enlightened march madness

College basketball march madness is maybe the best sports event in america … probably because it is not just one big game … it is three weeks of constant gnashing of teeth and discussion and good basketball games and, well, madness.

The sports gurus go nuts this time of the year breaking down every possible aspect <and even aspects the normal mind wouldn’t consider> of the teams in march madness.

But.  I would remind everyone it is called madness for a reason.

Sports gurus have won championships, most likely played the game at some respectable level, get paid to analyze and talk about it nonstop, maybe even have coached a game or two and most definitely even watch the games … but …  predicting the future?

Gee. I don’t think even they can do that (hence the inevitable … “on any given day any team can beat another” caveat).


I will enlighten everyone on this years madness (just doing my part to help out).

Oh. Here are my credentials. I scored over 30 points in one game <an intramural game>. I threw a no look pass once that broke the nose of someone standing on the grass off the court. I have been dunked on <by a 5’ 10” kid named Hightower of all names>. My undergraduate school is on basketball probation until Mars is colonized. My graduate school team has more PhD candidates than wins this year.

Read on at your own peril.

So. My way to predict the March Madness. Study all the teams ad nausea. Drink until I am nauseous. Spend hours watching ESPN consulting with all the experts on RPIs (although I thought for years that was Rensalear Polytechnic Institute and we were talking about their ice hockey team), chart who is hot at the end of the year and who was crumbling like a bluff in California during an earthquake … and then look for the Cinderella slipper (which sounds kinda creepy).

Then. After spending hours going over data and filling out multiple sheets …  well … I throw those away.  It’s a crap shoot.  Ask someone who has never watched college basketball and have them pick by school colors or mascots (which mascot could beat up the other one is always an awesome criteria) and you are more likely to pick a definite winner <please don’t sue me if you use this method>.

Anyway. Speaking of mascots.

Mascot newcomers test:

Let’s begin by …

–          welcoming in the South Dakota State jackrabbits (are there Jillrabbits too?), little do you know but this is really the North Dakota Fighting Sioux but the NCAA has banned them until they change their Indian-diminishing ‘fighting Sioux’ name so they are playing as south Dakotans (will anyone be able to tell the difference?)

The others of note …

–          Norfolk State Spartans (I am unclear between the association between Norfolk & Spartans but lets go for it)

–          Belmont Bruins (I would like to remind everyone <maybe you lost that particular National Geographic> that a bruin is a bear … a Eurasian Brown Bear as a matter of fact)

–          Lamar Cardinals (I just added them because I had no clue they were the cardinals)

–          Vermont Catamounts (boy … we got screwed by UVM getting in … if they hadn’t we could have had Great Danes <Albany> or SeaWolves <not to be confused with SeaHorses> or Terriers or Retrievers … now that, my friends, is a conference of mascots)

–          UNC Asheville Bulldogs (not to be confused with their conference mate the Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner Webb … hey … does this mean Asheville doesn’t run and … well … geez … my head hurts … ok, and maybe next year the Blue Hose <stop laughing> of Presbyterian gets in)

–          Long Island Blackbirds (in honor of the Hunger Games version of March Madness I believe they should wear their MockingJay jerseys)

–          Lehigh Mountain Hawks (not to be confused by the Valley Hawks or Rolling Hill Hawks or … well … whatever)

Bracketbuster (1): P(d)uke

Duke has an equal chance of being a final four team as they do getting knocked out in the first round. I cannot think of another team in this year’s tournament who could go from out house to big house (or vice versa) quicker. Your entire bracket could be bear or bust based on this choice.

Me? Pick ‘em to lose early this year.

Bracketbuster (2): Connecticut

Which UConn team will show up this week (and next)? Aw. Who cares. All they need to do is show up for the Kentucky game then it is clear sailing.

Here is what I do know … here is the 3/13 early morning Iditarod update – Ramey Smyth surges and now third into White Mountain    We are now in early AM reporting,  after noting that Aliy Zirkle is now in at 1:25 AM.   Her lead dogs Pocito and Dingle, impressively alert and crowd favorites, followed Aliy’s every move …

I think the lead Huskies, Pocito & Dingle, will be done with Iditarod and well rested and show up on Calhoun’s bench in time.

So. Me? Pick the Huskies to go deep this year. Calhoun is packin’ it up soon and his kids will know that so may actually pay attention for an entire game (plus Dingle will probably drool on the floor during the Kentucky game and someone will slip at a key moment).

