Having made my thoughts on March Madness crystal clarion, I met with some resistance from the hardwood posse. They Luca’ed my Brasi on the matter by refuting my faluting with the kind of trash talk that gets my Hemi humming; all cheek, no meek. Buried in the vitriolic wreckage, however, was a genuine misconception about my opinion of college basketball in general and their postseason tournament in particular.
I don’t hate it.
There was a time when I actually loved the stuff. And then progress transformed the sport from a Gene Hackman matinee to a Gene Simmons midnight rager. Where rosters once went five deep, now most clubs are lucky if they have two all-stars, and they’re even luckier if they get two seasons out of them. The talent pool is dispersed like never before thanks to cable deals that expand the number of destination campuses exponentially. There’s also the matter of NIL, which allows highly sought after recruits to create their own brands rather than build their professional equity on the shoulders of a big brand school. And let’s face it, the lure of next level dinero is hard to pass up if your comps are collecting NBA paychecks. It can be argued, and I’ve heard these arguments all week long, that the sport is more interesting this way. And maybe it’s true . . . but not enough for me to tune in.
Nonetheless, I have taken the pushback to heart and so, for the haters, Imma extend an olive branch. Sort of.
Here then is my bracket for March Madness 2023, hot on the heels of my office pool win last year. (Editors Note: My office pool win last year followed the Congressional blueprint of total guesswork and dumb luck). I filled that fucker out the way George Santos fills out his resume, so anyone who uses my choices for the purpose of wagering? Well, you must really hate your money.
My bracket works a little differently from all these big name, overhyped prognosticators out there in that I have automatically deleted more than half the field because I feel like sixty-eight candidates is ridiculous. This ain’t the GOP presidential field, people!
Some of the more prominent names I kicked to the curb? Sure why not . . .
Alabama– If you ain’t up on this awful story about how society values wins and losses more than it does human life, read this piece by Candace Buckner.
Purdue- I recognize this name for chicken, not hoops.
Kansas- I prefer the rock and roll band.
Houston- The Astros call it home, so nope.
Okay, so the top seeds are out in my ball breaking bracket busting scenario but I’m not simply ganging up on goliaths here. There are several lesser regarded clubs I can’t be down with either. Like Iona, because that’s what you name a kid you can’t stand. And Drake, whose songs possess as much appeal as root canal. Oral Roberts reminds me that televangelism was the father of ‘QAnon and Indiana is the mother of Bobby Knight and . . and . . Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas are a bunch of kissing cousins who keep the cheap beer industry going.
Teams I dig include . . .
Furman- Because I’m sure OJ doesn’t have them in his bracket. See what I did there?
Charleston- Alumni include Darius Rucker, Art Shell, Lauren Hutton and Stephen Colbert. Plus, they are home to the River Dogs. Sold!
Creighton- This happens to be the name of the love child I had with Vera Farmiga back in the eighties. Oh shit . . I said that out loud?
Colgate- Nine out of ten dentists surveyed have this school in their brackets.
Grand Canyon- I loved the movie with Kevin Kline and Danny Glover.
Kennesaw State- Mark Twain would’ve picked them. I’m sure of it.
As for my Final Four prediction, in the Thelonious Monk bracket . . .
I’m going with Georgetown even though they ain’t in the dance. Because I’m old enough to remember when they were a fixture in the tourney with the legendary John Thompson. The Hoyas will face off against Duke: the 1990-92 editions who were delightful villains and my favorite college teams ever. Obviously, they ain’t in the dance either so I’m putting them there.
In the Michael Jordan Is The Goat bracket . . .
The Pittsburgh Pythons might be a fictional professional basketball team from the 1979 flick The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh but so what? With the great Julius Erving in the role of Moses Guthrie, the team turns to astrology in a last ditch effort to save the moribund franchise. They change their name to Pisces and make a title run. Top that Jim Nantz! The Pythons will go against the Miami Hurricanes, because this is MY bracket and my dream scenario. I realize there isn’t much chance that a bunch of college kids are going to beat Julius Erving in his prime, but hey, that’s why they play the games, right?
As for crowning a champion, I tossed with calling it a tie since I love all four contestants but that would be entirely unrealistic. So Imma go with my Hurricanes to ring in April with their first ever hoops title. Their magical run proves such an inspiration that the Heat also make an improbable run to the title. After which the Dolphins make it a hometown trifecta by winning the Super Bowl, and the Marlins? Are in attendance!
Welp, I sincerely hope this will serve as an apology to any college basketball fans I may have offended. And as an added bonus, this post doubles as a drinking game: For every ridiculous prediction, shot! Please make sure to drink responsibly . .
. . .ish.