Category Archives: NCAAB

Friday

Norm

A few weeks ago a young woman believed she had a very good voice, went to a recording studio and made a serious music video. The problem for Rebecca Black, was she didn’t have a good voice, the recording studio wasn’t a real recording studio, and her music video became a subject of mocking across the internet, with idiots of all corners making fun of her. Sort of like where I’m going with this post. A few days ago a young man chronicled his bracket predictions for his blog. Norman Yallen (Please indulge me in this third person exercise.) had a monumentally bad 4 days at March Madness, he now sits in 142nd place out of 143 people and is the subject of mocking across his school. The question me and Rebecca Black are now facing is, where did it all go wrong? That very question is what I am going to attempt to answer.

On Wednesday night I banged out all out of my predictions and would not find out exactly where I screwed up until it was too late. On a Friday morning at 7:00, Rebecca got up and made her first mistake. She immediately rose her head from her pillow and began to sing. I don’t know about you, but I set my alarm for 7:30 and can barely get out of bed at 7:45. That set the stage that there was something different about this music video. Well, that and the captions at the beginning. What the hell does “I am Thursday’s Child” mean? Is her mother a stripper,  because only a stripper can have that name. The first thing to go wrong with my picks was Rick Pitino’s Louisville team having a meltdown against Morehead State. I cannot fathom how a man who prides himself on his team’s shooting put together a bunch of white guys who couldn’t hit a free throw down the stretch. I also found out the hard way that Kenneth Faried will be a good pro player. Anyone who is that good at any one or two skill, in his case rebounding and interior defense, will find a way into an NBA rotation. If you don’t believe me just look at the career of Charles Oakley. My first mistake was underestimating a player and team because they came from a school I had never heard of. For the record, it’s called Morehead State because it’s located in Morehead, Kentucky.

My second mistake was a result of sloppiness. I accidentally clicked Princeton instead of Kentucky, losing a valuable point in the process. Rebecca’s next mistake was trying too hard to make cereal look cool, saying, “gotta have my bowl.” What is this Rebecca, drugs? Are you addicted to cereal? Because drugs aren’t cool. My afternoon went well other than that as I raced out to a 9-3 star. Rebecca then went to the busstop and saw her other 13 year old friends driving by in a convertible. Which must have been a nice surprise for her. I then made a couple of dumb upset picks, losing Belmont, Utah State, Missouri,  and the one favourite I picked, St. John’s. This mistake was picking too many upsets, even by March Madness standards there was no conceivable way all of these upsets could have ever happened. Then, at roughly 11 pm in Toronto for me and at 7:45 at the busstop for Rebecca, came the backbreaker, the thing that doomed my bracket and her song, setting us on an irreversibly negative course.

Rebecca next said the words that, for me and my friends, ended the point where we stopped taking the song seriously if we ever had to start with. She pondered,  “Kickin’ in the front seat Sittin’ in the back seat Gotta make my mind up Which seat can I take?” In my parents lifetime we’ve gone for, “war, what is it good for?” to, “which seat should I take?” Whoever said there’s no such thing as a stupid question deserves to listen to Friday on an endless loop. My backbreaker was Michigan State losing to UCLA, because having a Final 4 pick lose on the first day dooms a bracket. My mistake was relying too much on the recent glorious history of MSU, and not on the fact that this year’s team was mediocre at best. Rebecca’s mistake speaks for itself in this case.

My Friday was rather ordinary, unlike Rebecca’s day. I simply didn’t do enough to compensate for the previous day, getting 11 wins when I realistically needed at least 14 to still be competitive. Rebecca’s mindless chorus didn’t compensate for her question. Also I’ve never heard Friday pronounced like that, what dialect is that, Martian? I didn’t even know Autotune could do that, I couldn’t make that noise if I tried. Rebecca shouldn’t have trusted such cruddy producers who would use that chorus. She then stood in the back seat of the convertible on the way to the party, and only complimented one friend. Seeing that she was rude as well as untalented didn’t help her cause.

