March 17, 2004

Making Your NCAA Tournament Picks

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Don’t know much about history. Don’t know much biology.

What I do know is bracketology.

Yes, that’s right, good old March Madness is upon us. Well, except for dumb East Rutherford, Phoenix, Atlanta, St. Louis thing besides normal directions. I agree with Michael Wilbon — I think the brackets will soon be known as Levitra, Enzyte, Viagra, and whatever else Mike Ditka pushes. But that’s nor here nor there.

So without further delay, I give you my 2004 NCAA tournament picks.

Let’s first go to the St. Louis regional. In the first round, Kentucky over the Florida A&M Rattlers. UAB over Washington because the Huskies play in the horrid Pac-10. Providence over Pacific because I live near the Atlantic. Kansas over University of Illinois at Chicago — everyone says this could be a likely upset, but going 12-4 in the Big 12, I’ll give the Jayhawks some respect. BC over the Utes, Georgia Tech over Kurt Warner’s alma mater, Mich. State over Nevada, and the Zags over Valpo in the I-used-to-be-just-like-you game, just because my mom likes them.

Second round, I’m giving Kentucky the nod over the Blazers. Kansas over Providence because Ryan Gomes of the Friars is good, but not good enough to beat a good team by himself. Tech over BC, and Michigan State over Gonzaga. I know Michigan State hasn’t beaten a team in the top 25 all year, but I feel the Zags are just the team to change that factoid.

Then I’m going with Kentucky over Kansas and Georgia Tech over Michigan State, and then the Yellow Jackets making the Final Four, simply because they were able to squeak out a victory against the Red.

Onto Atlanta, where Duke is going to the Final Four because I’ve been a Duke fan since the Bobby Hurley days.

Anyway, to start things off, I’m going with Duke over ‘Bama St, Seton Hall over Arizona, Illinois over Murray St., and East Tenn. St. over Cincinnati because the Bearcats just don’t do well in the tournament. UNC over an Air Force squad who should not be in the field of 65. Texas over that other Ivy League school, Louisville over Xavier, because the Muskateers don’t have any more winning in their tanks after destroying St. Joe’s; and Miss. St. over Monmouth.

Next round I’m taking Duke over the Pirates, Illinois over East Tenn., UNC over Texas, because McCants, Felton, and May comprise one of the top trios in the nation, and Louisville over Miss St., because they’ve knocked off plenty of highly ranked teams this season.

Sweet 16 — Duke over the Illini, and UNC over Louisville just because the Tobacco Road foes will not let the other just waltz to the Final Four without having something to say about it.

In the greatest Elite Eight game ever played, Duke beats the Heels at the buzzer in the fifth overtime.

Onto Phoenix where we’ve got Stanford over Texas-San Antonio, the Salukis over Alabama because I like their name and they have a history of solid tournament play. Then I’m taking the defending champs over BYU, Maryland, the hottest team in the country, over UTEP, Vanderbilt over W. Michigan, because Vandy doesn’t get the respect they deserve. NC State over the Ragin Cajuns, the Flyers over DePaul, and UConn over Mr. Coppenrath.

Second round, I’m taking Stanford to the Sweet 16 on the back of Josh Childress, Maryland on the back of John Gilchrest, NC State on the back of Julius Hodge, and UConn on the back of Ben Gordon, only because Emeka Okafor’s back is hurt.

Then I’m going with Maryland over Stanford because the Terps have experience in tough game, and UConn over NC State, and then Maryland because neither can match the Huskies blow for blow offensively.

To Jersey where St. Joe’s will beat the Statue of Liberty, Charlotte over Tech because the 49ers shoot the lights out, Manhattan over Florida because Butler beat the Gators a couple years back and they are very inconsistent. Wake over VCU, Wisconsin over Richmond, Pitt over UCF, the Gamecocks over Memphis, because a 10 seed always beats a seven at least once a year, and the Cowboys over East Wash.

Second round I’m taking Charlotte over St. Joe’s because even Jameer and Delonte can’t shoot as well as Charlotte. Next, Wake over a much weaker jasper squad, Wisconsin over Pitt riding the back of Devin Harris, and the Cowboys over South Carolina.

Then I’m taking Wake, another battle tested team, over Charlotte, and Oklahoma State over Wisconsin, in a very tightly played game. The Cowboys will make it to San Antonio after beating the Demon Decons.

The Final Four will be one of the best ever as the SEC, ACC, Big East, and Big 12 all have their top team representing it.

I’m going with Duke over my dad’s alma mater so I can get bragging rights back after the 1999 championship game, the Wildcats over the Cowboys because I like Tubby Smith better than Eddie Sutton, and because of the strength the Cats have down low.

In the final I pick Duke every year, much like Chris Berman picks the Bills and the Niners in the Super Bowl before every season … and this year is no different for this Boomer either.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro