From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
Last week in the Lebodome (a.k.a. Scott Leibowitz) you learned all about how to fill out your 2013 NCAA March Madness tournament bracket. In his admirable quest to finish ahead of President Obama, he provided you with five things to remember when making your predictions for the NCAA Tournament. Well I took those five things into account, and with all due respect to Scott, it didn’t get me anywhere!
What Scott Told Me
First he told me not to over think my picks by choosing the big upset. My first rational thought was to pick Georgetown (more on this later), and in doing so I missed out on the joy ride that is Florida Gulf Coast! Not only did they become the first number 15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16, but they’ve also become the darlings of the tournament with their awe-inspiring alley oops and their frequent dance parties.
Scott also mentioned the importance of seeding. The higher seeds have done relatively well to this point, except in the West region of the bracket where the 9th-seeded Wichita State Shockers knocked out top ranked Gonzaga and will face off against the 12th seeded Explorers of La Salle. Nothing but red lines through my incorrect picks on that side of the bracket.
Moving on, I agreed with the idea that history isn’t important, and picked Georgetown (DC pride!) to win the championship this year. Doing so meant ignoring the fact that Georgetown was knocked out of the tournament by a double-digit seed four out of the last five years. Make it five out of six. That’s right, my bracket was eliminated from contention before the first round was over. Thanks, again, Florida Gulf Coast University.
Scott hit the nail on the head when he said “It really doesn’t matter.” He’s right. Just because my bracket would have been better if I had simply flipped a coin for each pick doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the rest of the tournament. Scott concluded his advice by saying, “Worst case you finish last and no one remembers it in a week.”
Wash Down Your Sorrows
Well I did finish last, and to help ensure I don’t remember it I’m going to spend the Sweet 16 enjoying food and drink specials at some of these Borderstan bars.
- Public Bar: 1214-B 18th Street NW, $3 Miller Lites and Yuenglings, $5 Stoli/Redbull.
- Lucky Bar: 1221 Connecticut Avenue NW, $3.50 Bud Light pints, $14 Bud Light pitchers, $4 Yuengling pints, $15 Yuengling pitchers.
- Buffalo Billiards: 1330 19th Street NW, $3.50 Miller Lites, $3.50 Coors Lites, $15 Buckets, $4 Redd’s Apple Ale
- The Gryphon: 1337 Connecticut Avenue NW, $5 Captain Morgan Cocktails & The Black and Stormy, among other specials.
- The Front Page: 1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW, $3 Miller Drafts, $5 Rails, $8 RBVs.
It’s that time of the year again. March tends to be a pretty wild month when you think about it and everyone seems just impatient waiting for the winter to end. From the killing of Julius Caesar to the day everyone becomes Irish, this month is all over the place.
However my favorite maddening tradition this month is, of course, basketball — my NCAA Final Four bracket (aka March Madness).
Every year I go into thinking this is the year I nail all my predictions, and every year I finish very middle of the pack. The odds on a perfect bracket are rough but, frankly, I am just looking to finish better than Obama this year. So to help ya out, Borderstan, here are five easy and simple thoughts to keep in mind when filling out your bracket this week.
Bracketology: Five Things to Remember
- DON’T OVERTHINK: So many errors happen because we all want to predict the big upset. That’s what makes them the big upset, the fact that you didn’t see it coming. Your bracket will do better if you stick with your first rational thought.
- Seeds are there for a reason: The seeding system isn’t just random. Yes some teams get more love than others but when thinking about who will win, read the seed before making a rash decision.
- Where is the game played?: Regions can make a big difference in the middle rounds. I love picking against smaller schools who have to travel long distances or a contender having to play in their nemesis backyard.
- History Isn’t Important: Yes we all know teams like Duke, Kansas, and Indiana. But that doesn’t mean a less-on-the-radar team, like Florida, Louisville, or Gonzaga, can’t make a deep run to the finals.
- It really doesn’t matter: No matter how hard you try, you can’t control anything. Finish your bracket on time and hope for the best. Best case scenario you win of your office/family/friends pool. Worst case you finish last and no one remembers it in a week.
The first game is this Thursday so fill out your brackets soon! Enjoy the Madness, Borderstan!
What Really Grinds My Gears
Did we even just have a real winter? Maybe we need a word for a cold fall that has no snow
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- 50 common misconceptions. Worth watching whole video.
- Carlesberg friend test. I hope mine would pass.
- March Madness, explained through Star Wars.
Oh, March. Easily in my top three months of the year for various reasons. One, there is a day on which we all suddenly become Irish and it’s socially acceptable to drink like a college freshman. Two, my birthday is right in the middle of the month. Three, it marks the end of winter and transition to spring. But one of my favorite things about this month is the madness, the dance and march to the finals. I am of course talking about college basketball’s playoffs in the form of the almighty bracket: March Madness.
