Bracketology: Favorite DC athlete (Elite 8 + Final Four)

By: Joe Pohoryles

March Madness is supposed to be in full swing. Instead, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has stopped the sports world in its tracks. NFL free agency is buzzing, but there are few leagues with actual gameplay to watch.

To stay in the spirit of bracket season, I have constructed a 32-team bracket built to determine the most popular athlete in DC sports. Separated into four regions, each making up the four major teams, a favorite athlete can be narrowed down. Combined with the Wizards region are the ‘Wildcards,’ representing athletes from the non-major teams. The Wildcards are with the Wizards because NBA rosters hold 12-15 players, which would give a disproportionate amount of spots to Wizards players, compared to the roster sizes of the other three teams. Since there are other athletes in DC more deserving of a spot than the eighth-most liked player on the Wizards, the Wizards and Wildcards each take up four spots in their own region.

In addition, the eighth-seed in the Wizards/Wildcards region is blank, allowing you to insert any DC athlete of your choosing if one of your favorites is not already featured on the bracket.

The seeding is determined by social media following, more specifically Instagram. (Any players that do not have Instagram accounts were substituted with Twitter.) To reiterate, the seeding is NOT based on my own personal opinion, but rather based on how popular the player is on social media. I find this to be a better form of initially ranking as opposed to just randomly seeding. It shows which players are generally favorited compared to others, and any “upsets” could rightfully be considered such, as your own opinion would differ from the consensus.

Below I will be breaking down my own personal selections, but I’d love to hear your opinions. Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment on this post, or reach out to me on Twitter (@Joe_Poho) or Instagram (@joepoho). I may even publish some of the submissions. Happy bracketing!

For the First round (Part 1) results, click here.

For the First round (Part 2) results, click here.

For Sweet 16 results, click here.

Elite 8

‘Capitals’ region

(1) Alex Ovechkin vs. (3) TJ Oshie

With everything Alex Ovechkin means to the Capitals franchise, it’s nearly impossible for him to beaten. Even if TJ Oshie is a strong fan favorite.

Winner: (1) Alex Ovechkin

‘Nationals’ region

(1) Juan Soto vs. (2) Max Scherzer

Each will enter 2020 as the Nats’ best position player and pitcher, respectively. The swagger Max Scherzer brings to the mound, paired with the results he turns in year after year makes him a favorite of mine. Still, Juan Soto brings a similar level of personality to the diamond, and is the future of the team and Major League Baseball as a whole. It will be exciting to see what else he can accomplish. (Hopefully more World Series trophies).

Winner: (1) Juan Soto

‘Redskins’ region

(4) Ryan Kerrigan vs. (6) Terry McLaurin

Ryan Kerrigan has stuck with this franchise through the highs and (many more) lows, and has brought a consistent level of greatness throughout. Terry McLaurin is on the rise, and will hopefully improve upon a terrific rookie season, but as exciting as he’s been, he still has a ways to go before matching what Kerrigan has meant to the team.

Winner: (4) Ryan Kerrigan

‘Wizards/Wildcards’ region

(1) John Wall vs. (3) Elena Delle Donne

John Wall has yet to accomplish any real tangible achievements for the franchise, but he still led them back to the playoffs from the depths of the league. As much as Elena Delle Donne has done individually and for the Mystics franchise, my fandom for the Wizards outweighs the Mystics. Wall is certainly favored more after being the best player on the team for most of my life.

Winner: (1) John Wall

Final Four

Semifinal One

(1) Alex Ovechkin vs. (1) John Wall

Winner: (1) Alex Ovechkin

Semifinal Two

(1) Juan Soto vs. (4) Ryan Kerrigan

Winner: (1) Juan Soto

Championship

(1) Alex Ovechkin vs. (1) Juan Soto

The established superstar champion against the up-and-coming superstar champion. They both mean a lot to their teams and the city, and it’s difficult to choose between the two. Ultimately, one is a generational player whom I’ve had the pleasure of watching for pretty much my whole life, and was the first to break the city-wide drought in championships. There is only one Ovechkin, and he stands victorious against the entire field.

Winner: (1) Alex Ovechkin

Here’s a look at the final bracket, and I’d still like to see what opinions the rest of you have:

(Cover Photo Credit: Kerrigan- ProFootballRumors.com; Wall- Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

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