Why do I do this? Why do you care?
You don’t actually, but you’re still counting the seconds until noon tomorrow, you’ve looked at all the highlights at March Madness . . . twice . . . and you’ve fiddle farted around with fourteen brackets in five different pools, and you may have even read Charles Pierce’s piece on “The Sleaziest Coach In A Sleazy Game.”
And you’re bored and you are ready to do anything at all except prepare for the 3:30 webconference with the home office. So you’re reading my silly, sure-to-get-you-beat-in-the-office-pool take on who might win and who might lose during the opening two days of the greatest sports event ever invented.
First, the locals. UK has no problem with East Tennessee State. ‘Nuff said. Next.
Louisville has lots of problems with Cal, a well-coached senior team that plays man to man. I have a bad feeling that the Evil Edgar will show and the Cards will fall simply because of skewed karma. But I can’t pick against them, even in the one pool that I actually had to lay down a Lincoln to enter.
Which brings us to the Racers. I think Murray State has a shot against Vandy, an athletic and talented team that never seemed to totally jell. Plus that Aussie center has gone in the tank. And I picked Murray on a couple of my brackets . . . except the one that cost me five bucks to enter. Which I guess means I think the Commodores’ ship shall sail to Round 2.
In the other noteworthy games, I like the tradition of Hinkle Fieldhouse — If you’ve never been there, go — over the tradition of Bobby Joe Hill and the Road to Glory gang. To put it another way, Team Character over Derrick Caracter. Butler will win.
I got a feeling underrated Lon Kruger will exact a plan so that his Running Rebs upset the higher seeded squad from Northern Iowa. UNLV will win.
I love me some San Diego State. I think Tennessee is too loosey goosey and they have way underperformed the last two seasons in the tournament. Plus there’s that meltdown against the Cats last week. That said I put my fiver on Orange. I dunno why?
Speaking of Orange . . . Okie State over Georgia Tech.
I went with Xavier over the Golden Gophers, even though The Tubmeister knows how to dress up lesser teams for the Big Dance.
Which brings us to Purdue who was handed their lunch (and dinner and breakfast and midnight pizza in the dorm) by Minnesota last week. They are indeed a fallen squad without Robbie Hummel. But Siena is just too fashionable a pick. Plus they haven’t shown much this year, getting crushed during their visit to Butler. (See section on Hinkle Fieldhouse.) Boilermakers will win.
The Cornell campus is on suicide watch. Which frankly is not something to kid about. So forgive me. You’ll be ready for same if you don’t pick the woefully underseeded Temple Owls in this most intriguing first round tilt.
Hook ‘Em Horns will down Demon Deacons in the Network Battle of the UberUnderAchievers.
Buzz Williams shall be high jumping for joy as his waterbug quick Golden Eagles smash Washington.
As for the rest of the games — about which I’d make more pithy comments except that I need to leave to meet some buddies for lunch — here goes nuttin’ honey (Reading down the bracket, left side first): Kansas, Michigan State, Maryland, Georgetown, Ohio State, Syracuse (Another Orange W), Gonzaga, Pisstburgh, Brigham Young, Kansas State, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Clemson (Those big Navels are so tasty this time of year), West Virginia, Duke, Texas A & M, Notre Dame, Baylor, Richmond and Villanova.
* * * * *
One more thought about the ridiculous plan to expand to, what is it, 96 teams. 96 tears to be honest.
IF . . . I said, if . . . if there is to be expanison, here’s what I’d tolerate. Add only three more teams, so there would be four games on Tuesday in Dayton, with the winners spreading out to the four regions.
BUT . . . and it’s a big BUT . . . but no team that won an automatic bid would be forced to play in that play-in round. It would just be the bubble at-large teams, fighting for a chance to get to the real first round.
Now THAT would make for an interesting first no break in the Big Dance.
– Seedy K