Thursday, March 17, 2005

One-track mind 

I was tipped off that today my boss would be getting into the office late this afternoon. So what do I do? Sleep in and watch the morning games of the NCAA basketball tournament. It's March Madness, yo! Freaking brackets! I'm sure you're all aware that I've been going apeshit over this since... well, since I can remember. God bless the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for coming through on that annual 12/5 upset and knocking off Alabama. Definitely helps my bracket. Elsewhere, I should've known to reverse my pick in the Pacific/Pittsburgh matchup after hearing yesterday that the Pitt team was stranded for all of Tuesday at an airport in South Dakota. Also didn't count on Pacific to shoot the lights out like they did.

Of course, since games finally started this morning, people can no longer sign up for bracket sheets -- sooo overwhelmingly popular in offices. As of this morning, I have entered bracket picks at ten different websites, plus the office pool. Ahh...

I think the Albuquerque region is the deepest and, therefore, toughest region with about six schools all with great shots at making a run to the Final Four. I'm going with the unpopular pick here: Gonzaga. The Zags will beat a surprise Georgia Tech team in the elite 8 to get to St. Louis. Wake Forest is the trendy pick here, but I think the Zags can up-end them in the Sweet 16.

I think the Austin region is probably the sorriest region I've seen in all my years following the tournament (that would number around 12). I think Duke will flame out and they'll do it to Syracuse, my pick to make the Final Four out of this region. The Orange will knock off Oklahoma -- not Kentucky -- to get to the national semis. By the way, just as Wisconsin-Milwaukee won today, I like 12-seeded Old Dominion to upset an overrated Michigan State club.

Everyone is talking up the Syracuse bracket because the top three seeds are North Carolina (my pick to win it all), UConn (defending champs), and Kansas. Can't say there are any contenders beyond these three, however. If Carolina plays to their capability, no one's stopping them. They're the deepest and most talented team in the field. Don't think I'm not taking a risk by picking them, though. Their head coach, Roy "Deputy Dawg" Williams, is a master at underachieving in the tournament.

The Chicago region was taylor-made for Illinois. They don't have to travel more than three hours at any point in the tournament. They'll knock off Oklahoma St. in the regional final to get to the Final Four where they'll lose a classic encounter to North Carolina. What about my Arizona? Well, the Cats could make a run, but I think they could just as easily fall asleep at the wheel. I think LSU has a legit shot at stumping them in the second round.

God, I love this time of year. And it's Green Beer Day, to boot! Which means getting to bars tonight will be torture and perhaps ultimately not worth it. But hey, the Madness.

Only wish I had others to revel with during these next four days.

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