Saturday was a monumental day for me, as I won 0 out of 8 games. Thursday had set the stage for that as I only even had 3 possible wins going into the day. Yet again, I picked too many upsets having Temple and West Virginia both lose to higher seeded teams, even Pittsburgh lost. I didn’t know if anything could top that level until I saw what came next in Rebecca Black’s video. She arrives at the party (if you look closely it appears she is being slapped on the ass) She names Thursday to Sunday of the week in order. I’d say everyone knows the days of the week in order but given her other lyrics, I am in doubt on whether she knew them until this verse was written for her. The fact that this was put in a song was arguably the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen, until what came next, which deserves a paragraph of it’s own, separate from a comparison to my bracket.

A black man baring a faint resemblance to Usher appears on the screen. He talks about how he is riding in the front and back seat, seemingly appearing in both. He sways his head from side to side in an epileptic, Night at the Roxbury esque manner. He raps about passing school busses, in a downtown area at night. He seemingly is out to destroy all the gains the African-American people have worked for. He lowers the entire genre of rap’s street cred by himself. He even says, “wooo.” He probably also ruined diamond earrings and making facial and body expressions while one speaks. He should be banned from rhyming, let alone rapping. If he has kids he should not be allowed to even read nursery rhymes to them. Although, I hope for the sake of humanity that no woman would want to mate with this man.

Sunday I just try to enjoy the tournament with no regard for my bracket. I cheer for Michigan to beat Duke, who I have winning it all. Of course because I cheered for them they don’t win. I actually enjoy a decent day of picking winning 5 of 8, but it is too little too late as Purdue loses decimating any hopes I had. Rebecca tries to enjoy her final verse and chorus, standing up and singing at the party. Unfortunately, the rapper’s epileptic head nod at her decimates any hopes she had. The video is posted on Youtube and one Twitter account makes the world aware of it as it is passed on to over 20 million people who come to watch a 13 year old’s shame.

At this point you may be saying, “this is funny” or “this is crap” but you are probably wondering what the hell my bracket has in common with Rebecca Black, other than sucking. My answer for you is that me and Rebecca Black made the exact same mistake. Instead of working for what we wanted to achieve, we both tried to take the easy way out. I sat down to pick a bracket and rather than researching and making smart picks, I tried to think of witty one liners and ridiculous upsets, with the hope I would be seen as a genius and win my bracket. The only problem was I didn’t put in the thinking. Rebecca was a 13 year old whose parents evidently had plenty of disposable income. What they did was pay Ark Music Factory $2000 to make her music video. This is a company that specializes in writing bad music videos for rich girls. One of the heads of the company goes by the name of Patrice Wilson. He goes by the rapper name of Pato, and he puts himself rapping in all the girls songs including Rebecca. He is the guy you should all hate, using rich 13 year olds to earn himself some fame and royalties. The sad thing is after this video, he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe had Rebecca’s mother paid for vocal lessons with that money instead of Ark Music Factory, she’d be getting noticed for her talent eventually. Eventually, Rebecca’s fame will evaporate but the taunts will continue. The lesson me and Rebecca should learn is that if you want to do something well, you have to work at it. If you want to be thought of as clever, then actually think and if you want to be thought of as a good singer, then learn to sing. Otherwise, you’ll be like me and Rebecca Black, two people who at the end of the day will lie in bed and think of how they could have done better.

2.2 Seconds

Myles

What a game. Butler upsets #1 Pitt in the craziest 2.2 seconds of basketball ever. Can you imagine playing in that game? On Butler’s side, emotions go from we have this in our pocket after the layup, to heartbreak after the Shelvin Mack foul, relief that at least you got it to overtime and finally shock, more than anything else, that Nasir Robinson committed a foul on Matt Howard with less than a second left to hand Butler back the win.

I said at half that if Pitt can’t pull away by the end of the game, Butler will win it. They always manage to come out on the winning end of those tight games.

From my standpoint, I had Pitt going to the Final Four, so that game sucked. However, Butler deserved to win that game. I think that neither foul in those 2.2 seconds should have been called (though the one on Pitt was more questionable). What really did Pitt in was the seeming forgotten possession when they had the lead and the ball. They bled down the clock and forced up a horrible shot. If Pitt draws up a good play there and hit a shot, or at least get to the line, then this game takes a whole different turn. Butler is forced to put up a three, and assuming they hit it (which is a whole lot less likely than hitting that easy layup) Pitt probably just holds the ball to send it to overtime. Instead, Pitt gave Butler the chance to win with just 9 seconds left, and Butler made no mistakes.

