Everything I know about college basketball, I learned from MaconDawg’s and Mr. Sanchez’s patient explanations, tankertoad’s vehement ranting, and whatever Rangers100 posted in comment threads that wasn’t about oversigning before we banned him. Consequently, I am inclined to defer to my esteemed colleagues when it comes to completing an NCAA Tournament bracket. However, I have a few thoughts of my own upon the subject, which I now offer for your consideration, with a friendly reminder that (a) I warn you not to bet on it anytime I am offering pregame predictions, and (b) my postgame basketball wrapups invariably contain the term "ill-informed" in the headline.
With that caveat, here are my methods for confronting March Madness:
- All chalk, all the time. Pick all four No. 1 seeds to make it to the Final Four. Play it safe. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Upsets! Nothing but upsets! Every twelve seed upsets every five seed! This is the year a 16 seed takes down a one seed! Complete chaos! It’s like picking lottery numbers higher than 31; your odds of winning aren’t any better, but, since most folks pick lottery numbers using birthdays and anniversary dates, the payoff is higher if you’re right.
- Which mascot would win in the wild? Granted, this is the Diane Chambers approach, but, hey, whatever works, right? A clash between Bears and Jackrabbits is hardly fair, and the Owls are in trouble against either the other Bears or the Bulls. There are, though, some intriguing matchups between, e.g., the Cavaliers and the Gators, the Bearcats and the Longhorns, and, of course, the Fighting Irish and the Musketeers.
- Pick alphabetically. It’s the default method of organization in everything else, so why shouldn’t we use it here, too? Alphabetize every team in the field---ignore those play-in games; Mississippi Valley falling to Western Kentucky doesn’t really even count---and go with the team that comes first alphabetically in every matchup. Hence, Kentucky will take out Western Kentucky, but the Wildcats will fall either to Connecticut or to Iowa State in the next round. Duke and Indiana both advance in the South Region, but UNLV and Xavier are toast. In the Midwest, it matters a lot to North Carolina whether Lamar or Vermont makes it out of Dayton. Alabama, Baylor, Brigham Young, and Cincinnati make the Final Four, with the Crimson Tide defeating the Bears for yet another national championship clinched in New Orleans on April 2. You heard it here first.
- Be a homer. Scan bracket. Note Georgia didn’t make the tournament. Grumble that a CBI berth would’ve been nice. Crumple bracket and discard. Vote for Uga hating Auburn, then go watch men’s tennis and women’s gymnastics.
Those are my suggestions for filling out a bracket, but we welcome yours, as well.
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