Thursday, March 15, 2007


Yes, yes! It is finally here. By the time you read this the tournament will already have started and I will be living the good life in Schenectady's Stockade Region, possibly with a Screamer (A Genny Cream Ale for those not in the know!) in hand. This will be the fourth annual "Electric Stockade Asses Test". The title is still a work in progress. Yes our good friend, Mssr Javen Bohall has opened his heart and more importantly his home to several blithering idiots to watch basketball, drink beer, eat meats, etc. etc. This year, he's got new digs, right down the street from his old abode, and we're excited at the possibilities! Don't you worry there will be plenty of details of the shenanigans that ensue, up in the Electric City's beautiful and historic Stockade Region. But right now is a time to look a "Bitterness" look at the tournament:

Now I could break down everything region by region, with stats and useful analysis, but that's what ESPN and CNNSI are for. So I'm just gonna do what I do best and ramble! Now when filling in your brackets, there are many school's of thought as to how to go about it. You could go around and study RPIs, Strength of Scedule, Streaks, Stats, yada, yada, yada. You could use the tried and true method of picking the higher seeded team in every game or what I like to call the "Dick Method", because, let's face it, we all know it won't happen and it's just lazy, but you could very well win your bracket doing this. Interesting story: One year, possibly "Bitterness the College Years", my good friend Chuck had a pool where you got the points for the round as per usual, plus the seed or something to that affect, effect? So if you picked a 12 to win their 1st round game and they did, you would get regular points plus 12, because that was their seed. It encouraged looking at a bracket and actually picking upsets. But, alas, that was back when we would cut the brackets out of our local paper's and send it to the person in charge. Now we can use Al Gore's internets. They're on computers now! God bless the internets!
Anyways moving on, where was I? Ah yes, rambling. Another method is the good ol' Balki Bartokomous System. For those of you not familiar with Perfect Strangers, I'll explain: You see Balki, being from the island of Mypos, new very little about American sports, but kept managing to win the office football pool at work? When Cousin Larry asked him how, ot became clear that he used the team names to decide. For instance a Lion would tear apart a simple Packer. But as I looked over the bracket, I realized that this system would probably not get you very far. Just for esses and gees, we did a Balki Bracket and the winner was North Texas. They're the North Texas Mean Green, for goodness sake! They might as well just call themselves the North Texas Incredible Hulks. And trust, me the Hulks would prevail against pretty much anything. If you happen to see their first round game, but I would look in the stands for people painted green and wearing some tattered purple shorts! Now of course there is also the early dilemma of deciding which is tougher a Villanova Wildcat or a Kentucky Wildcat? We would go with the Villanova Wildcats, because you have to be tough to live in Philly. And while on the fun subject of name games like Wildcats vs. Wildcats, how 'bout the Cardinals versus the Cardinal? Weird, right? Oh, but back to making picks. Another method is to just sit down in front of the bracket, don't think too much and just pick. Or, have you pet pick. We had our cat, Lily make her picks and she seems to think the Panthers of Pittsburgh are gonna win the whole thing. But it's hard to take the word of someone, who, well, can't talk and licks their butt. We usually go with the over analyzing, back and forth, hemming and hawing, agonizing over each pick method. Does this work, you ask? Well, let's just say 47% of the time it works every time! Okay, so we've showed you several ways to pick, so now here's what we came up with:

If you want upsets, look no further than New York's Capital Region. That's right folks, Albany is Dane-gerous. And Brian Lillis and company have to like there draw here. Now it's not exactly a Cavalier thought to see Virginia go down early. While they posted a pretty good record in the highly, highly, highly overrated ACC, when it came to the big games they oft times couldn't cut the mustard. Look for Albany to go tit for Solomon Tat in this one. But I like the Danes chances to crash the Sweet Sixteen. If you look at the 5-12 matchup in Columbus, you see Tennessee and Long Beach State. No one has really been talking about the 49ers, which makes them primed for an upset, especially against Tennessee. Let me volunteer some thought about Tennessee: Under Bruce Pearl their postseason track record has not been good. In '06, after a stellar regular season they were bounced in the second round, and needed a last second three in the 1st round to even get that far. Not to mention their early exit from the SEC Tournament. Plus the fact that Long Beach State has someone named Dominique and someone named Byrd on their squad. Now we know it's spelled differently than Larry Legend , but still kind of Eerie, Indiana, don't you think? We also like the Blue Jays of Creighton to head to the Sweet Sixteen, as they will Funk-up Nevada and Memphis. Nevada is good, but this is a tough draw for them, even with one of the best in the college game right now, in Nick Fazekas. But the problem is the Wolf Pack don't play defense and that's what wins chamionships. I feel, as I did last year, that Memphis is overrated. Now last year I went a bit nutty, and picked them to be the first #1 seed to lose in the first round since the tournament went to 64 teams. But that didn't happen. Still, playing in Conference-USA can't help them. I mean when was the last time they played a meaningful, or for that matter a tough game? They can probably get by the Incredible Hulks in the first round, but either Nevada or Creighton will knock them out. I also wouldn't be surpirised to see the Cardinal upset the Cardinals in the first round. Now I know the game is Lexington, but I gotta feel that a lot of Kentucky fans not headed to Chigago will be their vehemently rooting aginst Rick Pitino's squad. Not to mention that big Celtic contingent they have in Lexington. Damn you Rick Pitino! Anyways, I think this bracket comes doen to Ohio State and Texas A&M, which of course means the Buckeyes and A&M will now be doomed to feel the Aggie-ny of defeat early. But I stand by it. Now this should be a good game and a tough one to call, but I like the Aggies to get to the Final Four out of this region.

1st Round: Ohio State, Xavier, Tennessee, Albany, Louisville, Texas A&M, Creighton, Memphis
2nd Round: Ohio State, Albany, Texas A&M, Creighton
3rd: Ohio State, Texas A&M
Champ: Texas A&M

We don't feel this'll be a region with a lot of first round upsets. We only picked Texas Tech to oust Boston College in the first round and that's only a 10-7 upset, which barely counts. BUt the Eagles have been iffy at best. They do have Dudley, but that just reminds us of the creepiest Diff'rent Strokes them off in the second round. Marquette seems to be flying under most people's radar, but rets assured, they can ball! And some forget that the Spartans were pretty hot going into the Big Ten Tournament and are battle tested against Wisconsin and Ohio State, which are vastly superior to the ACC schedule that UNC sputtered down the strectch with. Plus Tyler Hansbrough's mask will hinder him a bit. Now, North Carolina fans I don't want you to think I'm a heel or anything, but I see them headed home early. Last year, on a whim, we picked Oral Roberts to beat Memphis in the first round, which did not come to fruition. It was a tough call of whether or not they could upset three seeded Washington State. It could very wel happen, but while we'll be wearing our Oral Roberts t-shirt rootin them on, we just feel it's not in the cards for an upset this year. Now we know Kelvin "Duran" Durant is only a fr episode ever, with Gordon Jump. The top four seeds are pretty good, in what could be the toughest region of them all. Before winning the ACC Tournament the Tar Heels were sort of struggling, and let's face it, that win over Duke to end the season is much less impressive than it used to be. A lot of people seem to think the Tar Heels are gonna cruise right on into the Sweet Sixteen, but both Michigan State and Marquette could easily knockeshman, but he's hungry like the wolf. We think that, while experience helps, it is overrated. I remember a certain Syracuse team led by two freshman winning the whole shabang not too long ago. So don't let experience be too much of a factor when dedciding how far Texas will go. We think it comes down to the Horns and the Hoyas, but don't sleep on the Cougars of Washington State. Georgetown is one of, if not thee, hottest team in the country right now. The Hoyas have won four straight and 15 out of 16, with there only loss in that stretch coming against Syracuse, who is not in the tournament. Blah! But what you don't hear much about, is the Hoyas Johnathan Wallace. John Wallace? The last time a John Wallace was in the tournament, I believe he fared pretty well. I like the Hoyas, because Texas' "D" is not as good as it needs to be to win it,a nd if I'm wrong about UNC, they will probably wear down the Horns in the round of sixteen, giving G'Town an advantage. So in other words, Texas'll probably win the whole thing.

