There’s a Method to My March Madness

By BOB WIRE

Nothing like March Madness to bring us out of our February Funk. After sifting through all the information I gathered from every college basketball game I watched this season, going all the way back to the BYU/Ol’ Miss play-in game last night, I carefully filled out my bracket.

My buddy Jonathan pulled me into this, and he looks forward to March Madness more than Christmas. Especially now that he has kids. His group on espn.com‘s Tournament Challenge is called Tubby’s Eyeballs. I don’t know what that means, but other groups include Tubby’s Eyebrows, Tubby’s Mustache, and my favorite, Tubby’s Testies. I don’t know who this Tubby is, but he has inspired some pretty weird allegiances in the NCAA Tourney.

You may have figured out by now that I’m not exactly well-versed in NCAA men’s basketball, but like any Congressman, I didn’t let my ignorance stop me. I made my picks, built my bracket, and stuck it in Tubby’s Eyeballs. I’ll share with you some of my more unorthodox selection methods, some of which involved a dart board, a quarter, some dice, chicken blood, a deck of cards, a Bobby Knight voodoo doll, and throwing a magnet in the toilet and swallowing a handful of BBs.

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It seems I’m not the only one with a method to my MarchMadness.

Let’s start right at the end. I know I’m supposed to pick Kentucky, the one NBA team in the tournament, but I’m picking Arizona. Why? Because I read this thing online by this sports guy writing for Forbes Magazine, where all the best sportswriters work, who said Arizona is the only team capable of beating Kentucky. I’m naturally kind of anti-bandwagon, so I’m going with the Wildcats over the Wildcats to take home the trophy (it’s a trophy, right?). Also, Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs are from Tucson. One of the coolest bands ever.

Believe me, I’ll be lording it over all the so-called experts when the forest of Kentucky seven-footers is flopping around on the hardwood crying as the clock reads 00:00 and the Arizona players (I’m sure there must be some pretty good ones) drink in the shock and adulation from the fans while the confetti made from John Calipari’s silk underpants falls from the sky.

But that’s a couple of weeks away. For now, let’s get back to this first weekend, this bracket-busting free-for-all that will have office buildings looking like ghost towns and a chicken wing shortage threatening the United States right up through the Final Four.

The upsets: #13 Valparaiso beats #4 Maryland. Why? Did you know that House of Cards is filmed in Maryland? Does anyone know why all those iconic Washington D.C. monuments have duplicates in Baltimore? It’s a little too creepy. Kind of like the way the Romans totally ripped off their deities and artwork from the Greeks. Get your own monuments, Maryland.

Fourteenth seed Northeastern will shock third-seed Notre Dame. Remember last year, when #3 Duke was upset by #14 Mercer? Yeah, I’ll bet Coach K does. The Fighting Irish will go down swinging, but the Fighting Compass Points will prevail.

Look for habitual Cinderella boys Gonzaga to make the Sweet Sixteen, but I don’t see them getting past Duke. Duke is one of the few basketball programs that actually had the University built around team. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who doesn’t even know how to pronounce his own name, had been leading this elite crew since the ball was made of wood and cork. I don’t see them falling off any time soon, but this won’t be their year.

I went to junior high in North Carolina, and in the school yard you were either Wolfpack, or a Tarheel. Nobody liked Duke and their stupid sky blue shorts. When David Thompson led the Wolfpack to the championship in 1974, the rumor was that he could take a quarter off the top of the backboard and leave change. We all wanted to be David Thompson. So based on that piece of sentimental fluff, I have them beating LSU, even though I had some excellent crawfish in Baton Rouge once. It will end there for the ‘Pack, sadly, as Louisville will expose them for the shell of their 1974 selves that they are.

I hope there will be some Cinderella this year, like a Coastal Carolina or a Butler, something to capture our attention for a week before they dissolve into the maw of one of the 1- and 2-seeds in the Final Four. My Cinderella candidate is Valparaiso, from something called the Horizon Conference. No one knows where Valparaiso is, but I’m pretty sure that’s the last name of the woman at GoFetch! who trims Houdini’s nails. Plus, I think the entire nation is going to like how the word Valparaiso feels in their mouths.

Say it: Valparaiso.

Arizona and Villanova will battle it out in the final, which will be missed by millions of people who are watching the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the Kentucky press conference. Villanova (Spanish for “bad guy who drives a crappy Chevrolet”) can rain down threes like BYU, who actually invented that shot at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1978. But the Wildcats won’t be able to stave off the withering half court defense of the Wildcats, and the Wildcats’ aggressive rebounding will be too much for the Wildcats.

Since there are approximately eleven Wildcats in this tourney to every one Blue Devil, the odds are with me that at least the champions will be named the Wildcats. Go Wildcats!

   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blogarchive.

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Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an openmind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.

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