Number ones go down

Watch me go down in flames so fast even Harry Potter’s phoenix couldn’t rise back up … but this is my crazy pick.

No number ones in the final 4.

Seems like a no brainer when you see my reasons why.

1. The Mayan Calendar.

2. Ohio State, Missouri and Kansas are all 2’s (hence I put them as number 2) and the final is on April 2nd.

3. Ponce De Leon founded Florida on April 2nd in 1513. (huh? … sorry … that is my enlightened factoid of the post)

4. The 1’s lose because:

– Kentucky … hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … despite being the most talented team … yes, I do believe a zone based more mature team can beat them, no, I don’t think this young a team will be able to weather a “one time crunch game” which inevitably March Madness comes down to and, yes, I think Calipari is a crappy big game coach.

– UNC loses because I think Kansas is a better team.

– Michigan State loses because I am not even sure they get to Missouri but if they do they will run the Spartans up & down the court so much even the 300 couldn’t keep up.

– Syracuse is Syracuse. (note: I wrote this before I knew Melo was ineligible)

5. Obi Wan Kenobi (alec Guinness) was born on April 2nd and I feel the force within me telling me it is so.

The choice between State or no State

I will state for the record right here and now when in doubt avoid the States.

Ok. What do I mean?

This year we have New Mexico & State. North Carolina & State. Michigan & State. Colorado & State. Florida & State. South Dakota State (I am just pleased to find out they are still a state).  Virginia & State (Norfolk State … ok … that one throws me).

Hey. As I type this I have now figured out why we don’t let Canada in the NCAA. They have provinces (this is a freebie idea for Canada: create Newfoundland State University and University of Newfoundland <my luck … there probably is> and I bet you can get into the NCAA).

Sorry. I digress.

Frankly I cannot usually tell you the difference between state and non state schools. In my pea like brain I figure if you have to put State in the actual name of your school to tell people it actually resides in a state, let alone that state, you must have lower IQs (c’mon … I just shouldn’t have to tell people it’s a state).


Take the non states. Seems smarter.

Sense of irony (or sense of humor)

Every year the NCAA does something that makes me think there is a lot of alcohol involved when designing the brackets and a couple of “wait ‘til everybody gets a load of this” type guffaws.

Vanderbilt – Harvard. Brilliant (pun intended). Already being called the SAT bowl.

Possibility of Huggins versus ex-Huggins (West Virginia/Cincinnati). Drinks will be free that game.

Possibility of a Kentucky-UConn/Indiana/Duke matchup … all in one bracket. Maybe Barbra Streisand will be invited to sing Memories before each game. oh. Is she still alive?

The women of march madness:

Let us not forget that this is college. And young women go to all these colleges. And there is a lot of drinking done on college campuses (except at BYU of course) so while there will be a bunch of screaming & yelling & cheering there will also be a bunch of guys oogling the women of schools we don’t typically have the honor of oogling.

With that here is the Yardbarker coed review (or babes of the bottom bracket as they call it).

This is my gratuitous creepy guy inappropriate male Neanderthal section.



talk to the hand if you don't like it

All that said. Here are my enlightened final four picks with a twist. I have who I think will win it and then I also list the team who I want to put in there but just don’t have the kahones to do it.

South: No. 9 Connecticut (sleeper: hmmmmmmmmmm … that is a sleeper)

West: No. 2 Missouri (sleeper: New Mexico … although I was tempted by Marquette)

East: No. 2 Ohio State (sleeper: West Virginia. Huggins may be an asshole but he is an asshole who knows how to coach … and they get a good start in Pittsburgh <which is west West Virginia)

Midwest: No. 2 Kansas (sleeper: none … this bracket looks horrible outside of Kansas and UNC)

And after going that far I just cannot pick a winner.


At least right now. Maybe I will after I get to see some games and see how badly I am doing.


I am sure all the incredible insight and factoids have enlightened you, but in the end it still comes down to the voices in your head (just the ones talking about basketball this time … ignore the others).

Think about this.

Taking four No. 1 seeds to advance to the Final Four is the prudent and responsible thing to do … and it probably won’t have you win the pool.

And it isn’t fun. And, seriously, who really wants to be prudent and responsible? (freudian slip on my part)

I can almost guarantee you <history is actually on my side on this one> that not all 4 number ones will get there … albeit history is certainly not on the side of my enlightened picks.

Aw. WTF. Pick what you want.

Written by Bruce