Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Tie Does Not Lie

Not too many people in this country can say a United States Senator has recognized their proficiency in selecting winners in a March Madness pool. But I can. In fact, I have it in writing and own a nice U.S. Senate tie as a tribute to said predictive abilities. I would like to give a shout out to Baltimore's own Carmelo Anthony, whose dominant presence in that year's tournament became the proximate cause of this honored addition to my collection of neckwear.

I am a particularly busy man these days, so this week's column is light on Maryland news. The NIT is a strange beast, and as of this writing, we still don't know who Maryland's next opponent will be (one of SW Missouri State or Davidson College). This being the case, as a service to you, I give you my Elite Eight. (Senate tie, don't fail me now!)

Starting in Chicago, Boston College will face Arizona. That's right, Illinois, the nation's number one team is going out early. This pick may be tough for some to fathom, but after living in Illinois for the last two years, I base this pick entirely upon the psyche of graduates and recent attendees of U of I. The state that gave you the Chicago Cubs ("Wait 'til next year!") also gives you the majority of the student body of this school. Not one Illinois-affiliated individual I spoke with can believe the hype and success surrounding the school, and everyone is awaiting their collapse. The pressure cannot be higher on these kids, and I think the collective disbelief of the fans on team and the newness of the scale of success they have enjoyed this season will eventually lead to their downfall at the hands of Boston College. BC is a tough opponent that will come into that game as the underdog and enjoy the benefits that come with the lack of pressure. Expect the huge upset. AZ beats OK St. because Lute Olson is a winner and Kelvin Sampson always seems to fall short.

In Albuquerque, the Yellow Jackets will face the Demon Deacons again. GTech is a veteran team that has been here, done that. Coming up just short last season will play in their favor as they face a Washington team that has exceeded all expectations and gained a surprising #1 seed in this tournament. True, the Wreck spent much of this season descending towards the bubble from their lofty preseason ranking, but they have the experience and the talent to take this one. Wake will beat Gonzaga handily. As a graduate of St. John's College High School in Washington, DC, I always pick against Gonzaga because they share a name with our WCAC rival, the Purple Eagles of Gonzaga College High School (the type of school that produces future Duke students). Don't question my logic, this kind of thinking is supported by solid proof in the form of the Senate tie.

Syracuse will see a match-up between Kansas and UNC. UNC may play a tough opponent in the red-hot Florida Gators, but I have them picked to win it all, and they can only do so if they make it to the Elite Eight. UNC has the lions-share of the talent in this tournament, and we have seen it over and over on display in the ACC. The UConn/Kansas game is a coin-flip. Two great programs, including the defending champs, square off in an early marquee matchup in the Sweet 16. Kansas has had its stumbles this season, but UConn lost key players from last year's team. Give the Huskies another year and they'll be right back in the Final Four.

Finally, in Austin, the dark horse Michigan State Spartans (22-6) will take on the Kentucky Wildcats in a bid to travel to St. Louis. Tom Izzo's squad has lost a single game to a team not in this tournament field (at Indiana, 78-74). The Spartans will beat the ACC Champion Duke Blue Devils, a team that, though playing outstanding ball today, will find that JJ Redick can't win every game for it, especially in a field as talented as it finds in this tournament. Plus, I don't care to see Duke succeed. Kentucky will take Oklahoma in a close game, and move on to face the Spartans. Tubby's Wildcats will send OK to another disappointing early exit.

So says the tie, so it is written.


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