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March Madness - Europe Style

Upon reviewing the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket, I got to thinking of what a Rick Steve's Europe bracket would look like to select the top Country to visit in Europe.

In the field, I've included Turkey and split UK into England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and identified Kosovo separate from Serbia (sorry, no intention to offend anyone....just more fun!). With 50 entrants, the bracket would necessitate a bye for the top 4 seeds in each region (the top 16 countries) into the field of 32. It would also require a couple of play-in 12-seed games, matching Moldova vs. San Marino and Kosovo vs. Liechtenstein...for the opportunity to pair against 5 seeds Poland and Ukraine in Round 1.

Seeding is based on the annual number of foreign tourist estimates for recent years (at least from a super-quick Google search). Wish there was a polling feature on this site so we could actually vote on the matchups.

The bracket sets up some intriguing Round 1 matchups, such as 8 Finland vs. 9 Norway, 8 Romania vs. 9 Estonia, and 6 Bulgaria vs. 11 Serbia.

Also, presuming Round 1 winners, Round 2 doesn't disappoint: 4 Czech Republic vs. 5 Ireland, 4 Scotland v. 5 Poland, 3 Russia vs. 6 Sweden. But I feel bad for the unfortunate 8 Vatican City vs. 1 Italy Round 2 matchup and don't see any magical 8-seed vs. 1-seed upset there.

Without further ado, I present....


(1)France vs. winner of (8)Finland/(9)Norway
(4)Scotland vs. winner of (5)Poland/(12)Moldova v. San Marino

(2)Croatia vs. winner of (7)Malta(10)Lithuania
(3)Turkey vs. winner of (6)Bulgaria/(11)Serbia

(1)Spain vs. winner of (8)Slovakia/(9)Andorra
(4)Belgium vs. winner of(5)Ukraine/(12)Kosovo v. Liechtenstein

(2)Austria vs. winner of (7)Iceland/(10)Latvia
(3)Russia vs. winner of (6)Sweden/(11)Luxembourg

(1)Italy vs. winner of (8)Vatican City/(9)N. Ireland
(4)Czech Republic vs. winner of (5)Ireland/(12)Monaco

(2)Germany vs. winner of (7)Wales/(10)Albania
(3)Portugal vs. winner of (6)Hungary/(11)Bosnia and Herzegovina

(1)England vs. winner of (8)Romania/(9)Estonia
(4)Switzerland vs. winner of (5)Cyprus/(12)Belarus

(2)Greece vs. winner of (7)Denmark/(10)Montenegro
(3)Netherlands vs. winner of (6)Slovenia/(11)North Macedonia

Barring upsets, the Sweet Sixteen would look like this:

(1)France vs. (4)Scotland
(2)Croatia vs. (3)Turkey

(1)Spain vs. (4)Belgium
(2)Austria vs.(3)Russia

(1)Italy vs. (4)Czech Republic
(2)Germany vs. (3)Portugal

(1)England vs. (4)Switzerland
(2)Greece vs. (3)Netherlands

And, again barring upsets, the Final Four sets up some titanic matchups!

(1)France vs. (1)England
(1)Spain vs. (1)Italy

What upsets do you see in the bracket?

Posted by
1825 posts

Can't argue with the predicted finalists, but every bracket needs some upsets. I bet the rest of the UK plus Ireland would love to put the boots to England and even if it does make it through, it would be so battered and bruised that it's France in a cakewalk. Does Italy get complacent with its mega-history and sleepwalk one too many times through a round? My pick for sleepers are Scotland, Greece and Croatia. But in the end, France conquers all.

Love the timely post.

Posted by
4841 posts

Iceland and Malta can both play from a distance, so don’t count out their 3-pointer scoring prowess.

Russia could get into foul trouble early, so they could tumble mightily.

No Isle of Man? Is it in the NIT?

Posted by
831 posts

In the Sweet sixteen I see Belgium upsetting Spain in Region 2 and Switzerland upsetting England. With Croatia having the tallest people I pick them as my sleeper going all the way into the Final 4.

Posted by
2169 posts

If this follows the usual EuroBasket results, Spain will be in the final, we have been in the gold medal game 6 out of the past 10 EuroBasket finals. Against who, now that is the question... Serbia, France, or Greece? Any one of them would be a worthy opponent.

Posted by
11 posts

Italy vs. Vatican City should be fun! Plenty of divine intervention going on.