I remember my first bracket. I was about 6 or 7 and the internet was still just an Al Gore joke, so to have a bracket you had to cut out the one from the local paper and make copies. Now I seem to have a CBS Sports, Facebook, Yahoo, and ESPN bracket, and because there are so many, it’s tough to have them all congruent. While the medium has changed, the challenge and the glory of winning your bracket pool remains the same. Last year I won my local “DC bro’s” pool, my girlfriend in her first year won my family one; I have been reminded of this often.
Thanks to one of my favorite twitter accounts Darren Rovell, here are some interesting figures:
- The odds of getting a perfect bracket are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1.
- There are 9.2 quintillion combinations in a March Madness bracket. There are 43 quintillion combinations in a Rubik’s Cube.
- Out of the 5.9 million brackets filled out last year on http://ESPN.com, only TWO brackets had the correct Final Four.
Bottom line: There is sometimes no rhyme or reason to teams winning and losing. In the end, anything can happen, except for a #16 team beating a #1, which has actually NEVER happened.
To get ya’ll ready this week, here are some helpful reminders and tips.
Games Start Wednesday Night. So get it done soon. Can’t put this off for the weekend. Even Barack Obama get’s his done in time.
Best Win vs. Worst Loss. You can tell a lot about a team from strength of schedule (RPI) but to get a quick glance, look at their schedule. What was their best win and worst loss? These two games can tell you the character of the team and if they really can go deep. Home losses to bad teams always stick out for me.
This Isn’t Science Class. “Experts” don’t know perfect equations. There is a ton of chance. Can’t decide? Ignore ESPN and go with your gut. You’ll feel better about that than if a commentator leads you astray.
However you do decide, don’t forget it’s just a bunch of college kids playing hoops. If your alma mater is at the dance, good luck (unless its Georgetown, in which lose early). Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy March Madness.
What’s Been Making Me Laugh Recently?
Redskins fans thinking their team is suddenly playoff bound. RGIII is not Peyton, not by a long shot.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- This tumbler speaks volumes on so many day-to-day occurrences.
- It’s a good time to be a bandwagon jumper on the Washington Nationals.
- The opposite for the Wizards. If you ever were on, jump off.
As I was digesting my very tasty Thanksgiving meal watching holiday football (the games were pretty good) I noticed something on the bottom ticker that seemed unfamiliar.
Places and numbers were rolling by with the title NCAAM and it took me a few moments to place it. In the excitement of the NFL season and my disgust in the NBA returning (it will take me at least ’till April to care if Lebron James can win in the 4th Quarter) I somehow forgot about college basketball.
Where I am from, this could be considered treason.
DC College Teams
We in the District are pretty fortunate in that there are lots of colleges around and all fairly easy to get to using mass transit. As a former DC college student, I can tell you first hand that many of these gyms have great atmospheres with very passionate fanbases.
You would think with so many teams in the city, there would be a great “Battle of the Metro,” but thanks to general stupidity and the stubbornness of one major school (Hint: the metro doesn’t go there) there is nothing but a watered down version. What a shame.
That aside, here is a just a short rundown of what we got in the District.
George Washington Colonials, Atlantic 10 Conference
Smith Center, Blue Line-Foggy Bottom Metro Stop. With no football team this is where most GWU students get their “big school athletics” fix and over the years have had some success. Located right near the White House, the small stadium provides a loud and intimate crowd that gives you a great college vibe. New coach this years hopes to rebuild GWU and take them back the NCAA tournament.
University of Maryland Terrapins, Atlantic Coast Conference
Comcast Center, Green Line- College Park Metro Stop. If you are looking for the bigger stadium and the long basketball history, look no further than the Terps. While a bit far away from Borderstan, the trip is worth it as during their season, they play national powerhouses Duke and UNC. Terps are starting to rebuild with a new coach, and are always dangerous come tournament time.
George Mason Patriots, Colonial Athletic Association
Patriot Center, Orange Line-Vienna Metro Stop. I think of this team as the “the little engine that could”. Never the flashiest or the most talented, but the Patriots always play consistent and clean basketball. They stole the spotlight by making a historic run to the Final Four in 2006 and have since remained on the D.C. map. Just a feel good team that you hope to see in the postseason.
Georgetown University Hoyas, Big East Conference
McDonough Arena, Somewhere on campus-Verizon Center, Red Line- Chinatown. Yes this school has a long and great basketball history. Yes this school gets the exclusive right to play in the Verizon Center. Yes lots of famous coaches and players have been Hoyas. Frankly though, this team will only be OK and is not a good reason for me to be in that neighborhood of D.C. (Plenty of other places to get cupcakes). But if you want to watch the best conference in the country and some of the best programs, Gtown is the way to go.
I know I left out American University and some other smaller schools but these are the teams worth watching. So start watching now, take your mental notes, and when March rolls along, you’ll be ready to dominate your office March Madness bracket challenge.
Thought of the Week
If you haven’t seen the new Muppets movie, cancel your weekend plans and do it. No excuses people.