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Bleeding my brackets away for the tourney

Does anyone else's NCAA Tournament bracket look like an old English paper after the teacher got through with it? I thought I was bleeding last weekend because my bracket had so much red on it.

As we get ready for the second-round games starting today, I'm again surprised every year by how many people participate in office pools and bracket buster challenges. It's the national pastime for the month of March.

Being the huge college basketball fan that I am, I notice the contrast from throughout the regular season. No one is talking about which teams are playing well until it's time to predict the Final Four.

But it just goes to show, even those of us who keep up with it throughout the season can't foresee - with any degree of accuracy - who's going to win in the Big Dance. There are always upsets no one would ever think to call.

For example, I had Iowa losing in the game that could have sent them to the Final Four. Instead, the 3-seed fell in the first round to 14-seed Northwestern State. Anyone who picked that one, congratulations. You're better at this than I am.

What about Syracuse? They were red-hot coming into the tournament after winning their conference but lost in the first round to Texas A&M. Where did that come from?

That's the name of the game in college basketball, especially these days. Most every team in the tournament is good, really good. So even people backing one of the traditional favorites like Kansas or Kentucky can never tell when their team will bow out.

And that is what makes it so much fun to watch. Who doesn't like seeing David down Goliath (unless that giant is Duke, of course).

Some little team like Valparaiso or Richmond has the power to make everyone talk at the water cooler the morning after a huge buzzer-beater upset.

There's nothing like the NCAA tournament, the world over. I think even non-basketball fans recognize that, and that is why they pay attention during these couple of weeks of the year.

Of course for me and my kind, it's all we can ask for. Basketball (and not the kind where the millionaires don't care whether or not they win) is on all day for two weekends in a row.

Can't get enough on TV? Can't stand having to work while all the good 8-9 games are on? Me neither. But thanks to a new innovation this year, fans can watch games on their computer screen while working.

Just go to www.ncaasports.com/mmod and sign up. Streaming video of games not being broadcast on local television will play right there on the monitor.

The best part is there's a built in "Boss Button." Just click it when the boss walks by or is starting to catch on to what you're doing. It pulls up a fake spread sheet.

"Yeah Boss, I'm just calculating those returns for last September."

Then click the spreadsheet when he's gone and it jumps back to the game action. Brilliant.

The best thing about my job, though, is that I can watch college basketball all day long with no problem. After all, I've got to do research to write a sports column, right?



Web posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006













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