Column RICK SOLEM
I do not pretend to know much about college basketball.
My mom could – and will – probably pick a better bracket than I could – no offense to moms out there, but mine doesn’t particularly care about sports, minus Facebook pictures of Aaron Rodgers that aren’t so much about football.
When the NCAA Tournament rolls around, I know maybe a hair more than the average bear and pick my bracket based almost solely on hunches.
It’s the best strategy, really, as college basketball continues to be watered down with teams either comprised of one-and-done freshmen or of mediocre players who stick around until they graduate, the bracket “upsets” are more frequent each season.
I like to do two brackets, one picking as quickly as possible without reading anything about the teams, and then the second clicking those little matchup boxes to sway my decision one way or another.
With no “research,” I did my 580 WKTY bracket, which you can join for a chance to win $200. My Final Four: (4) Michigan St., (1) Florida, (1) Arizona and (3) Duke. And Florida beating Arizona to win it all. I know exactly one player on those four teams: Jabari Parker.
My second bracket is on ESPN (which can only be seen after the first round is over) doing the bare minimum in research.
The first thing I saw was Wisconsin’s opponent, American, plays “deliberately and holds opponents to 58.6 ppg, including 49.5 ppg in the past six games. While the balanced offense has its moments of effectiveness, American turns it over on an abysmal 22.8 percent of possessions.”
Wisconsin could win 35-17 or 89-55 … or lose as Wisconsin tends to do at the most un-obvious times. I have them losing to Oregon in the second round. Usually I put the Badgers in the Final Four like an idiot.
Doing 10 minutes of research, my Final Four isn’t much different: (1) Florida, (4) Michigan St., (1) Arizona and (4) Louisville.
I found it hard to keep Matt Thomas and Iowa State from beating Michigan St., but I felt like that was too much of a homer pick.
I have Arizona beating Florida for no real reason other than I don’t want to pick a Big 10 team and I don’t want to give Rick Pitino credit after he said they should be a No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed and mentioned maybe they’ll end up a third seed, after winning their conference tournament.
The tournament starts at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow, so get your picks in soon.
If you weren’t impressed with my Final Four, there’s always President Barack Obama’s picks.
Now, prepare to be mad and disappointed, as I usually am … disappointed with my bracket and the overall excitement of the tournament and mad because in the first two rounds I’ll end up watching a player nobody talked about all season who is just amazing – maybe SF Austin or Manhattan will have one of these guys – and then they lose and that guy was a senior accounting major, headed to a big firm, not good enough for the NBA.