2.2 seconds, and things completely changed. I guess this is why it’s called madness.

Kentucky-WVU Thought

Norm

-Are there two coaches more corrupt than John Calipari and Bob Huggins? Those are two guys who if I found out had been paying players I’d be satisfied. Both just look like they’re up to no good with that slicked back hair. Calipari’s been investigated at every school he goes to and then weasels his way out of a punishment by leaving. He had to vacate Final 4 appearances at UMASS and Memphis (soon to be Kentucky’s Elite 8 last year as well). SI had an interesting article about how everyone hates him for no good reason. Here’s my reason: he cheats and then he leaves before he can be found culpable.  Huggins also has an interesting habit of leaving schools for better opportunities, getting fired at Cincy and leaving Kansas State after a year. He wears a tracksuit to all the games, and one of my rules is to never trust a man in a tracksuit. Of course, him and Calipari are the best of friends.

-I found it fascinating that Bob Huggins inserted Jonnie West with five minutes left to go. Jonnie West, the son of Jerry West, hadn’t played all game. Huggins called a timeout specifically to insert him and even the announcers knew what was going on, saying he was put in to shoot. He bricked a jumper and pathetically airballed a three point shot. He looked almost overmatched. Now, I don’t claim to be a West Virginia basketball expert but to me it seemed as though something was up. His father was the greatest basketball player in West Virginia history, and was known as Mr. Clutch. It almost seemed as though Huggins hoped that would rub of on Jonnie. Now, I’m sure Jonnie is a very good shooter and he seemed to have a good attitude. However, I felt there were people who would have been better suited to take those big shots and have plays run for them, such as Joe Mazzulla. I’m a little dubious as to whether Jonnie would even make West Virginia on talent alone, let alone close out big games. One of my favourite things about sports is that talent is usually the ultimate determination of who gets a chance, not who you know or who your father was. Lebron James, whose father abandoned him, gets the same chance as Peyton Manning, regardless of who their fathers are. Recently, it’s become tough to look at sports this way. The Raptors General Manager’s primary qualification is that his father used to be Owner of the Phoenix Suns. It seemed as though Jonnie West’s primary qualification is his father was one of the greatest shooters anyone ever saw. I question as to whether Bob Huggins making an assumption based on that fact cost West Virginia a place in this tournament.

-Please TSN keep calling this soccer game tonight, “The Battle of Canada.” Everything with them is a battle for Canada. I look forward to seeing a lacrosse game promoted in very much the same way in a couple of months. Also, please Leo Rautins please talk about all the Canadian players. We’re so insecure that we need you to assure us we have a place in this tournament.

-I’m not sold on Brandon Knight as a pro prospect. I know he had 30 today but he had 2 last game. If he can’t consistently put the ball in the basket for a college team where he’s the number one option and playing against inferior talent, I find it hard to believe he’ll be a consistent NBA player. At least for a little while.

-This was yet another loss for me, just about dooming my hopes in this tournament. (Screw you Bob Huggins. And Calipari, I look forward to your recruitment of Brandon Wright being investigated.)

By George!

Norm

George Mason showed us why they’re here with that gutsy last minute shot by Luke Hancock. It’s great to see a guy named Hancock winning it for George Mason. Jay Triano would have had him wait until there was a second left before launching an off balance jumper. Gus Johnson just upped it that extra notch. Now Memphis has taken the lead against Arizona, of course TSN would rather show Duke up by 30. For what it’s worth (with my bracket shouldn’t be much) I think Memphis takes this one since Arizona can’t keep pace.

Final 4

Norm

Final 4

1 Duke OVER 2 North Carolina-Duke’s experienced team dismantles North Carolina’s inexperienced team. Just like the ACC Championship Game. There is no reason to think this game will be any different. Duke claims a big upper hand in the rivalry with North Carolina. Coach K begins work on another book, Ladders and Leadership: How to Climb to the Top of Yours.

3 Purdue OVER 10 Michigan State-Purdue’s seniors pull out one last bag of tricks, beating MSU and making the title game. Tom Izzo’s been great before the Final 4 throughout his career. During the Final 4, he’s been so-so or as they say in Hebrew cachah cachah. I’m not afraid to pick against him here.

