In our complete one-year history before this year’s tournament we have never seen anything like we saw this year. We saw the champion fall before even the final four. We saw rookies dominate the tournament and a 12 seed nearly make it into the Sweet 16. But the storyline of the tournament has been the rise of hometown hero Jace Billingsley, who -- with the exuberant support of his friends and family — has made the unlikely run into the finals of this tournament.
In the finals, Billingsley will face off against the strongest name in this bracket: rookie Miles Killebrew. Let’s break down the matchup and how we got here.
Billingsley was a strong competitor from the get-go. Coming in with a respectable three seed, Jace easily disposed of Geoff Schwartz, receiving 82 percent of the vote. That was the expected result, so no one suspected a thing, but some tomfoolery was afoot.
The next round, we noticed something. Jim Billingsley, Jace’s father, had stumbled upon this tournament and was tapping Twitter to amass support for his son. His help resulted in Jace ending Laken Tomlinson’s run in the second round. But the 61-39 score was not too convincing; surely Jace’s run was coming to an end shortly.
Ameer Abdullah, as a two-seed, was the easy favorite in the Sweet 16. In fact, he was off to a big, early lead. But in almost no time, not only did Jace take over the lead, but he ended up demolishing Abdullah, 67-33. This seemed strange, but sometimes a swell of support just comes out of nowhere. Oddly, though, his matchup with Abdullah received over 900 votes, while every other Sweet 16 matchup had 640 or lower. It was a weird anomaly, but there was little evidence of foul play at this point in the tournament.
But everything would be revealed in the Elite Eight. Quandre Diggs was a fierce competitor that looked like he was going to ease his way into the Final Four. Diggs had just taken down last year’s winner and prior to that, he hadn’t received anything less than 79 percent of the vote. Two hours into his matchup with Billingsley, Diggs was rolling again. But then something happened. Support for Jace came swift and sudden, and suddenly Diggs was not only beaten, but absolutely destroyed, 72-28. This poll had received nearly double the amount of votes that every other Elite Eight matchup had, and it was suddenly clear: the Billingsley’s were stuffing the ballot box, and there was nothing we could do about it. (Okay, maybe there was something I could have done about it, but I refused to.)
The Final Four was just a formality. Not only did the Billingsley clan dominate the polls once again, but now it appeared he had the entire support of his hometown Winnemucca, Nevada. Even a local restaurant had his back:
When all was done, the Pride Of Detroit twitter feed was filled with over a dozen Billingsley supporters.
What was once an innocent little following has been turned into unstoppable monster of a force. The Name Bracket has become self aware and I no longer have the ability to stop it. I made this mess and it has become too big for me to clean it up. This is now the "2016 Jace Billingsley Name Bracket tournament; Sponsored by Skynet." God help us all.
Killebrew was destined to be here. Coming into the Final Four, Miles had yet to receiving anything less than 81 percent of the vote. Theo Riddick, Graham Glasgow and Tahir Whitehead — all perfectly good names — were squashed underneath the hoppy foot of Miles Killebrew.
While Miles may not have the groundswell support of his friends, family and hometown population, he has the vote of the Pride Of Detroit people. Here’s a sample of what the POD community has been saying throughout the tournament:
When the field was announced, Miles Killebrew was the fan’s prediction to win it all. Here’s why:
But it may be too late to stop "this Billingsley nonsense." The troops are well-organized and ready to mobilize. The love for Killebrew is real and widespread, but I just don’t know if the people can regain control of this damn thing. I fear all humanity is doomed.