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I know nothing about NCAA hoops

April 7, 2008

by Matt Kane

Just because my by-line says I am a “sports editor,” that doesn’t mean I know everything about sports. In fact, I have a feeling some of my subjects wonder if I know anything about sports.

Over the past few weeks, I, too have been questioning my knowledge of these games we play and watch. The big mind-boggler for my brain has been the NCAA national tournament.

When filling out my bracket, if I would have listened to whomever seeds the teams, I would have been fine. I would have picked the four number one teams to appear in the final four, and I would have been correct.

Instead, I tend to go with my heart over my head. Instead of choosing the better team, I often choose the school I like better, or want to win.

A lot of good that has done me this postseason. In our company bracket challenge played through a web site, it has come to my attention that I am a fan of the color red. There are red lines drawn through the teams I picked to win each game, and, let me tell you, there is a lot of red.

Green is the color I wanted to see, because the teams written in green are still alive. It is one of my favorite colors, but, heading into last weekend’s final four, I had only one green team remaining on my bracket —UCLA.

I picked the Bruins to make it to the championship game, but I did not pick them to win the dance. Nope, I picked the mighty Volunteers of Tennessee.

Don’t ask me why I picked Tennessee, I’m not even a fan. If this bracket was for football, I would despise the Volunteers simply because they are in the SEC and not the Big 10.

Speaking of the Big 10, I want to send a less than warm “Thank You” to the Wisconsin Badgers. I know, I know; how can a Minnesota guy pick the Badgers for anything?

I have no excuses for that pick, and it cost me two red lines. I was correct in that Wisconsin would get to the Sweet 16, but I was sadly mistaken that Bucky Badger would strut his way into the Final Four.

I find it kind of funny that the one Final Four team I actually kind of like and am now cheering for, didn’t make it out of the second round on my bracket. Sorry about that, Memphis.

I really don’t know why I want the Memphis Tigers to win, probably because I like their blue uniforms. That sounds like a reason for one of the ladies in the office to choose a team. At least I didn’t pick the Tigers because I think John Calipari is handsome. (I don’t think that, I was just using it as a comparison.)

Picking teams by uniform color? Did I mention, yet, that I don’t know anything about college basketball?

I went to one Gophers game this year (to see Penn State), but did not watch any games on television all season.

I’m not ashamed of that. College basketball season overlaps hockey season and the end of the NFL season, so there are usually much better things to watch than a bunch of pumpkin-pushers aiming for a peach basket. And, when there is no football or hockey games on, there is probably a rerun of “Dirty Jobs” or “Iron Chef America” on.

As I’m sure many will admit at this time of college basketball season, the championship tournament makes the basketball season interesting.

Why? Probably because every game of every round is a do-or-die situation for the teams involved. There are no best-of-seven series, where teams can rebound from a first-game loss, which gives the lesser-ranked teams a real chance at knocking off the big boys. Think about the round of 32 match-up between Georgetown and Davidson. If that game was a series, Davidson’s chances of advancing would have been minute. Instead, the one-game format allowed Davidson to turn into the feel-good team of the tournament. Davidson’s run finally ended when Kansas defeated them in the Elite 8.

The win put Kansas into the Final Four with the tournament’s other three No. 1 seeds — North Carolina, Memphis, and UCLA — which is what the seeders predicted.

So, which No. 1 will be the champion?

That’s just one of the things in the world of sports I do not know.