72 hours and counting...
4,320 minutes left to fill out my March Madness Brackets.
We each have our own systems & theories. Some pick teams based on coaching tradition, others pick teams based on defense, and then there are those who pick based on warmer cities and favorite mascots (and it drives us crazy when they win the pool).
By 11:59 Thursday morning, I will have convinced myself that not only have I picked the right 12-5 upset, but that same 12th seed is a natural pick to make it to the Elite 8 just because they are playing the Sweet 16 round in an arena 130 miles from their campus, virtually ensuring a home town advantage.
Beyond noon Thursday, it's hard to see what really will bring the highs and lows. We likely to see some exciting buzzer beaters once we wade through early round blow outs. We're also likely to see some mid-major Cinderella team build our hopes for the little guy. And we're ultimately hoping for bragging rites & some donuts to reward us for the 72 hours of prep facing us. Some of us didn't put this much effort into our college exams even though the reward will be a fraction of the long term value of a 4.0.
Since the odds of winning the large pools I'm in are a long shot, I also look for smaller joys to celebrate in the tournament. This year brings a special treat. An overrated number 1 seed Duke team filled with the preppiest of the preppy pigmentally challenged goody goody drones of Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Each year, I have a mini-celebration when Duke gets bounced out of the tournament. This year, they are likely to be the first #1 seed bounced out. The higher their seed, the more fun when they lose. If they lose in the first weekend, it's almost like an early birthday gift. It could happen this year.
The tournament tyrants clearly wanted to try to make Duke's road a little easier by giving them the winner of the play-in game between Winthrop & Arkansas Pine-Bluff. I'd love to see Winthrop make it in and then pay Duke back for the 84-37 thrashing they suffered at the hands of the Blue Devils in round one of 2002. Unlikely, but that would be a most unforgettable gift from the basketball gods.
Next, Louisville or California will have a shot of sending Duke home in the first weekend. If Rick Pitino can focus more on the game than on his assistant's wives, his Cardinals actually have a good chance of beating the Dukies.
Wait- the clock is ticking. I have to get to work on my brackets. Good luck on yours.