By Chris Le
I’m a rationalist. Rarely do my instincts usurp my brain. I research, prepare, analyze — and then I take action. That’s how I’m programmed to perform in life.
It’s no different when I do sports picks.
In Marches past, I would research — by that, I mean look up stats, strength of schedule, level of NBA talent, etc. — for every team I hadn’t regularly watched through the early season and conference play. Only after long periods of study did I make my picks.
Yet I endured year after year of red-marked brackets.
A strange pattern had persisted. I began to notice, as did everyone, that the office pool winner was often ignorant of the college basketball landscape, and moreover, frequently oblivious to the game of basketball itself.
How the hell does this happen?
The NCAA tournament is the most random event in sports. Games are played at odd and indefinite hours (like in any tournament, you take the court only when the previous game is over), in foreign arenas built for things other than basketball, where background- and crowd-depth sometimes require an acclimation period longer than the scheduled pregame shoot around. These teenagers and twenty-year-olds must face unfamiliar teams, or in some cases, teams never before heard of. Factor in this year’s lack of a dominant sure-fire title favorite and the field’s relative weakness compared to years past, and it’s a perfect formula for a clusterfuck.
There’s a reason it’s called March Madness — and I expect this year to be as unpredictable as Britney Spears’ mental psyche.
And that explains the fruitlessness of “expert” picks and the unforeseen success of Daisy, the 33-year-old soccer mom who works with you. The basketball neophyte is unburdened by logic and free from the confusing variables of matchups and the X’s and O’s. The ignoramus opens himself to the randomness of March Madness.
This year, I’m taking on the mentality of a novice. No research. Just what I already know, and the feeling in my gut. And with the games about which I have absolutely no idea, I’m flipping a coin.
Hell, I can’t do any worse than years past. Here I go.
First Round Upsets
(10) Georgia Tech over (7) Oklahoma St.
(12) UTEP over (5) Butler
(10) Florida over (7) BYU
(12) Cornell over (5) Temple
(11) Washington over (6) Marquette
(9) Louisville over (8) California
Second Round Upsets
(5) Michigan St. over (4) Maryland
(12) UTEP over (4) Butler
(12) Cornell over (4) Wisconsin
(5) Texas A&M over (4) Purdue
Kansas over Michigan St.
Georgetown over Ohio St.
Syracuse over UTEP
Kansas St. over Pittsburgh
Kentucky over Cornell
West Virginia over New Mexico
Duke over Texas A&M
Villanova over Baylor
Kansas over Georgetown
Kansas State over Syracuse
Kentucky over West Virginia
Duke over Villanova
Kansas over Kansas St.
Kentucky over Duke
Kentucky over Kansas