Sure-fire tips to clean up in your office pool this year
Posted: Thursday March 17, 2005 12:39PM; Updated: Thursday March 17, 2005 12:39PM
Rick Pitino may have a score to settle with the selection committee this season.
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Now that CBS (Can't Beat our Sponsors) has turned a five-minute reading of the NCAA brackets into an excruciating hour-long endurance test of advertisements, "analysis" and Billy Packer, we can get on with the business of breaking down the tournament. Or, as they say at Arizona, "Who's going to upset us this year?"
Although none of you will get as lucky as Rick Neuheisel and win $4.5 million in your NCAA pool, there are still plenty of things to consider before engaging in lower-stakes competition.
'Ville-ans: What, does Rick Pitino owe tournament selection committee head Bob Bowlsby money? All the Cardinals did was finish 29-4, win both the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles, close the season with nine straight wins and make Big East teams start sending commissioner MikeTranghese cheese baskets in the hopes he won't put them on their schedules twice next year. And what does that get? How about a No. 4 seed. What, no trip to the Bayonne bracket? It's not nice to make Ricky P. angry. Watch him and his club take it out on overrated Washington.
Happy Days: How can you not root for Wisconsin-Milwaukee? Not only are the 12th-seeded Panthers a fun team to watch, thanks to BrucePearl's run-and-press style and big scoring guard Ed McCants, but Richie Cunningham, Potsie Weber and Ralph Malph all went to UW-M. Ah, those days at Arnold's, drinking malts and celebrating first-round victories over Alabama. And second-round triumphs over Boston College. But even Fonzie couldn't get the Panthers to the Elite Eight. Sorry, Fonz.
Special Interests: Once Bowlsby gets tired of running the athletic department at Iowa, he should run for office, because his ability to take care of his special-interest groups is impressive. There wouldn't be so much outrage from teams like DePaul, Notre Dame and Saint Joseph's if Iowa and Northern Iowa, Bowlsby's current and most recent places of employment, didn't get into the Round of 65, despite some questionable tourney resumes. But don't fret if things get too hot, Bob, there has to be a congressional district in Iowa looking for some fresh blood. And don't forget to back those ethanol subsidies.
Coincidence? Not! Let's see now. CBS pays $6 billion for the rights to the tournament and then doesn't have any say in the pairings? Yeah, right. And Harvard presidentLawrence Summersis speaking at the next NOW rally. A potential Final Four matchup between Duke and North Carolina? Hmmm, wonder if that will spin the ratings dial. How about that potential Elite Eight tussle featuring North Carolina and Kansas? That's just the luck of the draw. And Kentucky against Eastern Kentucky in the first round, with former UK guard Travis Ford coaching the Colonels? Complete happenstance. How dumb do you think we are, CBS? Wait, don't answer that.
One More Chance: We haven't heard too much from Bob Knight lately, and that can mean only two things: he's either preparing for an eruption that will turn sleepy Lubbock into a parking lot or he has a pretty good team that might win a few games in the tourney. Since El Hombre is no fan of Biblical violence, he'll choose the latter. The Red Raiders have good guards who take care of the ball (or else), and they play good defense. Sure, no coach has lost to teams seeded lower than his more often than Knight, but it's about time for him to become relevant in the postseason again. If that fails, he can always unleash a plague of frogs.