They say that the odds of picking a perfect bracket in the NCAA basketball tournament is 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Even for people who study basketball all the time, the odds are something like 1 in 128 billion.
So, if the odds are that long even for professional analysts, I think it’s safe to say that the success of your bracket is essentially random.
That being the case, why not take advice from a guy who hasn’t watched a single basketball game since his first child was born two-and-a-half years ago? (I’ve only got time for so many hobbies now, and those throw pillows aren’t going to cross-stitch themselves, y’know.) You know good and well that, no matter how stupid my picks might be, they’re just as good as anybody else’s, up to and including guys whose bookies are currently holding them out a seventh floor window by their ankles. So let’s dive right in!
1) Florida v. 16) Central Who Cares State – I hate those stupid play-in games that the NCAA tries to pass off as the “first round” of the tournament. It’s the first round in the same sense that a cow getting hit in the head with a pneumatic hammer is the first course of my dinner. Winner: Florida
8) Colorado v. 9) Pitt – Since the legalization of marijuana (and the subsequent performance by the Broncos in the Super Bowl — coincidence? I think not!), I’m not picking any team from Colorado until they prove that they can win while playing in Birkenstocks with a mouthful of Funyuns. Winner: Pitt
5) VCU v. 12) Stephen F. Austin – The whole commonwealth of Virginia against just one guy? There’s no way he could win, even if it is that guy who played Rudy. Winner: VCU
4) UCLA v. 13) Tulsa – I understand that UCLA has won this thing a few times. Meanwhile, Tulsa once had a USFL football team. Winner: UCLA
6) Ohio St. v. 11) Dayton – Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Dayton in the state of Ohio? Don’t you think that there might be a lot of people on Dayton’s team who are bigger fans of Ohio St. than they are of Dayton? Winner: Ohio St.
3) Syracuse v. 14) Western Michigan – Last I heard, Syracuse had won more games in a row than the Harlem Globetrotters. How did they end up with a 3 seed? Did they get bought by Jerry Jones? Nevertheless… Winner: Syracuse
7) New Mexico v. 10) Stanford – This is one of those hard bracket picks for people who don’t know anything: the team with more caché is the lower seed, but not that much lower. Oh well, nobody ever got fired for buying IBM. Winner: Stanford
2) Kansas v. 15) Eastern Kentucky – This is not one of those hard bracket picks. Winner: Kansas
1) Virginia v. 16) Coastal Carolina – Coastal Carolina makes me proud of myself because I know what a “Chanticleer” is. In case you didn’t know, it’s something that gets run over on the highway. Winner: Virginia
8) Memphis v. 9) George Washington – Even if George Washington knows how to play basketball, he’s got to be really, really old by now, right? Winner: Memphis
5) Cincinnati v. 12) Harvard – Do you think these two schools fought over the same recruits a lot? Hahahahahahaha! Winner: Harvard
4) Michigan St. v. 13) Delaware – At least the Blue Hens can hang out with the Chanticleers at the after-tournament mixer, if you know what I’m saying. Winner: Michigan St.
6) North Carolina v. 11) Providence – The only thing that makes me hesitate here is that I know that UNC lost to my hometown school UAB early in the season. I’m willing to give them a pass, though, because UNC had to overcome the fact that they were forced to make a trip to Birmingham, and that’s quite an obstacle, lemme tell ya. Winner: North Carolina
3) Iowa St. v. 14) North Carolina Central – North Carolina Central’s devious plan to scare everybody into thinking they’re North Carolina by saying “North Carolina!” really loud and “(central)” really soft in their fight song does not pay off. Winner: Iowa St.
7) UConn v. 10) St. Joseph’s – If it was a contest of who was best at preventing heart attacks, I go with St. Joseph’s all the way. Winner: UConn
2) Villanova v. 15) UW-Milwaukee – I have got absolutely nothing. Winner: Villanova
1) Arizona v. 16) Weber St. – Is it pronounced “Webber State” or “Weeber State”? I wouldn’t waste a lot of time worrying about it. Winner: Arizona
8) Gonzaga v. 9) Oklahoma St. – If Oklahoma State’s basketball team can score like their football team, they’ve got a chance. Winner: Oklahoma St.
5) Oklahoma v. 12) North Dakota St. – I was almost fooled on this one, because in several places North Dakota State is listed as “No Dak St,” which made me afraid that they were actually some kind of experimental missile from North Korea or something. I know they’re not good a building missiles, but if those crazy birds got one into a basketball area there’s no telling what might happen. Anyway, it turns out that No Dak St is really just a basketball team, so… Winner: Oklahoma
4) San Diego St. v. 13) New Mexico St. – Does New Mexico St. have anything that can top this?
I doubt it. Winner: San Diego St.
6) Baylor v. 11) Nebraska – (Copy joke about Oklahoma State’s football team, paste here) Winner: Baylor
3) Creighton v. 14) UL-Lafayette – Creighton has a player with the nickname “Dougie McBuckets.” For that alone, he has my vote for president. Winner: Creighton
7) Oregon v. 10) BYU – In the battle of the Fighting Mormons vs. the Fighting Nikes, I think I have to lean Mormon. Winner: BYU
2) Wisconsin v. 15) American – A quick look at the scouting report tells me that these two teams are all about defense. Look for the final score on this one to be somewhere between a 3rd grade girls rec league game and an Atlanta Braves playoff game where Tom Glavine was the starting pitcher. Winner: Wisconsin
1) Wichita St. v. 16) At Least We’re Not In The NIT Tech – It’ll be interesting to see Wichita State in the role of Goliath this time. Winner: Wichita St.
8) Kentucky v. 9) Kansas St. – Kentucky’s had an off year this year, but when Andre the Giant had an off year, he was still 400 pounds. Winner: Kentucky
5) St. Louis v. 12) N.C. State/Xavier – If the NCAA can make up a bracket like this, I should be able to pick more than one winner. If Xavier makes it, then I expect him to prevail with his mutant mind powers. Otherwise, St. Louis.
4) Louisville v. 13) Manhattan – People say it was one of Woody Allen’s better films, but he’s still a child-fondling pervert. Winner: Louisville
6) UMass v. 11) Iowa/Tennessee – Um… Winner: UMass or Umass
3) Duke v. 14) Mercer – Sat around for a few minutes trying to think up a joke and the best I could do was, “Mercer beaucoup for the first round cupcake!” They can’t all be gems. Winner: Duke
7) Texas v. 10) Arizona St. – Um, both mascots have horns, so that’s… something probably no other analyst will mention. So, yeah. Winner: Texas
2) Michigan v. 15) Wofford – My wife and I once, completely independently of each other, picked Wofford as an upset in the tournament. So, it’s kind of “our pick” like Outkast’s “Hey Ya” is “our song.” Winner: Wofford
If you win a billion dollars with these picks, all I ask is that you send me enough to buy an understated, smallish island. Thank you.