Tuesday, March 14, 2017


This usually means very serious college basketball. It is, in my opinion, the most exciting collegiate sporting event of the year. I know, I know, there's that football playoff and all those ridiculously named bowl games but this is better.Why? Because it includes more teams and a wide variety of school sizes. When you look at the top ten football teams, you see Ohio St, Alabama, UCLA, Michigan St and the like. All huge schools with student bodies of 100,000 or more. No Creighton or Gonzaga or St Mary's and certainly no Florida Gulf Coast. They're all in the NCAA Tournament but you won't see Alabama or Ohio St in it. They weren't good enough.

This tournament is all about match-ups and brackets. It's designed to give the best teams a chance to meet in the final game, but they still have to earn it. Villanova may be the number one team in the country but they will still have to win six games in three weeks against a few of the best teams colleges have to offer. Since they can only put five players on the court at a time, sometimes a hot team will advance a lot farther than the seedings would lead you to believe. In football, win one game in the "playoffs" and you're in the final. If you are seeded number five or higher in the country, you don't even get a chance to try for it. How can you beat a system like the NCAA's? Okay, maybe you could add a few more teams, but that really wouldn't do much good, so let's stick with the current arrangement.

I'm sure you've all heard the experts drone on and on about their picks. If you haven't, turn the TV on to any one of six channels and you will. This team can go far because the committee matched them up with so-and-so. This team is seeded sixth which makes their road a lot harder. This team has to travel out west so they'll have it rougher. And so on and so forth. But let's have some fun. Let's match the teams differently

By nickname 
This would make it easier on the announcers to remember.
How about Wildcats? You could almost fill a bracket with these. There are five of them: Arizona, Kansas State Northwestern, Kentucky and, of course, Villanova.
Tigers is usually a good bet, but there are only two this year: Princeton & Texas Southern.
There are four Eagles in this one. N.C Central, Winthrop, Florida Gulf Coast and Marquette (actually Golden Eagles)
How about  the Trojans - Troy and UCLA. Maybe not a good match up on the court but they could always share a mascot.
One of the strangest obscure nicknames is the Gaels, and yet we have two of them. St. Mary's and Iona. The only problem with this match up is that one of them has to win which means another week of research for the announcers, trying to figure out what it is.
Then there are the sea going folk: the East Tennessee St. Buccaneers and the Vanderbilt Commodores. I have yet to understand how two schools in landlocked Tennessee, some 300 miles from the ocean, could end up with sea going nicknames.

By location
The committee has done this work for us. A number of years ago, there was a big uproar because Syracuse played the first round in Buffalo, some 130 miles down the road. This year, Florida, Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast all play their first round in Orlando, Florida. Poor Miami (Fla) has to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play. Doesn't seem fair.

Finally, this would be the best match-up of all
Miami (Fla) Hurricanes against the Iowa State Cyclones. How could you not be blown away by this one? (Okay that ones for Dwight Perry and RJ Currie, the kings of the pun)

Here's a  thought. If they matched up teams like Notre Dame and Oregon or Michigan, all with their penchant for neon uniforms, they might not have to turn the lights on in the arenas.

Since I can't beat Annie-O anyway, I gave up using any skill or insight since I don't seem to have either and picked Butler to win it all. Annie-O has picked Arizona. 

"In women’s NCAA tournament, Connecticut, winner of 107 straight, was given overall #1 seed. In related news committee announced water was wet."  -- Janice Hough
" Happy 70th birthday to Olympic gold-medal high-jumper Dick Fosbury, who gained fame for jumping back to the bar. “Me too!” said Johnny Manziel."  -- RJ Currie
" The Nebraska Husker bowling team recently defeated Lincoln Memorial, Valparaiso, Maryville and Elmhurst. That sounds suspiciously like an SEC football team’s nonconference schedule."  -- Brad Dickson
"As Americans focus on their brackets, many sites ask for tie-breakers like guessing the score of the final game. Wouldn’t it be more a test of skill to ask entrants to name one player on each of their final four teams?"  -- Janice Hough
"Food stands at the Royals’ spring-training ballpark in Surprise, Ariz., are selling a hot dog — wrapped in bacon, which is then wrapped in a cheeseburger — called the Triple Play Dog.What, was “Triple Bypass” already taken?"  -- Dwight Perry
"The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed 33-year-old ex-NFL QB Vince Young to compete with veteran pivot Kevin Glenn, 37. Presumably this is part of their youth movement."  -- RJ Currie
" The 88th annual Midwest Spelling Bee was just held. For the first time, this year kids were allowed to use spell check. -- Brad Dickson


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