Part 1 – A foolproof Guide to Going 36 – 0

In the past 23 years I’ve never won a Tournament Pool with more than 8 entrants. Which any seasoned gambler will tell you, means one thing: it’s my time. The first few days of the Madness have always been my strength. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever missed a pick in the Thursday/Friday games. Really. Just get me a little drunk and I’ll surely tell you about the time I picked Hampton over Iowa State. I can’t remember many other specifics over the years, but trust me – take this advice and we’ll all wake up on Saturday morning tied for the lead.

The Play-In Games. err… The First Round.

General commentary: How dumb is it that the NCAA expects us to refer to these time-wasters as “The First Round?” Further evidence that our society has devolved into an overly-inclusive bunch of patsies lead by gutless bureaucrats that bow to the pressures of people that would rather be slurped for being not-terrible than held accountable for achieving real success. Every fan, player, coach and bus driver knows that these eight schools should be home watching the tournament, but for some reason we now have to reward their mediocrity.

“You got almost-last. Here’s a green ribbon and a trip to Dayton.”

First Round? Please. Before you know it, we’ll be calling fat kids “husky” and Oklahomans “equals.”

(16)WesternKentuckyvs.(16)MississippiValleyState:

WKU fired their coach in the middle of the season. It worked! They bring a losing record to the dance, which is a phrase that is bound to remind you of someone from your high school prom. I don’t have any direct knowledge of this, but I’d be willing to wager that Mississippi Valley State is the place where the dumbest students from the dumbest states attend college.

“Congrats! You got warehoused for four years of high school and eaked out a 13 on the ACT! Here’s the key to your dorm room; try not to get anyone pregnant.”

Anyway, this game only means one thing for me: a call from my dad telling me the story of how he saw a young Jimmy Buffett at a hole-in-the-wall bar in Owensboro “before he was famous” when my mom was taking some classes there. Oh, and how they “lived by” Dan Issel, which means Pops was probably his coke dealer.

Pick: MVSU

(14)BYUvs.(14)Iona:

Why do I always find myself rooting against white people that purport to live by a moral code and then actually enforce it in their athletes? Because they’re better than me, that’s why. BYU benched their second-best player for admitting to having premarital relations with his girlfriend last year; that’s putting your money where your mouth is. A noble act of character for sure, but I think it was really a conspiracy to get Jimmer a few more shots per game. Iona is a school from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and is nicknamed the Gaels. Love that nickname. They also score. A lot. The same can’t be said for the players on BYU.

Pick: Iona

(16)Vermontvs.(16)Lamar:

I’ll spare you the breakdown and instead let you enjoy this “…rap by little, ole-me: Lamar.”

Pick: Lamar. Duh.

(12) SouthFloridavs.(12)California:

In case you didn’t find my opening salvo of disgust about the ridiculousness of these play-in games to be a compelling contention, I will allow these two crappy high-major teams to present a supporting argument on my behalf Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 9:10pm EST on truTV. Yeah, that’s right. I said truTV. Case Closed. Can we get to Thursday already?

Pick: California

Read Part 2 Here

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