Monday, March 19, 2007


Success in both of the NCAA pools I have entered now precipitously depends on the success of the oddly-monikered kids from the University of California at Los Angeles, who, somewhat perplexingly, I have picked to win the whole shebang. How did it come to this? Old fashioned prejudice, I'm afraid. I cannot, in good conscience, root for Billy Donovan and Florida. Even the fact that VCU's coach hails from Donovan's coaching tree fills me with worry and regret. I cannot put my faith in Bill Self--I cling to the belief that the Salukis will beat the Jayhawks. Taking Ohio State always seemed a bit too obvious--and by now, even if I had picked them to go all the way it would do me no good, since so many others have as well.

And, yet...UCLA? May the basketball gods forgive me. When the only UCLA graduate I know, Sommer Mathis, has picked the Tarheels--the effing Tarheels!--to win it all, I have to think that I have the stink of death on me at this moment. Still, it's my best shot--with only one person who's chosen UCLA ahead of me at the moment--to win.

Virginia went down in a game that must have been fantastic to watch if you had no rooting interest. A game of huge runs boiled down to an intricate little matchup of strategy and coaching. By the end, both teams had been totally taken out of their comfort zones and were operating from the seat of their pants. The Vols were one shot better yesterday--I wish them my heartiest best against the Buckeyes! Losing was very sad, especially for the sake of JR Reynolds, who for one and a half games played as if he intended to eat the entire tournament alive. Reynolds rolled his ankle late in the first half, and his shot was never the same again after that.

We'll miss Reynolds badly next year, and it's not a good sign that Diane and Soroye only managed two points between them. We lose Jason Cain and his awesome porn-stache next year, as well, and that's a lot of points to be made up by a lot of guys who show only passing interest in scoring. If we don't want to end up back in the NIT, Sean Singletary needs some help!

Here's who I have alive in the Sweet 16: Florida, Butler, Kansas, Southern Illinois, Pittsburgh, UCLA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. Easily the worst I've done in about five years. I picked the wrong team from Nevada to beat the wrong 2 seed, I thought Kevin Durant had one more round in him, I wanted an all-DC matchup in the next round WAAAAAAAAY too badly, and I am just naturally predisposed to take teams like the Oregon Ducks out early. I rue my decision-making process, even though it typically nets me better results.

Basically, to win, I've got to thread the needle pretty delicately. Luckily, I'm cheered by how awesome Georgetown looked this weekend--I think they're a good match for UNC. I wish Texas A&M had played better, but maybe they'll get Tennessee instead of OSU--I really do believe the road will end for Memphis once they meet Acie Law. I'm probably pickled in crazy juice to take the Salukis over the Jayhawks, but my bed is made now.

Ahead of me in the pool, just about everyone has Florida, Kansas, or Ohio State. So, I'm praying for trainwrecks and hoping that blazing my own trail instead of being part of the herd helps me. There's one dude ahead of me who's picked UCLA to win it all, but he's got Oregon in the Final Four, Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16, and Washington State in the Elite 8--in short: he's even more Pac 10 crazy than I am. Frankly, I'm more worried about the woman ahead of me who's got Georgetown winning the whole thing. What's sort of cool is: is everything goes according to plan, she and I will leapfrog the masses who've picked Kansas and OSU to set up a winner-take-all Georgetown vs. UCLA matchup (we both have that final). There's no better way to win an NCAA pool than that!

Not that I'd know: in the three times in my life it's come down to the Final game to make me the pool winner, I've lost every single time. Don't even get me started on the Maryland-Indiana final of a few years back...


Sommer said...

Take heart, DCeiver. I only picked the Tarheels because I'm a self-hating fan who believes the worst possible outcome is the likeliest. Look at the rest of my bracket! I'm so close to last place I can taste the failure in the back of my mouth. I, for one, am rooting for you to take the whole enchilada, because then the Bruins would be triumphant! GO BRUINS!

Lester said...

I'm also barely ahead of Ms. Mathis and I picked UCLA too. So I'm really doomed.