A tradition in every workplace is the NCAA tournament pool--Men's only, of course. The guys always liked us girls to play because we were often just donators to the final prize. You know, picking by colors or mascots just doesn't always work!
But they soon grew weary of me, because I did sometimes win or at least finish in the top three. I don't know much about the men's teams, but just enough to be dangerous. Plus, I had no emotional attachment to any men's team so I could pick freely who I thought would really win. I have a couple of faves--Stanford, of course, maybe some PAC-10 teams--but generally I can select my teams in the Men's tournament with a clear mind and little compassion.
When it comes to my Women's bracketing, that is just not possible! My head and heart are fully engaged as I labor over whether I can pick an arch enemy. And doesn't that 1-9 matchup look primed for an upset? Wasn't that team really good when we played them in 1998? Oh, geez, someone who used to play at Stanford is coaching there, what should I do? I have to pick the PAC-10 teams, right?
I get SO confused!
Take Texas A & M, for example. Last week, I saw them play numerous times in the Big-12 tournament and they were hot. Plus the announcers were heaping praise on them (of course, one of them was Debbie Antonelli, so that has no merit). Now, there they are in Stanford's bracket and they have me scared to death. Naturally, though, my bracket always has Stanford winning the National Championship, so I don't have to fret over that side of the bracket too much.
OK, so what about the KC bracket. There sits UCLA. Can I pick them? Sure, but only to win their first round game before getting beaten by Nebraska. I hope I am wrong! See, that's the other thing--when I make a good, heady choice, I will root against it. Now what good does that do?
My dream Dayton regional final would be UConn vs. Princeton. Why? Wouldn't it be great to see the Tigers and assistant Milena Flores beat up on the Huskies? Nah, I didn't pick that, but I thought about it! That would be the biggest Bracket Buster of all time--sort of like Buzz Aldrin winning Dancing with the Stars.
So, then there is Memphis. That would be a great regional to go to because I know where the world's best ribs are (The Rendevous!) and you can go to Graceland. Other than that, I'm somewhat uninterested, though I guess I would like to see Tennessee play Baylor again. I am going pretty much to form except I think #6 Texas will get to the Regional semi since they will be playing 1st and 2nd Rounds at home. A Texas/Duke matchup, with all the Coach G drama, would be fun.
OK--so my first round upset specials are--but use them at your peril!
#9 James Madison over #8 Temple
JM will be on their home court
#10 Middle Tenn over #7 Mississippi St
MTSU's Scoring Machine Alysha Clark
is too much to pass up
is too much to pass up
#12 Marist over #5 Georgetown
Experience over newbies
#10 Hartford over #7 LSU
LSU is sentimentally over-ranked
#13 Chattanooga over #4 Oklahoma State
Andrea Riley being benched will doom the Cowgirls
as hardly anyone else even shoots
#10 Vermont over #7 Wisconsin
I think Vermont makes better cheese
And now, my Final Four--
UConn vs. Tennessee
winner is UConn 83-68
Stanford vs Oklahoma
winner is Stanford 81-67
National Championship Game
Stanford over UConn 78-72
There is a lot of heart in this pick, but an awful lot of head as well. Sometimes, I do get my brackets right!
Let the games begin!