Championship Game
1 Duke OVER 3 Purdue-Duke steamrolls the Boilermakers to win the title. Purdue runs out of gas in the final game. Duke is even better than last year’s team and it shows. Coach K runs for President creating a Duke Party. The party’s Mascot? A weasel, of course.

Southwest Region Picks

Norm

Round of 64

1 Kansas OVER 16 Boston U- Bill Simmons got a Masters from BU and Boston Rob got a BA. Sorry, Simmons and Boston Rob.

8 UNLV OVER 9 Illnois-Does UNLV still pay their players? For the purposes of this pick, I’m assuming the answer is yes.

12 Richmond OVER 5 Vanderbilt-Rich what? RICHMOND! Um, that’s not the whole reason I’m picking them. Also, Jay Cutler and Skip Bayless went to Vanderbilt and off the top of my head, I can’t think of two worse people. (Okay I can, but they’re both pretty awful.)

4 Louisville OVER 13 Morehead State-You can’t make up Rick Pitino against Morehead State. If only he’d applied that with his mistress, she wouldn’t have faked a pregnancy and extorted him. But seriously, who the hell makes up the name Morehead State? Sounds like Charlie Sheen’s type of school. Heck, sounds like any guy’s type of school. Except for the guys at BYU.

(If USC wins)

6 Georgetown OVER 11 USC-Congratulations Kevin O’Neill you’ve ruined the game. You took any enjoyment out of tonight’s snoozefest. I’m almost glad Rogers didn’t carry your game. I hope the Hoyas destroy you. My dad is going to Chicago and has to see this one.

(If VCU wins)

11 VCU OVER 6 Georgetown-Go VCU! GO VCU! It’s a shame Rogers made me miss your classic victory last night. I may have to dig out the VCU Rams shirt from the depths of my closet. It’s probably much too small. Eric Maynor hitting the game winner against Duke was maybe the greatest sporting event I’ve ever seen. Let’s do it again VCU! My dad is going to Chicago and gets to see this one.

3 Purdue OVER 14 St. Peter’s-I went to Rome and saw St. Peter’s Square this December. There was lots of art and Jesus memorabilia. I hated St. Peter’s Square.

10 Florida State OVER 7 Texas A & M-I know of Chris Singleton, and I love my Deion Sanders FSU jersey. I think them or Texas A&M will beat Notre Dame.

2 Notre Dame OVER 15 Akron-The heavily hyped Fighting Irish struggle to defeat a much smaller and less celebrated school. Remind you of any other sport? God, I hate Notre Dame. Don’t even get me started on Touchdown Jesus.

Round of 32

1 Kansas OVER 8 UNLV-Has any team ruined more brackets over the years than Kansas. The only year they didn’t flame out they won the whole thing, and those are the two ways to spoil the bracket. I’m betting this year’s a flameout. I still say they beat a pedestrian UNLV.

4 Louisville OVER 12 Richmond-Louisville and Rick Pitino continue their run of glory. Let’s just hope no lawsuits or extortion follow. Actually, let’s hope they do because it’s more fun.

3 Purdue OVER 11 USC/VCU-The Boilermakers cruise to victory and beat either of these. Who needs Robbie Hummel when I’m picking them for a random reason?

10 FSU OVER 2 Notre Dame-The Fighting Irish choke it counts. At least there’s no Clausen, let’s thank God for that.

Sweet 16

4 Louisville OVER 1 Kansas-Kansas flames out again. Fortunately, I’m onto you Bill Self. Thanks for helping me win my bracket. (If they win-Screw you Bill Self.)

3 Purdue OVER 10 FSU-Why do I keep picking Purdue? They have JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. Both are seniors, both have great names, and both can get it done when it counts. That hopefully will be here.

Elite 8

3 Purdue OVER 4 Louisville-JaJuan and E’Twaun finally make a Final 4. I jump for joy as both them and Michigan State prove me right and the world wrong. (If Louisville wins-I hope you get extorted Rick. Screw you, Pitino.)

Southeast Region Picks

Norm

Round of 64

1 Pittsburgh OVER 16 UNC Asheville-The only question is, why does UNC get two teams?

8 Butler OVER 9 Old Dominion-I saw this exact matchup in Buffalo a few years ago. The Butler Bulldogs won, had great cheerleaders, and they will do both again.

