It’s that time of year again, and I don’t mean spring or taxes; I’m talking about the madness, March Madness. Now, I must admit something. I am not an expert on college basketball. I know, you are shocked, but close your mouth and let me finish. I know the game of basketball and I can hold a decent conversation about who’s who in college basketball (much more than the average woman), but I don’t follow it like I do college football; now that’s a topic I could get passionate about (Boomer Sooner!) Actually, this is the first year in several that I haven’t followed the basketball season closely. I blame it on moving to KY and starting life from scratch. However, I have my own personal sportscaster living with me. Aaron is a sports Fanatic, and I mean that, so even if I don’t catch SportsCenter, which isn’t often, I’ll get an update via AaronCenter. I mean his phone beeps or vibrates at least 5-10 times an hour for some sports-related update, from the 49ers to the OSU Cowboys. I think it alerted him when his cousin Jordan’s basketball team won their game the other day in Indonesia. I’m not sure, but I think Aaron has signed up to receive sports updates in heaven; I bet God is one heck of an announcer.
Needless to say, Aaron is pumped and has already blogged twice about the tournament, and has plans for more. (Read about his bracket tips here.) He has logged an incredible number of hits with his NCAA posts (over 300 in a day), and frankly I am a little jealous; I am supposed to be the writer in the family. It also hasn’t helped that he has reminded me of the number of hits on a regular basis, about as often as SportsCenter airs; probably more.
After reading his latest posts, and they are good reads, I became inspired and challenged to pick my bracket a little differently. Aaron suggests in his bracket tips to balance head and heart when picking, which while wise and safe, just seemed to shout, ‘Challenge!’ I like heart, passion, stubbornness, ridiculous reasoning, and I wanted to have some fun. My decision: Pick my bracket using heart reasoning and women’s intuition only. I believe in miracles, and Scripture does say that the greatest is Love, followed by faith and hope. Seems like a good package to me. As the Angels in the Outfield mantra goes, “It could happen.” So here we go; won’t it be sweet if my lovely bracket outlasts Aaron’s sensible, researched, scrutinized one?! Again, I stress, “It Could Happen!” I’ve included a copy of my bracket with reasoning for each region’s opening round, followed by select highlights all the way to: One Shining Moment. Enjoy.
(1) UNC over (16) Mt. St. Mary’s- Whose heart doesn’t belong to a certain #23, plus I love tar heel blue.
(9) Arkansas over (8) Indiana- This was tough. I have a cousin whose a hog, but I have some close friends from Indiana who share my love of Lost. It came down to my loss of love for Kelvin Sampson. Shame, oh the shame.
2nd Rd. UNC over Arkansas- I don’t want to associate myself too much with Arkansas, it being the Clinton’s home turf and all. Yeesh.
(5) Notre Dame over (12) George Mason- A shamrock of reasons: RUDY, RUDY. (I love that movie, and I know that’s football, but….) I love a man with red hair, a red goatee, and a pipe. After the kid of football season they had, I would love for them to have some redemption.
(4) Washington State over (13) Winthrop- Okay, had to dig a bit, but if Tony Bennett is leading the Cougars, then I’m on board. His songs make me happy!
(6) OU or Oklahoma over (11) Saint Joseph’s- I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead. Nuff’ said.
(14) Boise State over (3) Louisville- (Hurts just to type Boise.) I know it is a long shot, and Boise State is no Cinderella. The higher ideal in me picks Louisville because of Patrick Henry Hughes, and I would love to see Boise State lose in the opening round, but it will be much sweeter if OU exacts revenge on the court.
2nd Rd. (6) OU over Blahse (I mean) Boise State- See above notation. Statue of Liberty what? Seriously, that made it to the number 2 spot as best highlight of all time? Are you kidding me?
(7) Butler over (10) South Alabama- I’d love an upset here, but, I had to go with the team who had Alex Anglin from Kokomo. Okay, it’s Kokomo, Indiana, but it’s still pretty sweet. That’s where I want to go….
(2) Tennessee over (15) American- My daddy lives in Nashville, as does my cousin and her new husband, and I love music. Lots of happy memories. Go Vols!
(1) Kansas over (16) Portland State- Kansas is a Big 12 school, and it seems that they have the ruby slippers this year!
