Andrew Gilman

It’s the NCAA Tournament, do (or don’t) what you want

It’s the NCAA Tournament, do (or don’t) what you want

Of course you’re looking forward to the NCAA Tournament. It’s the only time of year where Barb in H.R. knows as much as you do about sports. She picks winners based on what mascot is more fierce.

The tournament is a two-week buffet where we gorge on the majesty of a single-elimination tournament for a sport pretty much no one cares about for the other 48 weeks of the calendar year. But hey, it’s “One Shining Moment.”

A few dos and don’ts as you park the bus in front of the TV:

Don’t expect Northwestern to wear out its welcome:  Has any No. 8 seed had as much hoopla as the Cats? Geez. Let’s get over it. Congrats, you’re in the tournament. It won’t last. I like Vandy in the opener.

Don’t fall in love with a mid-major coach. It’s dangerous. Just because you love Bucknell and you’re convinced the Bison will beat West Virginia, doesn’t mean an SEC or Big 10 team needs to hire Bucknell’s coach. In fact, tournament success doesn’t guarantee regular-season success at a bigger conference. An unexpected upset, a bank-in at the buzzer is a dangerous reason to think the coach can have success at a Power 5 conference.

Do plan on researching which channel Tru TV is on. It’s a journey that begins with a single step every March.

Don’t tell everyone how your bracket is doing. No one cares. Ever. Especially your loved ones. While you’re at it, go ahead and keep it to yourself about that time in 1993 when you correctly picked the Final 4. Just keep it in your memory and out of your mouth. It’s better for everyone involved.

Do fade the public: What, 90-percent of the Vegas money bet on the Michigan-Oklahoma State game is on Michigan? That’s ridiculous. Bet OSU. It’s a winner. Iowa State, you’re in trouble, too. The Cyclones, Wolverines, Duke, Middle Tennessee and Rhode Island are getting a lot of run. Here’s your chance to be right. Go against what the public is doing. You’ll be correct more often than not.

Do cheer for the upset: Listen, no one cares that you have Duke and North Carolina in the finals. Everyone else has those teams, too. Big deal. If Arizona is tied with North Dakota with 8 minutes to play, you should no longer be married to your bracket. Let it go. Big deal, we all know Barb from H.R. is gonna win anyway, so it’s your duty to cheer on history, not the Wildcats. Embrace the upset, divorce yourself from your bracket.

Don’t ask anyone else how their bracket is doing. Oh, there are people who want to tell you and who are just waiting for an opening. Don’t be the guy who allows it.

Do expect the Big 10 to make some noise: Wisconsin and Purdue are gonna make long runs. Sure, Wisconsin can’t score much, but I love the Badgers against Va. Tech and again against Villanova. Meanwhile, Purdue is one of my Final 4 selections. Iowa State is hot, but Purdue has a strong inside game and Matt Painter is a great coach.

Don’t plan on watching Tru TV the rest of the year.

Do expect North Carolina to run to the Final 4. First of all, there’s not a team in the top half of the South Regional that will come within two touchdowns of the Heels. Do you really believe in Kentucky or UCLA? No? Me neither.

Don’t expect a big push from the Big 12. Other than Kansas, who is sketchy when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, the Big 12 isn’t particularly trustworthy. Iowa State is hot, West Virginia plays some pressure D and even Kansas State is sorta on a roll, but it’s a real possibility the Big 12 doesn’t get out of the second round. Baylor has played average the second half of the season, West Virginia is beholden to the refs, who, if they decide to call it tight, WVU will be in big trouble. Even Iowa State with its Big 12 title run, has a matchup with Purdue, likely, in the second round. Not favorable.

Do expect to win your bracket pool. Just kidding. Your picks stink. But you’ll still be ahead of me.


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