12 Utah State OVER 5 Kansas State-Two Kansas State players quit the team late in the season. That is not a good sign.

13 Belmont OVER 4 Wisconsin-I have just about had it with Wisconsin playing 40 point games. For the good of basketball, get rid of them Belmont. There’s always one crazy venue where both underdogs win. The announcer always says, “This was an absolutely wild day in (blank)!” Look for it to be this one and also the Oakland one from earlier.

6 St. Johns OVER 11 Gonzaga-This is a comeback year for New York hoops, St. John’s keeps it going against a Gonzaga outfit that is not one of its best.

3 BYU OVER 14 Wofford-Premarital sex, or no premarital sex, Jimmer Fredette can beat Wofford by himself. Is Wofford even an actual school, or a sound a dog makes?

10 Michigan State OVER 7 UCLA-Two of the biggest schools in basketball meet in a highly rated first round matchup. Kalin Lucas is a man on a mission after last year’s injury and will not be denied. (I’m rationalizing all my MSU picks)

2 Florida OVER UCSB-I think Santa Barbara is where Charlie Harper lives on Two and a Half Men. I don’t think all that partying is conducive to basketball, although it may be to March Madness.

Round of 32

1 Pittsburgh OVER 8 Butler-I wouldn’t mind if Butler won this one, but I can’t pick them just because they were good last year. They’re not that team anymore. (Don’t mention that I’m doing exactly that with MSU.)

12 Utah State OVER 13 Belmont-I hear Utah State is very experienced. Bobby Knight tells me experience is very good, so I suppose I’ll go with them. Stay in school, student-athletes.

6 St. John’s OVER 3 BYU-BYU receives penance for its misdeeds. Speaking of which, did anyone else see them politely clap during the selection show when all the other schools went crazy? Try to loosen up BYU since I don’t think your tournament will be lasting long. St. John’s should give BYU images of something they never want to see joy and celebration.

10 Michigan State OVER 2 Florida-Because Tom Izzo is the best and he will not bust my bracket by winning this year. He’ll probably just bust it by losing. But Florida’s overrated and played in a porous SEC Conference. I’ll take Big Ten over SEC any day this year. Will they still call it the Big Ten now that they’re taking two extra teams? What about the Big 12? I think it’s time I stop asking questions.

Sweet 16

1 Pittsburgh OVER Utah State-Something tells me Pittsburgh will flame out before this. One number 1 seed does every year. I’m expecting it to be Kansas, as it usually is. So, I reluctantly pick Pittsburgh yet again. Does the fact that I’m a Steelers fan oblige me to support Pitt?

10 Michigan State OVER 6 St. Johns-A banged up St. John’s team loses as Tom Izzo and Kalin Lucas are embarking on one final magical run. Let’s hope it ends better than last year for Lucas.

Elite 8

Michigan State OVER Pittsburgh-To me, this and the Southwest were the weirdest regions. I picked Michigan State because they are the only team that has done it in the past and also has the coach and personnel to do it again. If they actually pull this off, I assume it would win me my bracket and I think I may build a Tom Izzo statue in front of my house. Long Live the King of Basketball. (If he loses-Screw you Tom Izzo.)

East Region Picks

Norm

Round of 64

1 Ohio State OVER 16 UTSA-Sullinger and company roll over San Antonio. Well, at least they have the Spurs (lucky bastards).

8 George Mason OVER 9 Villanova-“By George, I believe they’ve done it!” would win a bracket for my favourite expression. America’s favourite little mid major gets a win in March yet again.

5 West Virginia OVER 12 Clemson-Because West Virginia has an alumnus named Jerry West. Perhaps you’ve heard of him, he’s on the NBA logo. Clemson has Strom Thurmond, a former Senator who spoke for days in opposition to the Civil Rights Act. Yeah, I’m going to pick West Virginia.

4 Kentucky OVER 13 Princeton-Will Princeton get this win when Kentucky has to vacate it next year?

6 Xavier OVER 11 Marquette-Because Xavier gets it done year after year, and I’d like to picture Dwyane Wade watching the game and crying. Screw you Dwyame for making me look up the spelling of your first name, every single time.

3 Syracuse OVER 14 Indiana State-Unfortunately for them, Larry Bird isn’t walking through that door. Rick Pitino empathizes.

