My favorite time of the year is here.
The Madness of March. Brackets, baby, brackets. Since Sunday at 6 p.m., around studying for a big exam Monday, yours truly has been studying, analyzing, and talking myself into picks for the NCAA Tournament starting Tuesday.
Since I know most of you are in pools at your office, I’m here to help. If any of my picks pan out and you end up winning a huge amount of money, feel free to donate to my “pay the government back its student loan money” fund.
First things first: I think the committee did a really good job this year. Except for putting Iona in over Drexel, I can’t really quibble with the 68 teams they put in. And even Iona getting in doesn’t kill me; at least more mid-majors got in this year.
OK, some quick thoughts on the bracket:
— First-round upsets you should pick: Long Beach State over New Mexico (LBSU is really good, and almost beat Kansas and UNC this year); Davidson over Louisville, Iowa State over UConn, and Ohio over Michigan. Possible sleeper: Belmont, a 14 seed, over Georgetown. That will be a very good game.
— Sleepers to maybe get to Sweet 16: Wichita State as a 5 seed, Murray State as a 6, St. Mary’s as a 7.
— Best first-round game to watch: Wichita State vs. VCU (Thursday, 7:15 p.m.. Of course you remember VCU made that miraculous run to the Final Four last year. This is a totally different Rams team, but still pretty darn good.
— My Duke boys didn’t get that bad of a draw; can’t complain too much. I think a game against Notre Dame in the 3rd round is winnable, but after that I can’t see the Devils beating Baylor. I think Sweet 16 is about as good as I can hope for this year.
— My very preliminary Final 4 picks: Kentucky (duh), Michigan State, Ohio State, and (I really hate to do this) North Carolina. And let’s go with the Spartans and their star, Draymond Green (that’s him up above) to win it all, because Tom Izzo is awesome and so is his team. I just think Kentucky, who everyone will pick, will fold like usual when the going gets tough.
Can’t wait for the Madness to begin!
**Ever since the historic 2008 presidential election ended, I’ve been waiting for Hollywood to make a whole bunch of movies about it.
I mean, it was an incredible, world-altering race for so many different reasons, but almost four years later we’ve had a ton of books about the Obama/Hillary/McCain/Palin duel, but no flicks.
Happily, HBO has changed that, premiering “Game Change,” based on a book by Mark Halperin and John Heilmann. With so much material to choose from, the producers decided to simply focus on Sarah Palin and McCain’s bizarre choice of her, and all that ensued.
The movie was terrific. Julianne Moore, as Palin, does an even better Sarah than Tina Fey did. Ed Harris as John McCain was dead-on, and Woody Harrelson was really good as McCain campaign leader Steve Schmidt, who was completely befuddled and then angry as Palin’s lack of knowledge about the world was slowly revealed.
The look on Schmidt’s face when Palin didn’t know what the Federal Reserve was was priceless.
The movie does move along slowly at times, but you really can’t say it makes Palin look worse than she really is; sadly, most of the horror show that the movie portrayed really did happen. She really is that stupid and vapid.
Really good film; check it on HBO when you get the chance.