I’m here to help with your March Madness pool (I hope). And the man who literally couldn’t live without his wife


I watch way more college basketball than the average person. Maybe more than is healthy, but I love, love, love it.
Which is why I think the first two days of the NCAA Tournament should be declared national holidays, and we should all get it off while sitting at a bar eating and drinking with our heads on a swivel, watching all the action.

But since the government hasn’t yet declared that, I’ll just have to be happy watching it all for you.
Since I know you’re all in bracket office pools, let me give the lowdown on which upsets I think you should pick, which to stay away from, and who’s going to the Final Four. (The selection committee did a really good this year, except for screwing over Oregon (terrible to get a No. 12 seed) and Miami (absolutely should’ve been a No. 1 over Kansas).

And oh yeah, my Duke boys got stuck in the toughest bracket.

Still, I’d ask you to please forget that most of my upsets from last year didn’t pan out (except I DID have Ohio beating Michigan), and that I only got 1 of the Final Four right last year.

This has been a crazy season in college hoops, with upsets and surprises galore. The tourney should be no different.

This year, trust me, take these to the bank (a piggy bank, probably):

First-round upsets I feel confident you should pick:
No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona
(Belmont’s got great shooters and Arizona’s on a downswing);
No. 13 South Dakota St. over Michigan (Wolverines have lost 2 straight, and S.D. State is a veteran team with a great player in Nate Wolters);
No. 14 Davidson over No. 3 Marquette (Davidson hasn’t lost since mid-January and is a tournament veteran; they won’t be scared of Marquette).
No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State: (Ducks got royally screwed with seeding, and though OK State is good, Oregon’s better).

First-round upsets I’m not picking but wouldn’t be surprised if they happen:
No. 11 Bucknell over No. 6 Butler (
Bucknell’s really good and have a giant-killing rep in the NCAAs)
No. 11 Middle Tenn. State over No. 6 Memphis: (Lot of people question MTSU being in, this would be an emphatic rebuttal)
No. 13 Montana over No. 4 Syracuse: Just have a feeling about this game; Syracuse was very erratic this season and could be ripe for the taking.

Surprise Sweet 16 teams:
— North Carolina: It kills me as a Duke fan to pick the Heels, but they’ll beat Kansas in the third round.
— Butler: I guess not so much of a surprise, but I like them over either Marquette or Davidson, if they survive Bucknell)
Best first-round games to watch:
— Akron vs. VCU:
Two really fun teams to watch, up and down, great defense, really good stuff.
— Temple-N.C. State: I have no idea what to expect from State, because I’ve watched a lot of their games. This could be a 20-point blowout either way, or a great game.
— UNC-Villanova: Two teams playing great going into the tournament.

My Final Four picks:

EAST: Michigan State (I hate to pick against Duke, but the draw is too tough. And Louisville is overrated)
WEST: Ohio State (almost by default, this region is really weak and I don’t think Gonzaga is ready for a Final 4 run)
SOUTH: Georgetown (Kansas will lose early, and I don’t like anyone better than the Hoyas here)
EAST: Miami (Should’ve been a 1 seed, and I think they take down Indiana in a classic Elite 8 game to reach the Final 4)
NATIONAL CHAMP: Miami (pictured above). Best, most experienced team, with a guard named Shane Larkin who, if you haven’t heard of him yet, you will very soon.

Good luck jumping into the pool, everyone! Can’t wait till Thursday.


**So this story sounds made up, like a Hollywood fairy tale done by Tim Burton or something (hat tip to my future mother in law for the heads-up on this story). In Cambridge,  N.Y., a burgh I have been in several times, an 89-year-old woman named Gwen Hendrickson (above, left) died last month.

Gwen was married to Norman Hendrickson for 65 years, and when she died, he was naturally heartbroken.
So heartbroken that on the day of Gwen’s funeral, Norman was found unresponsive in the back of the limo when it arrived at the funeral home.

According to this story, Norm had a “do not resuscitate” order on file, and so he was allowed to pass away at the funeral home, while mourners came in to pay their respects to Gwen.

Norm and Gwen’s daughters asked the funeral home director if they could put Norm in a box in the room where Gwen’s funeral would take place.

And then the kids posted a sign on the front door of the funeral home, saying “Surprise, it’s a double header!”
“Those who knew Norm say he also appreciated a good bargain.”

I can’t decide if that was a sweet gesture by the kids or a really bizarre one. At the very least, it was courteous to the mourners, who now no longer had to schlep back there for Norm’s funeral.
But still … that’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?


2 responses to “I’m here to help with your March Madness pool (I hope). And the man who literally couldn’t live without his wife

  1. Miami over Kansas as a number 1 seed? Come one, Michael! Miami beat Michigan State and Lasalle (both at home) in the nonconference. Kansas smoked St Louis (neutral), Colorado, and Belmont in the noncon, while also beating Ohio State (road) and Temple. They both lost games they shouldn’t have (TCU for Kansas, FGCU, Wake, and Georgia Tech for The U). Though Miami won their conference and conference tournament, so did Kansas, and Kansas beat some good teams outside their conference. Both conferences were pretty weak in the bottom half, but the top halves had some solid teams. I’m a total KU homer, but I think they clearly had the better resume.

    I’m not sure UNC survives Villanova, who’s a heckuva tough 9 seed, having beaten Louisville, Georgetown, Marquette, and Syracuse in the last two months. Then again, all of those were at home, and they were swept by Providence. Weird. UNC is playing much better now, so we’ll see. I feel bad for Roy, having to face the same questions about KU for the 3rd time in 6 years. I hope the results are the same as the last two matchups.

    Two potential Sweet Sixteen matchups strike me as a nightmare for #1 seeds: Kansas-VCU and Indiana-Syracuse. Both VCU and Syracuse have a lot of work to do to get there, but they could get it done. Kansas will struggle against lots of pressure from opposing guards. They turn the ball over too much, and the VCU havoc could pose problems. I don’t think too highly of Syracuse this year. Too volatile, as they seem to be a different team every 10 minutes. That being said, their zone could be tough for Indiana to crack.

    In regard to Oregon, don’t forget that Okie State got screwed too, having to face a team that’s way better than its seed. The Cowboys rely heavily on their tremendous point guard, Marcus Smart. If their other guys are making shots, they can beat anyone in the country. Too bad their coach doesn’t help them any. That should be an excellent game. Okie State is also the most flop-happy team in the country. Keep an eye on that.

    Best week of the year! Can’t wait for the games to get started.

  2. Agree with you on Belmont, Davidson and Oregon upsets. I only have Bucknell on your other upsets — I don’t see the other two happening. I feel pretty confident, as do you, when it comes to the ACC. I don’t see the Heels getting out of the first round. Louisville over Duke (which beats Michigan St.) in the East. I like Gonzaga over Ohio St., Florida (which will make the final) over Georgetown and Miami over Indiana. Sorry, the ‘Canes’ run will end against UF (remember, UM lost to a HORRIBLE GTech team), and Louisville will win it all. Good stuff, though, my friend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s