7 Washington OVER 10 Georgia-Because Isaiah Thomas is great in big games.

2 North Carolina OVER 15 Long Island-I expect this to be surprisingly close. I went to Long Island a couple weeks ago and saw an Islanders game. A native Long Islander summed it up best what the stadium was like, “This is the worst place to watch anything.”

Round of 32

1 Ohio State OVER 8 George Mason-Sorry George, the ride ends here. For the record, I think Jared Sullinger will be a very good pro.

5 West Virginia OVER 4 Kentucky-Kentucky had a six-man rotation during the season. That simply just won’t do in this tournament. On the bright side, at least they won’t have to vacate that many wins.

6 Xavier OVER 3 Syracuse-The X Men have made the Sweet 16 the past three years. Now let’s just hope that nickname catches on, as I see them doing it yet again.

2 North Carolina OVER 7 Washington-Does anyone see Carolina losing this game? I hope I didn’t just jinx that.

Sweet16

1 Ohio State OVER 5 West Virginia-There isn’t much else to say, but I don’t think West Virginia has the goods for an upset of this magnitude.

2 North Carolina OVER Xavier-The X Men are vanquished as North Carolina sets up an epic showdown with Ohio State.

Elite 8

North Carolina OVER Ohio State-In the game of the tournament to this point, North Carolina wins a nailbiter. That’s the difference between Roy Williams and Thad Matta. Also, I think Dick Vitale’s head just exploded over a Duke-UNC Final 4 matchup. Believe it, baby!

West Region Picks

Norm

Round of 64

1 Duke OVER 16 Hampton-If I need to explain myself, please stop reading.

2 San Diego State OVER 15 Northern Colorado-If any 2 seed falls, it would be this one. However, that happens something like once every ten years so you won’t find me picking it.

3 UCONN OVER 14 Bucknell-Christy Mathewson went to Bucknell. Now that you’re done looking that up or if you’re a fan of the dead ball era, you’ve realized that a team whose most famous alumni is a baseball player from over 100 years ago, is not winning a game.

13 Oakland OVER 4 Texas-Did you know Oakland University is in Michigan? They get the win here led by big Keith Benson. Which is a hell of a name, and he has the goatee to match. He sounds like he’s just about ready to step into a bad action movie and beat up 11 guys at once. I essentially believe he’ll do that against Texas. Texas is also led by Rick Barnes, who knows about as much about basketball as my goldfish (Goldy died 6 years ago). If you don’t believe me just watch the game and I am sure that win or lose you will believe he is mentally handicapped.

12 Memphis OVER 5 Arizona-God do I hate Arizona. Kevin O’Neill was their coach a few years ago and I had the thrill of watching them in the first two rounds in Miami a couple years ago. Their fans were excruciating, the exact sort of people you would expect to live in Arizona. I’m going to try not to make dumb jokes about universities, but these people are about as smart as my cactus (don’t have one). In terms of the game Arizona is overrated and Memphis will run all over them.

11 Missouri OVER 6 Cincy-I had a tough time with this one but since I like Xavier to go far, and there are only so many teams from Cincinatti I will pick, Cincy has to go.

7 Temple OVER 10 Penn State-Only a few months until you get to watch Joe Paterno sit in the press box, Nittany Lions fan! What is a Nittany Lion anyway and why won’t they fire that old man?

8 Michigan OVER 9 Tennessee-Neither has a chance against Duke, so I’ll go with Michigan because Bruce Pearl went shirtless to the Tennessee women’s basketball team’s game. I hate that he went to a women’s basketball game. In all serious, I have no problem with that but I do have a problem with him going shirtless. If you want to know why go on Google Images although I don’t suggest it. I also loved how the Fab Five criticized Duke players for being Uncle Toms when Michigan is up there with Duke for snobby, primarily Caucasian institutions.

Round of 32

1 Duke OVER 8 Michigan-Because Duke is the best and Michigan kind of sucks.

7 Temple OVER 2 San Diego State-There’s always one over seeded mid major which crumbles during tournament time. They’re not that good just because they ran up their record against inferior competition. And as a friend put it, “San Diego isn’t a state.”

11 Missouri OVER 3 UCONN-There’s also always that team that plays 5 games in 5 days during a conference tournament and shocks everyone by winning. Then they run out of gas. See Syracuse a few years ago as an example.

