Here we are again and it’s time to get down to business. My taxes are filed and I’m getting money from the gov’t and giving some to the state, so if not that madness, it must be March Madness. Now a reminder, I am not an expert on college basketball, although sometimes I’m pretty sure if I screamed my advice like Dukey V, no one would know the difference. 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, although I am still licking my wounds from the National Championship letdown, but I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead! The loss caused me to lose some desire to follow the basketball season closely, even as OU has had an incredible season, led by Blake Griffin. I blame it on being in KY, surrounded by crazed SEC fans who think no other conference is worthy. However, as I have my own personal sportscaster living with me, whose own blog on the bracket is skyrocketing, I can’t pass through March bracket free. I went to the living room this morning where Aaron, the sports Fanatic, had lovingly placed a blank bracket on my computer. I caught Sportscenter and I’m sure I’ll get an update via AaronCenter later. His phone is on overdrive beeping and vibrating at least 5-10 times an hour for some sports-related update, from the 49ers to the OSU Cowboys. I think he got a personal alert when Kurt Warner had a meeting with Mike Singletary last month. I’m pretty sure Aaron has renewed his subscription to Courts of Gold to supplement his sports updates he’ll receive in heaven; I bet God is one heck of an announcer, and if we think Reiley knows how to write a closing sentence, imagine what God can do with sentences 1-7.
After reading Aaron’s latest NCAA post update, I once again was inspired and challenged to pick my bracket, post it, and do it all in my own style, from the heart. And, since I am a mother-to-be this year, I am sure hormones and a growing maternal instinct will play a role, at least a little. 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) Louisville over (16) Morehead St.- Reason #1 for Louisville: Home and alma mater of Patrick Henry Hughes, so we know they are not short on inspiration!
(8) Ohio St. over (9) Siena- This is one of the few times I root for this OSU, but they have my pick here. They are a talented team, but it helps that two of my dearest friends here in KY are buckeye fans.
2nd Rd. Louisville over Ohio St.: Reason # 2 for Louisville- My softball team was the Cardinals and we were awesome!
(5) Utah over (12) Arizona- Arizona, hmm… devils and deserts? Utah has a whole tabernacle singing its praises!
(4) Wake Forest over (13) Cleveland St. – Okay, confession. The first time I heard of Wake Forest, I thought it sounded like more of a magical land than the home of the Demon Deacons, and since then I have always thought they have a certain magical quality. I think Wake Forest belongs in The Princess Bride. It would make a much better location for a summer home than the fireswamp and the ROUS’s.
(6) West Virginia over (11) Dayton- I have family in West Virginia and a good friend who is a big Mountaineers fan. He’s getting married, so this is my present to him! Congrats Shannon!
(3) Kansas over (14) North Dakota- Kansas is part of the Big 12 and home to family and they’re off to see the wizard.
(7) Boston College over (10) USC- Anyone else sick of those USC commercials that run so heavily during big games? The ones highlighting all the “big” names that are USC alum. I mean you would think that helmet is heavy enough without the big heads they all carry around. Let’s see Boston College, a very talented team, make a commercial. I’m sure they have some big names to flaunt considering they can pull a bit farther back in history. A little humility please.
(2) Michigan St. over (15) Robert Morris- I had to go with a head choice here, considering when I asked Aaron where Robert Morris was from he asked who I was talking about, as if I had just asked where a long, lost relative lived. If Trivial Sportsuit guru doesn’t even register the name of a team…I’m blonde and like to use my heart, but not stupid.
Sweet Sixteen: Louisville (reason #3, Taco Bueno recently opened in Louisville, so they are Muy Bueno!), Wake Forest, Kansas, Boston College
Elite Eight: Louisville and Kansas (A birdwatcher’s dream!)
Final Four: Louisville
West (Glendale, AZ)
(1) Connecticut over (16) Chattanooga- My first dog was a husky, and one of my favorite people in the world lives in Connecticut. Hi Nate!
(9) Texas A & M over (8) BYU- Again, Big 12 versus a school named after the most renowned polygamist. Freedom of Religion, fine, and we know Bobby Knight had Freedom of Speech and anger at A & M for awhile, but I draw the line at males with the need for more than one wife. I can handle a son of tyrant.