(8) UNLV over (9) Kent State- I love the way UNLV rolls off the tongue when said with some speed. Go ahead, give it a try or two.
(5) Clemson over (12) Villanova- A tough one for me as I have been a Nova fan for some time. However, I enjoy Clemson and they are the tigers. Gotta go with the namesake.
(4) Vanderbilt over (13) Siena- Siena who? Is this even spelled correctly? My ex-step-mom used to work at Vanderbilt and I have held a quiet affinity for Vandy ever since getting an insiders tour when I was six.
2nd Rd. (5) Clemson over (4) Vanderbilt- Tigers eat commodores for snacks.
(11) Kansas State over (6) USC- Three reasons: 1) My husband’s maternal side of the family are Kansas natives and huge K-State fans, and I have grown quite fond of them (family, not cats). 2) Big 12 school. 3) Trojans need to be knocked down off their horses any chance it can happen, especially in football.
(3) Wisconsin over (14) Cal St. Fullerton- I love cheese and despite the somewhat funny commercials, I will take great cheese over happy cows any day.
2nd Rd. (3) Wisconsin over (11) K-State- My love of cheese runs deep.
(7) Gonzaga over (10) Davidson- I started a love affair with the Zags awhile back in my unruly youth, when things like Brand names mattered. I mean, how great a name is Gonzaga?! The fact that they are a great team so often was a perk. The fisher price moustache was bonus joy!
(2) Georgetown over (15) UMBC- I have a pair of Big Dogg fleece, pajama pants that are Georgetown colors and I refuse to give them up even though they are getting quite long in the tooth. Plus, the dog on the pants just looks so cool and intimidating.
(1) Memphis over (16) Texas-Arlington- First of all, when I think Arlington and Texas, I think Six Flags and Astros, not basketball. Secondly, Elvis is the king, and my dad was an Elvis impersonator.
(9) Oregon over (8) Mississippi State- Some of my favorite people in the whole world are Duck fans. Thank you Diehl family.
(5) Michigan State over (12) Temple- Aaron and I attended an incredible Worship conference in Michigan while in college.
(13) ORU over (4) Pittsburgh- ORU is in Tulsa, OK. I am a native Tulsan and I gotta have faith.
2nd Rd. (5) Mich. St. over (13) ORU- O’ me of little faith? No, I cannot fully support mascot antics.
(11) Kentucky over (6) Marquette- I live in KY for now and I believe in supporting the ‘home’ team. (For at least one win!)
(3) Stanford over (14) Cornell- I used to be a Cardinal, well, my summer softball team, but we were amazing. Plus, Andy Bernard went to Cornell, I mean Cornot.
(10) St. Mary’s over (7) Miami- The Virgin Mother trumps Horatio Caine. (Removes sunglasses as I hit enter).
(2) Texas over (15) Austin Peay- One of the few times I will be caught picking Texas for anything other than a whoopin, but they are Big 12, and Austin Peay sounds like the guy who got swirlies in high school.
(1) UCLA over (16) Miss. Valley State- It’s L.A. man. Their cool factor alone is enough. For a few wins anyway.
(9) Texas A & M (8) BYU- Do I dare play the Mormon card? Nah. I am faithful to the Big XII.
(5) Drake over (12) Western KY- I think Drake would make a great name for some wealthy kid. Not mine, but someone with money.
(4) Connecticut over (13) San Diego- Apart from a tremendous history of success, they have one of the best mascots. My first dog was Smokey, a beautiful husky.
(6) Purdue over (11) Baylor- I change my mind on the Big 12 support here, and being a woman, that is allowed. It’s Baylor for goodness sake. A green, sickly bear, vs. a steam engine? HMMMM.
(3) Xavier over (14) Georgia- Three words: Cabbage Patch Dolls. I have a theory that all players have the name tattooed in the same place as one of my childhood favorites. I am an child of the 80’s.
(7) West Virginia over (10) Arizona- I have close family in WV, and a friend at Asbury who should be the Mountaineers official team reporter.
(2) Duke over (15) Belmont- Duke does have United Methodist ties and I have an open mind and heart.
2nd Rd. (7) WVU over (2) Duke- Not that open! Anything to not have to listen to too much Dukey V.
Kansas VS. Connecticut in the finals: My puppy love must mature to Conference loyalty, and plus, I am intelligent. Jayhawks are Hot!