Monday, March 30, 2009

At Least I Get To Enjoy The Final Four With No Money On The Line

I haven't checked the message board on the Tourney pool in which I am now assured of losing to my wife and 5-year-old nephew, because I already know what it likely says. And while I am fully aware that what I am about to write is just a smokescreen for the deep, possibly unquenchable shame for my placement in this bracket contest, I feel I deserve some of the credit for my bride having three of the Final Four and both Finals teams left. It seems I am better at giving advice than listening to it myself.

I had planned on doing it this year, and perhaps I still will, but I did not actually compile and write out my rules for picking the NCAA Tournament. Certainly "Never pick Gonzaga" is up there. "Always pick Syracuse to win at least one game further than their seed." "Rely on teams with power over teams that rely on speed and shooting." "No center, no Sweet 16." "Pick at least one win for each senior starter on a power conference team, and senior point guards are worth two."

But there are some new rules I am considering now as well: "Never think a toe injury will actually cause any problems." "Seriously, never pick Gonzaga." "Pick straight chalk at least to the Sweet 16 and stick with the 1-seeds at least to the Elite 8." "Never pick the 'How could they have gotten in; the selection committee is corrupt'-team to lose in the first round." "Any coach who has won a National Championship is worth at least one win that that team should not have won."

The following is a rundown of the questions my wife asks when making her picks. She does this for every game and always in this order. I include this because perhaps there are nuggets of genius buried in it for you to use in your picks next year.

First she will go by the seeds. Unless it is a 6-11 game or closer, she won't even look at an upset. She also has a fair knowledge of who the really good teams are, so this isn't just blind picking on seeds.

Next she determines if she knows anyone who went to either school, if she's ever been to that campus or state, and which is a more desirable vacation spot. Ex-boyfriend went to school in Missouri? Sorry's an early exit for you. Not interested in going to Minnesota? Good night, Gophers!

If either school has an odd name, or if she'd never heard of them before, that will make her lean heavily the other way, but is not a deal-breaker. Except Farleigh Dickinson, which would probably do it.

Next she will ask if either school is a private school. She will always go with private schools over public schools if she can't otherwise decide. Catholic schools are tops among private schools, of course.

If she still has not made her pick, she will go with the mascots. Cougars trump all mascots because of Ricky Bobby yelling "How can I control my emotions? There's a cougar in the car!" in Talladega Nights. Other than that I am not clear on if she picks which mascot she likes better, which is less weird (sorry Zips, Tide, Governors, Banana Slugs, Anteaters, Blue Hens, Vandals, Golden Flashes...), or which would kill the other in a fight to the death.

And if even the examination of the mascots proves inconclusive, she goes with colors. I am pretty sure the hierarchy here goes blue-red-yellow-green-other, but I am not positive.

And if that still doesn't work, she just goes with my pick. Luckily for her, she did not do that much after the Sweet 16.

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