Monday, March 15, 2010

I Need Your Help Evan Turner and Club Trillion

$300.  It's costly going for a threepeat.  2008 and 2009 were great years for the man.  I needed a North Carolina victory last year to wrap everything up, but I didn't even need Kansas or Memphis in 2008 to win that year.  Some might say that I'm getting cocky, but I'm confident that I will win my NCAA bracket for the third year in a row.  So confident that I'm willing to bet $300 for the chance to win $20.  It's a little bit different this year though, and frankly I won't mind if I win or lose.

If you've been reading lately, you know that everyone - Mom (MM), my boys (C and G) and Daddy's Little Girl (DLG) - has grown immensely interested in basketball.  Whether it be the Celtics, college basketball, pick up games in the driveway or seven year old playoff games, basketball has become the "cool" thing to do.  Better than sitting around playing video games, that's for sure.  Well, what better way to get the kids even more interested in college basketball than to teach them about "brackets," "pools" and "gambling."  So here is the challenge.  JMR against MM, C, G and DLG.  MM and the kids win, it's a day at Dave and Busters, where Mom and Dad will easily drop three dimes on food and games.  JMR wins and the kids take their allowance money and treat us out to dinner.  Nowhere fancy of course, we pay them peanuts.  One point for for each win in the First Round and double points for every round after that.  If someone picks an upset in any round, that person gets double the points in that round.

8pm.  I think the kids consider it a win just being able to stay up late on a school night so they're bouncing off the walls ready to pick the teams, no research is needed.  While I have spent three weeks poring through statistical research and watching all of the conference championships, MM spends 10 minutes doing her "research" on the teams and the brackets.  (Go figure, guys at ESPN make a living on what it took her 10 minutes to do.)  And 5 of those minutes were probably spent making fun of my car.  Despite the differences in preparation, we sit down to make our choices.  I quietly and methodically make my choices - mostly based on strength of schedule, strength of conference and performance in their last 15 games.  The other side's strategy is as follows:  pick a few well knowns and the kids get a few wanna-bes.  Apparantly their strategy is to confuse me into making mistakes of my own.  Well it's not going to work.  I'm well-rested and limber.  I feel it tonight.

It takes a while for my opponents to settle down to make their picks.  I'm practically finished when they start.  They move through the Midwest bracket first.  Listening to the rationale for each of their early picks, you know I'm in trouble:  Kansas ("They are the best team") UNLV ("How can they not win, they're in Las Vegas?"), New Mexico State ("Because your Uncle went there for college"  N.B. He went to the same college we went to in Maine, and he went to graduate school in New Mexico, but it was the University of New Mexico - good job Sis), Maryland ("Remember we went there for vacation?") and Tennessee ("The women's team is always awesome!"  I don't even bother reminding her that we are picking the men's college basketball games).  Again, realizing that they are just trying to confuse me, I stop listening and focus on finishing my own picks.

JMR's Picks

ROUND 1:  Kansas, Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Syracuse, Gonzaga, UTEP, Murray State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, BYU, Kansas State,  Kentucky, Wake Forest, Cornell, Wisconsin, Marquette, New Mexico, Missouri, WVU, Duke, Louisville, Utah State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Baylor, SMC, Villanova

ROUND 2:  Kansas, Michigan State, Georgetown, Ohio State, Syracuse, Murray State, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Marquette, West Virginia, Duke, Utah State, Baylor, Villanova

SWEET SIXTEEN:  Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Kentucky West Virginia, Duke, Baylor

ELITE 8:  Ohio State, Kansas State, West Virginia, Duke

FINAL FOUR:  Ohio State, West Virginia

CHAMPION:  Ohio State

MM and the Kids Picks

ROUND 1  Kansas, UNLV, New Mexico State, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Syracuse, Florida, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pittsburgh, BYU, Kansas State, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Temple, Wisconsin, Wahington, New Mexico, Missouri, WVU, Duke, Louisville (or "Loserville" as my son endearingly calls it), Utah State, Siena, Notre Dame, Baylor, SMC, Villanova

ROUND 2: Kansas, New Mexico State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Kentucky, Temple, UNM, West Virginia, Duke, Siena, Baylor, Villanova

SWEET SIXTEEN:  Kansas, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Temple, West Virginia, Duke, Villanova

ELITE 8:  Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Duke

FINAL FOUR:  Kansas, Duke

Reviewing our picks, I will be in good shape if Ohio State makes it into the Elite 8, MM and the kids will be the victors if Kansas wins it all and Ohio State falls early.  I'll need everyone from Evan Turner to Club Trillion to help me out.  I will be updating our status periodically on Twitter.  Find my updates at @jmannreview.

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