Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

NCAA Tournament Bracket … from the UAE?

March 16th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Abu Dhabi, UCLA, USC

Well, yes. Looks like I’ll be filling one out. Even though I have paid less attention to this college basketball season than any since … well, maybe when I was10 years old — just before UCLA started winning NCAA championships.

But newsrooms like to organize tournament pools, and one of the sporting guys on the news side sent out a message looking for interested people … and it seems to include just about every Yank in the room, and, well,  what the heck. If a Canadian asks an American to be in the NCAA pool he’s organizing … you pretty much have to join. To show the flag.

Anyway, here’s what I know about the current college basketball season:

–Some guy named “Wall” might be the best player in the country. He plays for Kentucky. I believe his first name is John. He is a freshman who may go No. 1 in the NBA draft.

–Kansas is the top-seeded of the four No. 1 seeds but gets Lehigh in the first round. Not the play-in team. Duke gets the play-in team. I know this because one of the handful of Yanks in the room went to Kansas, and he wants to know why Kansas doesn’t get to play the play-in chump. Uh, winner.

–UCLA and USC are not in the tournament. UCLA’s faceplant this season is a major factor in my generic disinterest. Just as UCLA got me into college basketball, 45 years ago, the Bruins pretty much led me back out this year when they stunk it up most of the season. And USC not being in, well, that was a given last year when the Trojans penalized themselves for the O.J. Mayo stuff and said they wouldn’t go for the tournament this season. (Watch and see if they ever sanction the football team. Hah.) And the Pac-10 was horrible. I knew that early. Cal won the title, its first since Pete Newell was a kid, but I’m not sure the Golden Bears are celebrating because even they admit the conference was ridiculous.

And now I’m about done. Michigan State is decent? The Canadian colleague is thinking of backing them. Somebody out of the Big East? Louisville?

Anyway, if this pool were for money — but it’s not because gambling is illegal in this country — I might as well toss a 50-dirham bill into the street, because that theoretical pool entry fee (we don’t do it for money, remember?) is money I would never see again.

Then I thought about this a bit more, and remembered that even back when I was watching a lot of college hoops … I never won an NCAA pool. And I never thought about throwing $5 onto Interstate 10.

So,  I’ll go ahead with this. And I will devise a system. I may go with the higher-seeded team in every game (congrats, KU; that means you win!). Maybe I go with the team that comes first in the alphabet. In which case Alabama wins the whole thing, if they’re in the tournament. Otherwise, it could be Alcorn A&M, Amherst, Army or maybe Auburn or Austin Peay.

Maybe I will pick all games based on which team is closer to my former home in Long Beach. (In that case, I think Loyola of L.A. wins the title. They’re in, right? Be a great story.)

The point, again, being that I was bad at this when I thought I knew something about it. Now that I don’t know anything about anything, how much worse can I be? And, besides, 50 smagollas here is about $13 back home. I’ll just think of it as a contribution to some newsroom colleague’s send-my-kids-to-college fund. If we were using real money, of course.


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ryan // Mar 16, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Kansas doesn’t get the play-in winner because the play-in winner has to play on Friday so they get some time off after their Tuesday play-in game. Kansas, the number one top seed, was put in a Thursday sub-regional because that was closest to them and the same was true with second top seed Kentucky.

  • 2 David Lassen // Mar 16, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    All I know is that when we ran an Oscar pool in Thousand Oaks, it was always won by someone like a parent who had only seen one Disney movie that year. So a lack of information might actually work to your benefit.

  • 3 MMRCPA // Mar 18, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    I can’t believe you’re not factoring in uniform color. That usually can tip he scales in your favor.

Leave a Comment