Thursday, March 17, 2011

The worst bracket you’ve ever seen

I follow college basketball sort of like The Bachelor—I profess not to care, I mock it, I pronounce its idiocy, then I watch it while pretending to do something more productive…like chemistry homework or something. Only, secretly, I can’t help but care. College basketball may not be able to compare with the pro game, but March Madness certainly lives up to its name. March is really the only time of year I make a point to watch every game, or even get to know the stars.

Ten reasons you should care about the NCAA tourney (like you needed any prodding, right?).

1. Pep bands. It makes you feel like you’re in high school all over again.

2. Scouting. If you’re a die-hard NBA fan, you should tune in to catch a glimpse of pro-prospects; try to gauge yourself whether you think they’ll make it in professional basketball. Anyone who watched both Greg Oden and Kevin Durant in 2007 knows exactly what I’m talking about.

3. Duke. Everyone hates Duke and Coach K, so why not join the party?

4. Crowds. Say what you will about College Basketball fans, but they show up for games.

5. Gus Johnson. First, don’t forget the law of Gus Johnson (in which any game being called by Gus must either go into overtime or end in a buzzer-beater), and second, it has been scientifically proven that Gus Johnson makes anything 17 times more exciting than it actually is.

6. Dick Vitale. Crap, I’m trying to convince you to watch college ball, not force you to tune out. Forget I said anything about Dick Vitale.

7. Jay Bilas and a host of analysts flipping their lids because of a couple bubble teams that might have been undeserving of entrance into the tourney got in and the “First Four” experiment. RELAX.

8. Air-balled free throws. I’ve never claimed to be a virtuoso of basketball, but NEVER have I air-mailed a free throw. And I’ve seen it more than a few times over the last couple of weeks.

9. Upsets. Nothing warms my heart quite like a lowly school that barely made it in, say Wofford, toppling a giant.

10. Awkward white guys. Enjoy it while it lasts, because pretty soon those awkward white guys will be buried on an NBA bench somewhere (Luke Harangody anyone?).

11. Bracket-making. I decided to actually enter a couple pools this year with friends, and thus, I had to craft my bracket. Let’s just say I had more fun than any man should ever be allowed to have with a pen and paper. Consider me a bracket-maker for life. I’m addicted.

Without further ado, my bracket (made with tender love and care):

I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I’ve seen maybe 25 of the 64 tourney team’s play. Here’s what I know: Jared Sullinger is the best player in college basketball, Kemba Walker is an ankle breaker, Duke lives and dies by the three, Old Dominion can surprise some people with its rebounding prowess, Harrison Barnes is “clutch”, and Kentucky has two possible lottery picks in the NBA draft (Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight).

My first round upset picks:

Oakland OVER Texas: Why? Because Texas went 4-4 down the stretch, with bad losses to Nebraska, Colorado, and KSU. In case you’re counting that’s three losses to unranked teams in a nine day span. Oh, and they lost by 12 to #2 Kansas—a good measuring stick game. Screw it, I’M FEELIN’ OAKLAND!

Richmond OVER Vanderbilt: Because I’ve never watched either team and the media is hyping Richmond like they’re the second coming of George Mason circa 2006.

Florida State OVER Texas A&M: WHY NOT? Can you think of one good reason why Florida State can’t win? EITHER CAN I.

Old Dominion OVER Butler: Butler is the 177th best rebounding team in the country and ODU is the seventh.

Wofford OVER BYU: Scared you for a second, didn’t I?

Teams I really like:

Kentucky: Young, super athletic, with multiple top NBA prospects. The only thing they don’t have is experience; but we’ve seen good young teams overcome that plenty of times. Plus, they won six in a row to close out the season, with quality wins against Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Alabama.

Old Dominion: They don’t just crash the boards, they annihilate them. That bodes well for tournament play…


Kansas: Most polished team I’ve seen with talent across the board. I’m pulling stuff out of my ass at this point…

Teams I don’t like:

Pittsburgh: Classic case of a team that’s good at a lot of things (playing defense, rebounding, scoring efficiency, passing) but not great at anything. Ripe for an upset in my opinion…

BYU: Jimmer has gone from good player, to great player, to offensive savant, to cult hero, to god-hood in the span of two months. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a Pippen to his Jordan.

West Virginia: The Pundits say they suck. Good enough for me…

My Final Four picks:

EAST: Kentucky

My surprise team of the tournament. They’ve got just enough athleticism, speed, and big guys to throw at Sullinger to shock the #1 seed.

WEST: Duke

Kyrie Irving is a really, really good point guard. If he truly can play through the tourney I think Duke can repeat as champs.


Really good at everything, and really, really good at scoring points. Best team in the tournament, and my pick to win it all.


Jay Bilas picked the Gators. Seriously, that’s all I got.

I’m throwing crap against the wall at this point. LET THE MADNESS BEGIN.

1 comment:

  1. Rich, How much do you wish you had predicted VCUs run in this column? Chance of a lifetime baby! Oh well.