March Madness 2014: Elite Eight

the2x2project's public health bracket: Elite Eight

Published on April 2, 2014by The CHEFs

The first round of our 2014 Public Health Bracket is in the books! Did the top seeds advance as expected or were there upsets that have left you bracket busted? The CHEFs analyze the Sweet 16 match-ups, and give their best prediction of who will grab each region’s Final Four spot.

For a more in-depth breakdown of all the teams in this year’s tourney, see our first March Madness article.

Voting for which teams will advance to the Final Four can be done here until 6pm Friday, April 4:

Infectious disease region

The region’s No. 1 seed and arguably one of the strongest teams in the tournament came out guns blazing in the first round. Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine mantra was unstoppable against the emotional favorite Polio Eradication. McCarthy’s needleless squad started the game on a 25-0 run, boosted by a measles outbreak in NYC that saw as many contract the virus. Polio Eradication couldn’t match McCarthy’s early season form, and became the first team knocked out of this year’s tourney.

The matchup between Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) wasn’t any closer—in fact, ARB steamrolled HPV, with the largest margin of victory seen in the first round. As expected, ARB’s defense made it hard for HPV to get any traction, just as spreading the word about HPV vaccines has faced strong resistance in certain parts of the country.

Given the incredibly strong start for both Jenny McCarthy and Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, the Elite Eight match-up between the two will likely be a high-scoring affair. Should the measles outbreak continue to worsen, Jenny’s team looks favored for a Final Four berth. However, it is often said that defense wins championships, and there’s no stronger team on this front than Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria.

Government B.S. region

The Sweet Sixteen competition was fierce in the Government B.S. region. Farm Bill and Food Stamps, the underdogs, performed brilliantly, nearly defeating the top seeded Affordable Care Act (ACA) Enrollment. The enormous depth of the Farm Bill’s bench really shone in this match-up. If not for a last minute assist from the ACA open enrollment deadline on March 31, and the news that more than seven million Americans had signed up for health insurance plans, this could have been a real upset. The ACA barely eked out a victory by only 8 points, the smallest margin of victory so far in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Federal Funding Fiascos handily defeated Incarceration to move into the Elite Eight. Incarceration played a solid game, and had their fair share of some beautiful three-pointers. These included a moving personal essay about stop-and-frisk policies as well as innovative prevention programs aiming for a 40 percent reduction in incarceration days. However, the team ultimately could not overtake Federal Funding Fiascos, which entered the tournament on an extraordinary winning streak. With embarrassing government debacles consistently appearing in the news, Federal Funding Fiascos looked nearly unstoppable.

The Elite Eight match-up between the ACA and Federal Funding Fiascos is going to be a nail-biter. Right now, Federal Funding Fiascos looks to have the momentum entering this contest. However, the team has never faced a powerhouse like ACA Enrollment before, and has a tendency to allow far too many fouls. Will ACA enrollment will rest too easily on its laurels now that the open enrollment deadline has passed? Or will Federal Funding Fiascos’ aggressive game play ultimately be their downfall? We’re predicting a narrow upset, with Federal Funding Fiascos winning by no more than 6 points.

Drug region

In a drama filled week, E-cigarettes lived up to their billing as a No. 1 seed by easily dispatching the lower ranked Statins. Although critics have claimed that E-cigarettes may have benefited from an easy conference schedule and lax regulations, this mid-major has shown it is a force to be reckoned with. Statins, meanwhile, will have to go back to the drawing board.

In this region’s first upset, No. 3 seed Opioids undoubtedly busted some brackets by out-marketing, out-hustling, and all around out-lobbying No. 2 seed Marijuana. While the upstart Marijuana will have to wait another year for next year’s tournament, they should rest easy knowing that momentum is shifting around them.

This week’s Elite Eight matchup between No. 1 seed E-Cigarettes and No. 3 seed Opioids is likely to be an instant classic, with a trip to the Public Health Final Four on the line. E-cigarettes will have to work hard on their puff, puff, passes, which may be the only way to break up Opioids’ constipating defense.  Although this contest is projected to be close, we’re predicting an upset and a revival of “Junk City”.

Youth health region

In a romp that started early and never let up, Gun Violence upset Concussions to shoot into the Elite Eight. Was it the startling homicide rate disparity among the U.S. and any remotely analogous nation that got fans’ attention?

It is almost unfair how many more players team Childhood Obesity continues to recruit. With the roster of overweight youngsters tripling in the last quarter century, Childhood Trauma just could not compete, and never came close.

Defense against the homicide virus can be effective, but does Childhood Obesity have the “D”? Let’s Move has high-scorer Michelle Obama at forward, but defense could be this team’s Achilles heel. The contest between Gun Violence and Childhood Obesity will likely see both teams trade the lead over the course of the game, but the team on top when the buzzer sounds will be Childhood Obesity.

Edited by Dana March