1st Round: UNC, Michigan State, USC, Texas, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Texas Tech, Georgetown
2nd Round: Michigan State, Texas, Washington State, Georgetown
3rd Round: Texas, Georgetown
Champ: Georgetown

Out west, we like the upsets to come in the bottom half of the bracket, with VCU, Gonzaga and Wright State. Now I'm sure at least one of these won't happen. Either VCU or Wright State won't win, but I'm still picking both of them. Why? Cause I'm insane! Let's see Duke, is just plain struggling right now. They don't have that usual Duke aura about them. Don't get me wrong, they're still cocky and annoying, but they have less team chemistry than usual and that's why we feel, they're headed for an early exit. Now we picked Wright State, mostly as a wildcard. There's something about Pittsburgh that I can't quite put my finger on, telling me they're headed out early. They were beaten badly by the Hoyas in their last game, so either they'll come out tight and be off their game or they'll use that Georgetown game as motivation to run to the Sweet Sixteen. I vote for them being tight. Now call me hokie, or old fashioned, but I'm just not sold on Virginia Tech. Now they did play well against the cream of the ACC, but admittedly that's less of a big deal this year. But they have a good draw, the Illini are a bad offensive team and don't have their "offensive" native-american mascot anymore, so the Hokies should be able to handle that, but will have a tought second round draw in the Salukis of Southern Illinois. This game is being played a lot closer to SIU's campus than V-Tech's, so we like the Salukis. Up top, Kansas is the one seed, although they may not be as good as the 2 seed and if they get to the regional final, they'll most likely end up playing UCLA in San Jose,CA. Yes, folks that "C" in UCLA, stands for California. But Kansas, has had a propensity for early exits, losing in the first round each of the last two years. So if I'm Jayhawks fans I'm worried about Villanova in the 2nd round, and if past that the Salukis in the round of 16. It's not an easy road for Kansas, as they'll probably thinking, there's no place like home. We're itching to pick Kansas to lose early, but we think they'll squeak through to the round of sixteen, where they will upend the Salukis, before falling to the Bruins.

1st Round: Kansas, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Southern Illinois, VCU, Wright State, Gonzaga, UCLA
2nd Round: Kansas, So. Illinois, Wright St., UCLA
3rd Round: UCLA, Kansas
Champ: UCLA

This was probably the toughest region to pick, because it features a bunch of up and down teams. Oregon, Maryland, and even Arizona could easily get hot and win the region. Plus this region is packed with upset potential. Winthrop, Davidson, Old Dominion and Miami (OH) could very easily pull off a first round upset. Now, Butler has been ranked all season, but faltered in the home stretch, whereas a lot of people were surprised ODU even got in the dance, so really this is a much closer game than a 5-12. Butler is currently favored by a point, which is might as well be a pick 'em. But, after much consternation I have decided that I'm gonna take the Bulldogs over the Monarchs. Now the only reason I like Miami (OH) as a possible upset is because no one's really talking much about them. It took a banked-in three pointer to get them in, so most think they are not that good, but they've got an Oregon team that was terrible in mid-season, but then ran the table in the PAC-10 Tournament. The Ducks can shoot, that's for sure, and they could easily get all the way to the Final Four, if they're on. I think they'll ride the momentum from their conference tournament into one more victory. Meanwhile we will pick Winthrop to upset Notre Dame and Oregon! We like their heart and grittiness. Now i it plays out, and we think it will, that they meet Wisconsin in the Sweet Sixteen, that could be very interesting, as Winthrop lost at Wisconsin by 3 in overtime. Which means Winthrop could, I repeat could get to the Elite Eight. Remember Wisconsin is without their leading rebounder Brian Butch and that is what'll hurt Wisconsin's Final Four chances. So yes we have Winthrop in the Elite Eight! Now, all the way at the top of the bracket, everyone is saying Florida has an easy road. Well, if the good Arizona shows up, they have a good shot at Florida. We think the Alligators will be able to handle the Wildcats, but it could be a lot closer than you think. But don't forget about the Terrapins, who could also give Florida a run for their money. But in the end I look for Florida to end Winthrop's Cinderella run.

1st Round: Florida, Arizona, Butler, Maryland, Winthrop, Oregon, UNLV, Wisconsin
2nd Round: Florida, Maryland, Winthrop, Wisconsin
3rd Ruond: Florida, Winthrop
Champ: Florida

UCLA over Florida and Georgetown over Texas A&M
With UCLA winning the whole thing!

And now for a quick note to those people who are in pools and whatnot. Don't root for your bracket. If a team you picked to go to the Final Four, is about to be upset, embrace the upset, don't whine about ruining your bracket! Especially since not a lot of people will have picked the upset, so it probably won't really hurt you chances that much. Enjoy the games!

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