Sniff....sniff....I promised myself I wouldn't get emotional this early in the morning. How time flies huh? 10 years ago Dick Bennett and the Badgers made an improbable run to the final four before getting beat by (through gritted teeth) Michigan...State. Not that Badger fans are still bitter about that loss. Go ahead. Say the name Mateen Cleaves in downtown Madison and see what happens. It's damn near an extreme sport. Anyhow I can't believe I even found this video. Was youtube even invented in 2000? Did Mark Vershaw upload this on a 56k dial up? Whatever it was it brought back some good memories about what makes the NCAA tournament the best thing in all of sports. Random teams that put it all together at the right time and play good defense can make a legit run at a title. Honestly the average final score of Badger tournament games during that run was 37-34. And that was during an offensive explosion. So here are my final first round picks for the East and South region, as well as my final four and champion. Get prepared to dominate participate in your office pool.
We're going to burn through these quicker, mainly because it's St. Patty's day and the longer I spend on this the less time I have to drink.
Kentucky over East Tennesse St.
Texas over Wake Forest
Temple over Cornell (even though the Andy Bernard factor almost made me pick the upset for all the Office fans out there)
Wisco over Wofford
Marquette over Washington (Marquette and Wisconsin could be 16 seeds and I would pick them to win in the first round. I=homer.)
New Mexico over Montana in the battle of two states that barely qualify as states.
Clemson over Missouri
West Virginia over Morgan St.
Duke over Arkansas Pine Bluff. If Duke loses to a street sign they get annexed.
Louisville over California. Along the same lines of Tom Izzo and Gary Williams there are just coaches that know how to win tournament games. And Rick Pitino is another one. He also apparently knows how to pay women hush money after he impregnates them in coffee shop bathrooms. But as far as I know there's no tournament for that.....yet.
Texas A&M over Utah St.
And my first real upset, #13 Siena over #4 Purdue. I know I'm one of about 432342 people picking this upset. Purdue's best player is hurt and out for the year. Siena scores at will on offense. This is going to be the high seed to not only win round 1, but also make the sweet 16 where they are going to push Duke as well. Whoa. That escalated quickly, from one upset to winning the tournament and the World Cup all in the same sentence.
Notre Dame over Old Dominion. This one is a toss up to me. Notre Dame barely got in the tournament and is a 6 seed? So I do what most tournament experts do in a toss up situation. Pick based on mascot. Notre Dame has a drunken Irish fighter who specializes in 30's style boxing. Old Dominion is a happy go lucky lion with a crown. Drunken Irishman trumps lion. And really drunken Irishman trumps ______.
Baylor over Sam Houston
St. Mary's over Richmond in a #10 over #7 upset.
Villanova over Robert Morris.
Kansas makes it out of the Midwest. Kansas St. out of the West. I ran out of Kansas teams so Villanova out of the South. And...drumroll....Bucky Badger out of the East! 10 years later the Badgers will make a return trip to the final four. And for once I don't feel like JUST a homer, I feel like they have a legit shot. Final game: Kansas State over Villanova. Book it. Or with more appropriate punctuation. 'book it?' Bonus word: green. As in it's time for a green beer or 19 after all my hard tournament work!