Since I’m calling 10 blog posts in 10 days my March madness, it only seems appropriate that the first post talk about the NCAA tournament that begins tomorrow.
It’s March and that can mean only one thing – potholes and the NCAA Tournament. Ok, that’s two things but only one of those is enjoyable. For my money, this is the best sporting event of the year. You can keep your Super Bowls, your World Series, your Westminster Dog Shows – give me a month of great college hoops and I’m happy. And the reason it’s the best event is because everyone is the country is gambling on it. The tournament bracket pools make even the most holy folks among us turn into John Daly.
I know you throw your money into these pools, you don’t have to hide it. Yet year after year you lose to people like Janet in accounting or Herb in sales. Well enough is enough. I’m here to give you helpful tips that I guarantee will help you make some noise in your office pool.
I like to call these Rhodes’ Laws (Actually, it doesn’t roll off the tongue that well but it looks cool in print). If you follow these guidelines, you will come out healthier, wealthier, and wise. (Ok, maybe not the wise thing but work with me here).
1. Put North Carolina in your final four. I don’t care if it is 2009, 1979, or 1949, pick them. Powder blue works real well in March.
2. Never, ever pick a 15th or 16th seed in the 1st round. C’mon! Who are you trying to impress? The guys on these teams are not NBA lottery picks – they are the future Quality Control Specialists for mid-sized paper companies.
3. Pick upsets in the 1st two rounds. Yeah, I know, that goes against what rule #2 says, but here’s what I’m saying – pick realistic upsets, especially some #10-13 seeds. And when you nail one of these games, it just feels so good. Like maybe Mississippi State? Hmm? Hmm?
4. Don’t pick Marquette to win it all. They haven’t done that since 1977.
5. Don’t pick San Francisco to win it all. They haven’t done that since 1956, and that should continue since they didn’t make the tournament.
6. Don’t pick the City College of New York to win it all. They haven’t done that since 1950. In fact, never pick the City College of New York for anything outside of an off-Broadway musical.
7. Stay away from universities that have lots of directions in their name. Teams like East Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, and Southwesteastnorth Texas College of Mortuary Science. I don’t know why, but the more directions mean less wins.
8. Don’t pick a team from the Ivy League. Teams like Harvard, Penn and Princeton…let’s face it, these guys are probably more focused on their Political Science mid-terms than b-ball, and who wants that in their college basketball team?!?
9. The ACC is good.
10. The TAAC is not.
11. If there is a clear cut #1 team in the country, don’t pick them to win it all. Everyone else is doing that, so go out on a limb, pick a good team but not the overwhelming favorite.
12. Just because “Radford” sounds cool doesn’t mean you should pick them. If you see them in the brackets, move on.
13. Morgan State. See #12.
14. Portland State. See #13.
15. If for some strange reason you have a pool for the women’s brackets and I don’t know why you would, pick UCONN to win. As for the rest of the picks, flip a coin.
16. UCLA’s coach Ben Howland is a genius, except this year.
17. Do you know what the “F” in Stephen F. Austin stands for? Failure. Don’t pick ‘em.
18. As much as this pains me to type – Pitt is not going to win it all. I’m sorry. But you can do yourself a favor by getting them knocked out somewhere in the Sweet 16 – Final 4 range. Everyone else will be picking them to go farther, so you can make up some points here.
19. And finally, always tip your bartenders and waitresses. Actually this has nothing to do with the tournament, but I thought I’d throw it in anyway.
Congratulations. If you’ve taken my advice, you will be winning your pool in 3 weeks. Now fill out those brackets and this is very important, make sure you stop working at exactly noon on Thursday. If you don’t have a TV or radio in your office, call in sick because you need to be rooting for Virginia Commonwealth. And this will probably be the last time you ever root for Virginia Commonwealth.
No diaper dandies were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog. – Dave R