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Who Ya Got? (For March Madness, Stupid, What Else?)

Stephen Markley

10:16 AM CDT, March 19, 2013

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As anyone who even remotely follows college basketball understands, no one knows anything about what will happen in this year’s NCAA tournament. Total crapshoot even for a tournament that’s intended to be a crapshoot.

Last year’s champion, Kentucky, couldn’t even manage to scrape their way into the field of 64. My buddy, Frees, a die-hard Kentucky fan is on some kind of combination suicide watch and permanent state of denial; he’s like one of those Japanese soldiers who got stranded on some mid-Pacific atoll in 1944 and has no idea the war ended nearly seven decades ago.

The number one seed, Gonzaga, spent the year beating up on Portland, Loyola Marymount, Ms. Moffett’s Finishing School for Little Blind Learning Disabled Girls, and whoever else plays in the West Coast Conference, so no one can pick them with a straight face.

And the rest of the field? Who the hell knows? If it was mathematically possible, I would pick None of the Above (78-67) for the final game. Keeping in mind that I’m an NBA fan first and foremost, every time I sat down to watch a top-ranked team this year, a team to which I thought I could hitch my wagon for a Final Four run, that team played like my ass eating itself. Kansas’s three straight February losses would’ve been one thing, except the only game I saw them play after that was against Baylor. Indiana, I caught all season, especially that dogshit stretch at the end with losses to Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Louisville seems tough, but they had their own mid-season meltdown (although props for putting on that 5-OT party with Notre Dame).

Anyway, my only point is that since no one ever knows anyway, and this year is especially confused, I’m picking all my teams out of spite.

I’ve got the Buckeyes winning it all, which, I know, is just me asking, begging, pleading with the basketball gods to have Iowa State knock them out in the second round or some equally embarrassing denouement. But you know what? Screw it. If ever there was a year where peaking late in the Big Ten tournament could lead to the National Championship, this is it. It’s a goddamn algorithm. Someone’s gotta win.

My other Final Four picks are Louisville (to spite Frees, who’s still swinging the rusting blade of his bayonet at the tourists who stumbled upon him), Florida (to spite my friend Karla, who went to Florida State, and yet can somehow read enough letters and numbers to fill out an NCAA bracket), and Indiana (to spite the state of Indiana when the Buckeyes beat them in the finals; although this seems cruel since even if they win it all, they’ll still live in Indiana).

So there it is, my picks made publically. Who do y’all got?