Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NCAA Bracket Breakdown By a One-Time Pool Winner

I hate and always will hate Chris Webber. I was 12 years old when Webber called the infamous timeout that his team didn't have. It cost Michigan a chance to beat North Carolina in the 1993 NCAA Championship game and it's a play that still follows Webber. But more, and absolutely most importantly, it cost me $250.

With the financial backing of my dad, I filled out a bracket for his office pool, selecting Kentucky as my champion (most everyone else picked North Carolina). Our bracket lead from the beginning all the way into the Final Four weekend. Then Kentucky took it upon themselves to lose to Michigan on Saturday. We were done, or so we thought. After doing the "what if" math, I discovered that if Michigan won on Monday night, we still had enough points to win. And so, when Webber called timeout, my dreams of winning $250, which is like $10,000 in 12-year old money, and a big-money pool were smashed.

Since that harrowing loss, I have never recovered. I've won an NCAA pool only once. It was in college and I think I won something like $30 or $40. Even though it wasn't much, as Jeff Spicoli would say, those were righteous bucks. Mostly because I finally won one of these damn things and could lord it over people, which is ALWAYS AWESOME. And despite my horrible lifetime record (1-16, I believe), I will always fill out a bracket, just to have a shot at rubbing my victory in the faces of my fellow pool members.

So, with a near-complete track record of failure, I present what you need to know about all the teams for this the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Teams to Avoid
If you saw a team playing last week in a big high school gym and the television feed wasn't in HD, they probably belong here. Also, teams that just plain stink.

UC Santa Barbara
North Texas - The Sun Belt should always be on this list.
East Tennessee State
Morgan State
Arkansas-Pine Bluff - Why in the hell won't the NCAA make the play-in game between two teams that would be interesting to watch? A play-in game between someone like Mississippi State (or any other bubble team) and Utah State would have been fantastic. Yes, Winthrop and APB are terrible teams, but they at least won their conference tournaments. How could you not be in favor of having something worth watching on a Tuesday night? This drives me nuts.
Robert Morris
Georgia Tech
New Mexico State
Florida State
Northern Iowa
Vanderbilt - This Vandy team should be a brand of toilet paper known for its softness.
Minnesota - Another play-in game nominee
Wake Forest
Florida - Play-in game nominee
Washington - Shouldn't be in.
Wisconsin - If they win a game, I hope it's 40-35.
Purdue - Injury to best player lands them here
Sam Houston State

Teams That Are Intriguing, but Will Ultimately Not Make You Look Smart
Every year I have some fantastic upset picks, like upsets that have a legitimate chance of happening. Except they never happen. I look smart (after all, that's what a bracket is really about, looking smarter than everyone else) for about 35 minutes until the underdog pick falls apart because they're just not very good. Then I am told what an idiot I am. DAMN YOU 2006 WINTHROP EAGLES. HOW COULD YOU NOT HOLD ON AGAINST TENNESSEE?

Old Dominion - According to EDSBS, this should also become a brand of malt liquor.
Cornell - They're so smart/scrappy/intelligent/well-coached/disciplined!
Gonzaga - Has one team lived off two tournament runs more than this school?
Texas A&M
Murray State
San Diego State
Richmond - Just thought I should write something here during this boring stretch of teams.
Oklahoma State
Notre Dame
St. Mary's
Michigan State - Please, please, please go out early.

Unexpected Teams to See in the Sweet 16
You would do best to totally ignore what I write here. Every year I try to name these Cinderellas and every year I fail miserably.

Baylor - I realize they are a three seed, but Baylor in the Sweet 16 still sounds weird
Utah State
New Mexico - See Baylor

High Seeds That Won't Quite Make the Final Four
These are good teams, but just don't have enough (or won't be lucky enough) to push their way into the last weekend. I'm sure at least two or three teams on this list will enrage me by their failures or failure to stay on this list.

Ohio State
Villanova - Stinking it up as of late.
Georgetown - John Thompson III following in his father's footsteps of coaching his team out of games.

Legitimate Final Four Contenders

I hate no surprise teams in the Final Four, and all number one seeds are boring, but here's the short list.

Duke - Kansas, the number one overall seed, would like to swap regionals with you.
Kentucky - They're a Final Four contender, but they're also a second round loser contender.
West Virginia - If they figure out how to shoot, which is not likely, I would hate to play them.
Kansas State

My final piece of advice to you is to ignore everything you've just read, avoid the go-for-broke upsets I so thoroughly enjoy picking, pick Duke to lose because we all like rooting for that and sign up for the Beast's NCAA pool.

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  1. Anonymous10:32 AM i presume

  2. Kelly7:10 PM

    Does anyone else appreciate a school that finds a good looking jersey and sticking with it? G-town is stinking it up on the court right now, but at least I can recognize them!