13 Oakland OVER 12 Memphis-Repeat after me, Memphis cannot stop Keith Benson. Perhaps no one can.

Sweet 16

1 Duke OVER 13 Oakland-Keith Benson’s magical run comes to an end here against big bad Duke. Hoping to see you with a Maple Leaf on your back next year old friend. (If Oakland loses tomorrow scratch this, I loathe you Keith Benson.)

11 Missouri OVER 7 Temple-Missouri gets it done led by Kadeem Green of Toronto. To be quite honest, no one in this region stands a chance in hell against Duke. Once again, the bracket makers give Duke the best region. Not that there’s a conspiracy or anything. But if there is you just know Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas are somehow involved.

Elite 8

1 Duke OVER 11 Missouri-The Blue Devils advance to the Final 4 yet again as Coach K looks despicable yet again.

Guessing Game

Myles

There is no need for all this madness. I bet you are reading this article looking for some help regarding your bracket. You’ve dropped x amount of money on your bracket(s), and you’re looking for any possible one-up on the next guy. No amount of research is enough. You’ve delved into each matchup and potential matchup for hours. Instead of listening in class, or earning your salary at work, you’re working on your bracket. You’ve read every supposed expert. And you still have no clue who’s going to win the Old Dominion/Butler game, which #1 seed will fall early and which low seed will be this years version of 2006 George Mason.

I’m here to tell you to guess. There is no way of knowing. Basketball is a game of chance, and in a series of one game sudden death playoffs, anything can happen. How many people called Northern Iowa upsetting Kansas in the round of 32 last year? Now how many of you were anything more than a casual fan, or filled out the bracket as more of a joke? The best way to fill out a bracket, beyond the semi-obvious 1-16 and 2-15 games, is probably just to throw darts and see what comes up. My fellow blogger  Norm has either posted his picks at this point, or is about to. Now I’m not saying not to read his article, since we need the views (if not for anything but pride and bragging), but don’t take it too seriously. For that matter, I would trust a bracket that Charlie Sheen made while banging down 7 gram rocks (because that’s how he rolls) just as much as a bracket put together by NCAA tournament expert and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.

You’re probably now thinking that this is a little silly, and that there is some logic to picking your winners. Sure, I’ll give you that. There is a reason these teams are ranked. But really, I’d say every team that makes it to the second weekend (i.e. the Sweet Sixteen) is about equal. You have your #1 seeds, who are expected to be there and under pressure to keep winning. You have your 3-6 seeds, who are happy that they are there, but realize that it isn’t enough. Then you have your cinderella teams, who have nothing to lose and are willing to take chances that a higher seed would not take to win a game. All teams in the Sweet Sixteen have momentum. This is where dart-throwing becomes especially effective.

I did fill out a bracket this year, and I did do research to make sure I didn’t waste $10 on a bracket that’s going to be busted in the first round. When making my picks for the first weekend, I looked at two things: defensive efficiency and whether the team has been hot lately. I did this to make sure I wasn’t picking a team to go far that allows 75 points a game, or a team who suspended their star rebounder for having sex in college (I wonder if BYU would have taken the same measures on Jimmer). Past the first two rounds, I went with instincts. These teams are way too evenly matched to leave it to anything but that.

If there was a solid way of making picks for the NCAA tournament, I’m sure someone would have at least come close to a perfect bracket. But there is no way of knowing in a one game series. This is why the NBA plays four 7 game series. Over the course of one game, the heavy underdog could get lucky and top the favourite. Over the course of seven, it is highly improbable. Thats what makes the NCAA tourney so exhilarating, and why people like me, who barely follow college basketball throughout the regular season, get so hyped up for the Madness.

Last year, for the first time, I decided to enter one of these March Madness Pools. Having no prior knowledge of college hoops, I figured I had equal chances to that of the groundhog actually getting his winter predictions correct. I picked mostly based on rankings, with a few upsets littered here and there. Lo and behold, come the Final Four, I was one West Virginia win away from the greatest underdog story in pool history. Unfortunately, they lost but it serves to prove the point of this article: There is very little logic involved when picking winners in March Madness.

You can go out and do all the research you want, if it makes you feel better. But know this: it will make a very minimal difference, if any at all. With that, may the person who worries the least about their bracket win.