Small Arms McGee’s Tournament Predictions

As I said in my Selection Sunday Reaction post, Ohio State didn’t get much of a reward for being the best team all season. Kentucky is certainly better than a 4-seed, and Syracuse is battle-tested. I have Syracuse beating Carolina, who won’t be able to shoot well enough to exploit that zone. I think John Calipari has plenty of ammunition to work his “they don’t respect us” angle that worked so well at Memphis, and will knock off Ohio State early. Syracuse beats Kentucky to advance to Houston.

I had been mentally preparing myself for Duke to be set up with another weak bracket, disguised by playing out west. I was right that they’d get San Diego State, but wrong that their bracket would be weak. If Texas can get out of its own way in the first two games, they could be a challenge for Duke. And if UConn gets there, Nolan vs. Kemba would be fit for pay-per-view. I have K finally getting some revenge against Calhoun for 1999 and 2004, and getting the Lubed Evils back to the Final Four. If Duke gets there, people like me won’t be able to say they got a cakewalk this time.

The committee doesn’t set up made-for-TV moments huh? Right.  We all look forward to Bill Self vs. Illinois in the second round (assuming Kansas finally exorcises its “first-round opponent that start with B” demons).  I have Kansas beating Louisville to get to the Elite Eight and Purdue slipping by Notre Dame. (As an aside, I have a rule these days that requires me to never trust Vanderbilt or Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament. If my predicting ability in the past is any guide, you’ll see Vandy and Notre Dame square off in the Elite Eight.) Anyway, Kansas skates by Purdue relatively easily to get to the Final Four.

The committee thought they had put together a bracket even Pitt couldn’t screw up.  Clearly, they underestimate Pitt’s abilities to avoid the Final Four. This region is the home to my biggest upsets – which are relatively few and far between in my bracket this season. I have Belmont beating defense-averse Wisconsin, then beating Utah State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where Pitt finishes them off. On the other side I have Florida taking out BYU. (Upset alert: Gonzaga upsets a dinged-up St. John’s team before falling to the Stormin’ Mormons.) Florida edges Pitt to reach its first Final Four since 2007, and more importantly, denying Pitt its first Final Four since the FDR administration.

Final Four
Duke hits its threes and beats Syracuse.  Kansas races past Florida.  Kansas’ frontcourt proves too much for the Plumlees in an intriguing matchup between Coach Hair Dye and  Coach Toupee.  Kansas is your 2011 national champion, and Carolina fans won’t give a shit about Roy Williams wearing a Jayhawk sticker this time.

Enjoy the tournament.  And remember:  never, under any circumstances, pick an ACC team not named Duke or UNC to advance past the second round.


Sports Czar Update: October 19

My fellow Americans, as I reported to you last month, I have been selected by President Obama to serve as our nation’s first Sports Czar. I wanted to take a few moments to give you a brief update on the progress I have made since accepting the position.

Near the end of September, I moved into my new office and operations command center, complete with 4 HD flat-screens that help me keep a finger on the pulse of Sports at all times. During my first day on the job, I began to put together a more formal agenda for the changes and enhancements I seek to make in the world of Sports. Then came the first Town Hall meetings. So far we’ve held two.

The first meeting was in Cleveland, where we met with several hundred distraught citizens. My team of support specialists talked to these poor souls for nearly six hours. Were they concerned about high employment, deplorable weather, and overall municipal stench? No. The two “kitchen table” issues for Clevelanders were Indians GM Mark Shapiro and the then-still-interesting Browns quarterback controversy.

Ronald Montgomery of Strongsville, Ohio said “Look, when you haven’t worked since 2007 and you’re in foreclosure, you need your sports teams to pull you through it. We have the [expletive] Indians and Browns. Tell me again what reason I have to live?”

When one of our interns mentioned “LeBron James”, Mr. Montgomery briefly smiled, then frowned and sunk into his chair again. “He’ll be gone in a year. Then what?” We had no answer.

It became immediately obvious to me that this job is going to be more challenging than I ever imagined. But I’m committed to this cause, and I will see it through to the very end.

After we assisted Mr. Montgomery with his suicide, we traveled to South Bend, Indiana for our next event.

In South Bend, the citizens were perhaps more affluent, but no less weathered by their local Sports environment. Elaine Trotter is a retired librarian we met at our Town Hall meeting. Ms. Trotter told us that if “Charlie Weis and his FUPA can’t get us to a BCS game this year, we’re going to need Federal assistance.” We explained to Ms. Trotter that Federal bailout money is not yet expected to be a part of this program. Her response? “Go [expletive] yourself, then.” She then proceeded to help herself to our coffee and doughnuts.

We have upcoming Town Hall forums scheduled in Oakland, Champaign, St. Barts, and Tallahassee. We hope you will come out and support our efforts. Your volunteerism is encouraged, and your donations are appreciated. After all, the fanhood you save might be your own.

I’d like to close this update with an excerpt from a letter I received from a man named Milton Stuckey. Mr. Stuckey is a huge college football fan, and his letter shows us why my position is so important to the survival of Sport in our fine nation. He writes:

“I am so happy that President Obama has appointed a Sports Czar. This is the kind of forward thinking this country has been lacking for decades, and I hope you will do great things. The first thing you need to work on is the BCS. How we can call ourselves the world’s lone super power while utilizing an archaic, quasi-Fascist championship selection process is beyond me. If you and Obama can get us a college football playoff, I guarantee a landslide election in 2012 that would make Reagan-Mondale look like Super Bowl XXV. Please get this done. The futures of our children depend on the work you are doing. God bless you all.”

We won’t let you down, Milton.  We are finally one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Yours truly,

S.A. McGee

Special Envoy for the Refocus and Restoration of American Sporting Supremacy (SERRASS)