[Editor's note: people, the Editor-in-Chief of this blog loves basketball, higher education, community, competition, and when they all slam together in a mess of cheers, tears, body-paint, over-achievement, and ridiculously awesome excitingly uncontrollable hyperboles. Exclamation point! Over the next three weeks, John and his American-import-possibly-mustached-BFF, Alex Grant, will engage in witticisms and precarious predictions pertaining to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. As players, teams, schools, regions, bank accounts, pundits, pride, and - yes - nations collide, you will get a true sense of what the March Madness community really means. Enjoy!]
akeg / flickr - Alex and John took things too far...
LET’S RE-CAP THE MADNESS | Round 1
JOHN: Well, it was a record-tying weekend. Only once before have teams seeded 11-15 done so well. In fact, two 15-seeds (Norfolk State and Lehigh) upset their second-seeded opponents (Duke and Missouri). And there was much rejoicing by the communities of those former two schools. Well done, fightin’ sports teams! And “go college!”
As for this little pool, well, my bracket isn’t broken, but it’s not not broken, either. While only one of my final four teams have fallen, I suffered a lot of damage within my “interior bracket” – this may or may not have been a word that I just made up (patent-pending, John Horn 2012). Vanderbilt going down to the stifling defense and sweet shooting of Wisconsin hurt, yes, but I still have my dealbreaker, Kansas, in the mix and they demonstrated nerves of steel and wily cunning as they ousted Alex’s beloved Purdue on Sunday (I heaved a great sigh of relief when they did, too).
Wow. Brady Heslip is a fairly unassuming fellow. At least he was fairly unassuming until going 7/10 from three point range and almost single-handidly making Buffalos extinct in the state of Colorado. Now he’s King of Baylor and Burlington, Ontario.
Finally, congratulations to the state of Ohio. Your teams went 8-0 last weekend and that’s pretty darn great.
eliduke / flickr
ALEX: [Editor's note: as of press time, Alex Grant's 4,000 words were not filed - we can only assume that he is managing at least 453 social media channels through one integrated dashboard or making prank phone calls to Brady Heslip every five minutes and this is why he missed the deadline. Alex, next time just use Robocalls!]
LET’S MAKE BOLD PREDICTIONS
ALEX: [Editor's note: see above above].
Alex's Picks - injured bracket
JOHN: I predict that Marquette will go down in the kind of flames that are typically reserved for metaphorical descriptions of what Donald Trump’s political career goes down in. Zing! My main man Evan “The Heavy” Ferris – somehow - predicted that Florida would make it, I think, to the Final Four. Well, I don’t think they’re going that far, but they’re going to take down Marquette in the Sweet 16. Well played, Ev.
John's Picks - injured bracket
The time has come for the number ones, too. And I also predict that Wisconsin is going to beat Syracuse and, here’s the big one, that Baylor is going to dispatch Kentucky. Here’s my Final Four:
- Michigan State
Wisconsin Ohio State Cincinnati Ohio State
danny wild / flickr
LET’S SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT EACH OTHER
JOHN: Over the past couple of days I’ve been saying things like “three of my four teams are still in it” and “I’m doing waaaaaaayyyy better in my other bracket” – one of these statements is true. Do you know what else is true? Here’s a truism: Alex Grant is a gentleman and a scholar who not only throws great parties, but who also counts cooking, style and immaculate facial hair construction among his world-changing professional toolkit. You are a god amongst men and, well, you have three teams left in this game as well. Good luck, good sir!
Robin, well played. You clearly have the best strategy. None of my grand pappies went to college, though, so it was hard to pick the closest thing to a fishing boat off the coast of Newfoundland. Wait…was that Ulysses guy from thousands of years ago an Athenian or a Spartan? Because I think he was my great x 20 uncle.
And Michelle, well, you invested a bit too heavily in Duke stock this year.
ALEX: [Editor's note: I like to think that, at this time, Alex would celebrate his special lady's accomplishment as well as commend John for doing his best Alex Grant impression and/or hypothesizing where Alex might be right now ... prank calling Brady Heslip].
MICHELLE & ROBIN WILL PROBABLY WIN
acaben / flickr
MICHELLE: Well, this is unpredictable fun. You never know what’s gonna happen. Take Duke, for example. Who could’ve seen that coming? [Editor's note: John saw it coming]. I hope that there’s not another upset like that. Go UNC!
In conclusion, I hate March Madness and am sad that my bracket is broken. I don’t understand how my logical and data-driven selection criteria failed me. Needless to say, this – more than anything else, ever – has me re-thinking the very principles of what I call “community”.
Michelle's Picks - broken bracket
ROBIN: [Editor's note: this is the very hilarious transcript of a conversation between Robin and John very early this morning. Oh, and she's winning our pool]:
Robin: Hi John. This is the first I’ve heard about a second post from me. I’m pretty busy at work today, and I don’t think I’ll have time to jot anything down. I’m so sorry for whatever part I played in dropping the ball here (haha?) Please let me know how you would like me to proceed. Thanks. Robin.
John: Do you have your bracket all marked up? Because I can just post it. And no worries, I’ll take care of the words!
Robin: I don’t….I don’t even know where my bracket is. And I haven’t been paying attention so I don ‘t even know how I’m doing! That’s my whole MO with this march madness thing. I can try to recreate it when i get home tonight. Let me know if you want me to do that.
[Editor's note: this is pretty great, right?]
Robin's Picks - winning