win the natty

Syracuse (8) vs. Baylor (9)

Point guard got busted
Somber season for Boeheim
Yes, a Game of Zones

Marquette (5) vs. Murray State (12)

Best game of first round
Scoring bonanza

Florida State (4) vs. Vermont (13)

Don’t sleep on the ‘Noles
UVM: Gotta Jibboo!
CT backs VT

Buffalo (6) vs. Arizona State (11)

Best Bulls since Jordan
Hurley just got T’d again
Look out, it’s Lu Dort!

Texas Tech (3) vs. Northern Kentucky (14)

Tech: back and better
🎵 Drew McDonald shoots the 3 🎵
Red Raiders rule roost

Nevada (7) vs. Florida (10)

Might be a rock fight
A win means bye bye, Muss shirt
Mike White: no blazer

Michigan (2) vs. Montana (15)

Rematch from last year
Committee, explain yourselves
Poole party repeat?

Gotta see some Ja / Morant made last year’s tourney / Top-five pick in June USATSI


Virginia (1) vs. Gardner-Webb (16)

Get your jokes in now
Wahoos gonna stomp some folks
Best team in the sport

Ole Miss (8) vs. Oklahoma (9)

No Trae, no problem
Not enough guys named Kermit
Throw a dart, pick team

Wisconsin (5) vs. Oregon (12)

Picture it for real:
A badger vs. a duck
Poor duck; Bucky wins

Kansas State (4) vs. UC Irvine (13)

No Dean Wade again
Anteater = 1-seed nickname
Snout and stout: upset!

Villanova (6) vs. Saint Mary’s (11)

Cross-country Gaels flight
Nova nation to Hartford
Remember: the champs

Purdue (3) vs. Old Dominion (14)

Late night with Carsen
Great story for ODU
Hair alert: Matt Haarms

Cincinnati (7) vs. Iowa (10)

Bus ride for Cincy
Hawkeyes have dramatic flair
Cumberland a force

Tennessee (2) vs. Colgate (15)

No toothpaste joke here
Adonal Foyle: where u?
Grant, Admiral: BOOM!

Kyle Guy: the man / UMBC? That is done / Revenge tour rolls on USATSI


North Carolina (1) vs. Iona (16)

Coby and that hair
Muh-muh-muh my Iona!
UNC can GO

Utah State (8) vs. Washington (9)

The best  8/9 game
Bald vs. bald coach matchup
Thybulle: elite D

Auburn (5) vs. New Mexico State (12)

A fun fight ahead
My 12-over-5 special
Auburn down a coach

Kansas (4) vs. Northeastern (13)

Feed Dedric all day
Vasa = #CAALuka
KU seldom meh

Iowa State (6) vs. Ohio State (11)

Buckeyes need Wesson
Prohm, like home; not Prohm, like prom
Which Clones team shows up?

Houston (3) vs. Georgia State (14)

Ron Hunter is back; the stool?
Houston: best 3 seed

Wofford (7) vs. Seton Hall (10)

Powell packs a punch
Terriers no underdog
Magee from 3—whee!

Kentucky (2) vs. Abilene Christian (15)

Two words: Herro ball
PJ, you gonna be good?
Coaching with bad pants



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