(5) Purdue over (12) Northern Iowa- Purdue Boilermakers vs. NI Panthers. Tough. Purdue has my high school’s colors, are from Indiana, and the Big 10, which is really the Big 11. The Panthers are…… eating corn?
(13) Mississippi St. over (4) Washington- Besides being fun to spell…don’t tell me you aren’t doing it..M I S S I S S I PP I! Frank and Andrea Haynes are from Miss. St. and they rock!
(6) Marquette over (11) Utah St.- I love Marquette. Always good and sounds so regal.
(3) Missouri over (14) Cornell- Big 12 and the tigers. Do I need more reason? Okay, they need to do well, to make OU look better!
(10) Maryland over (7) California- Terps. I love it and we still don’t need to give Californians anymore reason to think they are God’s gift.
(2) Memphis over (15) Cal St. Northridge- Elvis, BBQ, blues, and John Grisham novels has it.
Sweet Sixteen: Connecticut, Purdue, Missouri, and Memphis
Elite Eight: Connecticut and Memphis
Final Four: Memphis- Long live the King.
(1) Pittsburgh over (16) East Tenn. St.- Pittsburgh is on a high from the Superbowl and I like saying Pitt.
(8) OSU over (9) Tennessee- Oklahoma St. is OU’s lil’ brother and while we like to beat them up, we still root them on, plus Aaron is a cowboys fan.
(12) Wisconsin over (5) Florida St.- I love cheese. Also, I hate anything Floridian still (see earlier SEC rant) and since Florida seems to be mysteriously absent from the tournament, Fl. St. will have to take the heat.
(4) Xavier over (13) Portland St.- Xavier can be found stamped on every butt cheek of a childhood favorite, the Cabbage Patch Doll. That love flowed over to the team when I grew up.
2nd Rd. (8) OSU over (1) Pittsburgh- The cowboys have been on a hot streak, and plus Aaron has been my hero while I have been on bedrest, so Go Pokes!
(11) VCU over (6) UCLA- VCU has a “home field” advantage, can claim OU coach Jeff Capel, and do I really need to bring up California again?
(3) Villanova over (14) American- Champagne SuperNOVA! Villanova is awesome, not that I don’t love Americans.
(10) Minnesota over (7) Texas- My love of the Big 12 ian’t big enough to overcome my disdain for Texas. Plus Minnesota is now home to Adrian Peterson or AD and he is the best!
(2) Duke over (15) Binghamton- Duke does have some winning history. Plus, what is up with Binghamton’s name? Are they a cherry, a ham, or a vacation hotspot?
Sweet Sixteen: OSU, Xavier, Villanova, and Duke
Elite Eight: Xavier and Villanova
Final Four: Xavier- I love my cabbage patch dolls!
(1) North Carolina over (16) Radford- And, from North Carolina….#23….Need I say more?
(8) LSU (9) Butler- LSU tigers. They’rrre GRRReeAATT!
(5) Illinois over (12) Western KY- Illinois has had a good year, and the President may be rooting for them!
(4) Gonzaga over (13) Akron- Zags. Gotta love em, well, I do.
(11) Temple over (6) Arizona St.- Holy Ground? Probably not, but no one from Arizona has won much lately!
(3) Syracuse over (14) Stephen F. Austin- While they may need to recover after the exhertion of 6 OT”S, Syracuse has this in the bag (of oranges!)
(7) Clemson over (10) Michigan- The stripes have it again. Plus, I think my Ohio St. friends would disown me if I chose Michigan.
(2) Oklahoma over (15) Morgan St.- Boomer Sooner! And what is this? A girl’s school? Really?
Sweet Sixteen: N. Carolina, Illinois, Syracuse, OU
Elite Eight: Illinois and OU
Final Four: OU
Louisville vs. OU in the finals: While my blood bleeds crimson and cream, my heart has not healed from the loss in January and I only have so much blood to give. Reason #4 for Louisville: How sweet would it be for Louisville to win, so close to Kentucky and the SEC, without the tradition, but what sweet revenge. Well, sort-of, either way, I win!!!!