DUBLIN-ISH, HOLLYWOOD – It’s yet another holiday Monday post for your far-flung West Coast correspondent and while it seems impossible, I do believe I’m pulling my first St. Patrick’s Day duty here. So let me pour some Bushmill’s and put on a green plastic hat to put me in the mood. Ah, that’s better.
Now I’d love to sit here and pretend to know what I’m talking about in filling out a tournament bracket, but Warren Buffet’s billion dollars is perfectly safe from me. However, why the persistence in organizing the brackets by region when every year there’s a Stanford or Colorado in the South, Louisiana and Wisconsin in the West, or a Milwaukee in the East and a Manhattan in the Midwest? I understand scheduling is exceedingly difficult, but couldn’t those last two at least have been flipped? It makes me want to rethink the brackets all together, and arrange them under more fitting headings.
City Slicker Region: Featuring schools named after their home cities, like the aforementioned Milwaukee and Manhattan (I’m counting Manhattan as a city, is that wrong?) and a whopping twelve schools this year…a lucky thirteen if Albany makes it out of this so-called “First Four” (technically there are eight teams vying for the last four spots, so shouldn’t it be the “Last Four?”).
St. versus St. Region: Albany would have to beat Mt. St. Mary’s, who would only be the third team with the “St.” coming before the name, along with St. Joe’s and Saint Louis (I’m accepting the fully written “Saint” there, but I’m flexible). That’s opposed to the nine that have the “St.” coming afterwards (and it seems random who bothers to spell out “State” from bracket to bracket).
Full Name Fever Region: Lots of schools are named after people, but in this tournament only two dared to use first and last names: George Washington, who once threw a quarter across the Potomac before basketball was invented as a cheaper form of fun; and Stephen F. Austin, who crashed in a tragic rocket accident and had to be rebuilt with bionics for a cheap $6 million. He’s going to be tough to beat in that region.
Regional Region: This includes the four schools that have a direction in their name (usually a bad sign), including Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, NC Central and Coastal Carolina (and if you really want to stretch it, you could technically including North Carolina itself, or North Dakota St.) One more if Texas Southern gets in. You have the North, South, East, West, Central, and Coastal…which sound like pretty good bracket headings to me.
So who’s going to win, you ask? I’m going to go with…Wofford. I can’t think of any regional category for them, so they’ll have the easiest route.
On a closing note, leave it to Angry Ward to come out to West Coast Craig’s (me in third person) neck of the woods on St. Patrick’s Day, when the most amateur of annual Irishmen pour into the streets, punching the arms of everyone audacious enough not to wear green on this solemn day of remembrance…of…something to do with snakes? Oh yes, the rivers will turn green with the vomit of corned beef and cabbage, Guinness, and Tullamore Dew. Or, in other words, just another Monday afternoon for Short Matt.