Somehow someway the owners of this lamb and the goat that screams like a man need to meet up and let these two animals live in bizarre harmony. Because I hope to one day live in a world where that goat is screaming at this lamb as it CLOMP CLOMP CLOMPS by.
Anyhow selection Sunday was yesterday and the way this lamb is running from room to room is essentially what I will look like as I run from TV to TV Thursday-Sunday. The only difference is that I will have a laptop in my hands and chicken wings stuck to my cheek. But that could be a Tuesday in June at my apartment. So everyday this week I am going to break down a region and let you know where to put your money come Thursday morning. Now I realize there are four regions and only three days to do this, so I one of these days I will have to do two, or three? I don't know I'm not a math major. So without further adieu I bring to you the Midwest region.
#1 Kansas vs. #16 Lehigh: Kansas is not only the #1 seed in this bracket but overall. And while I hope to one day see a #16 seed beat a #1 (I wish for this like some wish for world peace apparently), it will not be in this matchup.
#8 UNLV vs #9 Northern Iowa: Ahhhh the ol' 8 vs. 9. Toughest game to pick, and basically a toss up. Bottom line is there is nothing to do in Iowa. All they think about is basketball. Meanwhile UNLV is the mecca of gambling and partying. You tell me who will be more focused come Thursday. It's science. Northern Iowa in a mild upset.
#5 Michigan St. vs #12 New Mexico St: Every year there is a #12 that beats a #5. But those that follow the Big Ten know not to bet against Izzo in the tourney. Michigan St is the pick.
#4 Maryland vs #13 Houston: The Izzo logic also applies to Gary Williams at Maryland. And while it's hard to pass up taking the Houston Cougars (cue Will Ferrell from Old School; Let's go Cougars!), I'm taking the Terrapins.
#6 Tennessee vs #11 San Diego St: Even when he was at UWM Bruce Pearl proved he can flat out coach a team deep in the tournament. So on that alone Tennessee will cruise past San Diego St. Which of course in German means a whale's....well...nevermind.
#3 Georgetown vs. #14 Ohio: I had to google 'Ohio University' just to find out their nickname. I ended up with an entire page of Ohio State propoganda. So naturally I just gave up. Georgetown in a landslide.
#7 Oklahoma St. vs. #10 Georgia Tech: For whatever reason every year I always pick an Oklahoma team to go far in the tourney. University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State. Oklahoma Sisters of the Poor. Whatever. I don't know why I do it I just do. Like breathing. So lucky for Oklahoma St. there is no other Oklahoma team this year. Oklahoma St. over the Yellow Jackets.
#2 Ohio St. vs. #15 UC Santa Barbara: This is a tough time of year in college sports. Because I am a Big Ten guy through and through. And you always want the conference of your primary team (in this case Wisconsin) to do well. But that means rooting for your team's sworn enemies. In this case the Buckeyes. Those are the rules. I don't make them, and I don't like them sometimes, but they hold society together. And while UC Santa Barbara bar none wins the best nickname in the tournament (say Go Gauchos! just once and try not to smile), I'm going Ohio State.
So there's the Midwest. And instead of telling you how the rest of the bracket will break down, I'll wait for Monday when I can go back, explain how the team I picked got screwed and lost and then re-pick the rest of the tourney. March Madness 101. Bonus word: madness.