Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Thursday and Friday. The first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. The two best sports days of the year.

Not only that, it's 80 degrees outside. OK, I'm making the call, these are the two best DAYS of the year. Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been seeded too high.

I have three rules for brackets:

1. One bracket only. I hate to check the standings in a (non-gambling, for amusement purposes only) NCAA pool and find out I'm behind Joe Shmoe #5. Either you believe in your picks or you don't. Only weenies minimize their risk. This is not a mutual fund.

2. Pick some upsets. If you don't have at least three crazy picks in your Sweet 16, you're the type of person who reads the end of the book first.

3. Swoon for the hometown underdog. It's OK if it's the town you USED to be from -- just as long as it's a team that has no right to win the games you're giving them. As Calvin Trillin once said, if you don't think your hometown hamburger joint is the best in the world, you're a sissy.

On to the picks.

First round:
UNC over E. Kentucky, Michigan State over Marquette, Arkansas over USC, Texas over New Mexico St., Vanderbilt over George Washington, Oral Roberts over Washington State, Boston College over Texas Tech, Georgetown over Belmont.

Ohio State over Central Connecticut, Xavier over BYU, Long Beach St. over Tennessee, Virginia over Albany, Louisville over Stanford, Texas A&M over Penn, Nevada over Creighton, Memphis over North Texas.

Kansas over Niagra, Villanova over Kentucky, Virginia Tech over Illinois, S. Illinois over Holy Cross, Duke over VCU, Pitt over Wright State, Gonzaga over Indiana, UCLA over Weber St.

Florida over Jackson St., Arizona over Purdue, Butler over Old Dominion, Davidson over Maryland (homer pick #1), Winthrop over Notre Dame (homer pick #2), Oregon over Miami of Ohio, Georgia Tech over UNLV, Wisconsin over A&M-Corpus Christi.

Second round:
UNC over Michigan State, Texas over Arkansas, Vandy over Oral Roberts, Georgetown over BC.

Ohio State over Xavier, Long Beach State over Virginia, Texas A&M over Louisville, Nevada over Memphis.

Kansas over Villanova, VA Tech over S. Illinois, Pitt over Duke, UCLA over Gonzaga.

Florida over Arizona, Butler over Davidson, Winthrop over Oregon (I know, SUCH a homer), Wisconsin over GA Tech.

(That's two crazy picks -- Winthrop and Long Beach -- and two semi-crazy picks -- Vandy and Nevada -- in the Sweet 16.)

Sweet 16: UNC over Texas (best game of the tournament), Georgetown over Vandy, Ohio State over Long Beach, Texas A&M over Nevada.

Kansas over VA Tech, UCLA over Pitt, Florida over Butler, Wisconsin over Winthrop in double OT.

Elite Eight: UNC over Georgetown, Texas A&M over Ohio State, Kansas over UCLA, Florida over Wisconsin.

Final Four: Texas A&M over UNC (sorry, Heels), Kansas over Florida.

Title game: Kansas over A&M, 76-68.

Feel free to ridicule.


Josh said...

These have to be the two best days of the year; I could not agree more. I get excited and happy weeks in advance, and I get more anxious trying to sleep the night before than I did as a kid for Christmas. And you're darn right about the "one bracket only" rule. You gotta believe ...