March 19th, 2016


The one (and only) thing I know about college basketball

I grant you that the following blathering would have counted for more if I’d said it on Thursday or Friday, but I never got around to it until now.

I filled out five NCAA men’s basketball brackets this week, mostly because I’d taken part in various pools last year, or the year before, and got reminders to keep participating this year. It’s not as though I know anything about college basketball (with one exception, for which, keep reading), but I fill out a bracket or two (or five) anyway out of misguided curiosity to see how long I can go before all my Final Four picks are knocked out.

I said there was one exception to my “not knowing anything” about college basketball rule — and that is “Don’t Pick Pittsburgh”. I used to pick Pittsburgh to advance, sometimes even to make the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (one year they did, but I picked them to make the Final Four, since they’d gone in as a #1 seed). I don’t know why. On some odd level, I guess I thought they were good. They’re certainly better than either of my almas mater, Virginia Tech​ and the University of Georgia​, but in any event, without fail, Pittsburgh would always get knocked out in depressing fashion just in time to wreck what was left of my bracket.

So this year, as I hopelessly clicked random teams in hopes of dumb luck winning out for once, I kept repeating one mantra: “Don’t pick Pittsburgh. Never pick Pittsburgh. Don’t pick Pittsburgh. Never pick Pittsburgh.” Over and over.

I was fairly sure that by not picking them I was all but ensuring that they’d win the whole damn thing, but for once, Fate smiled on me. They got knocked out by Wisky in the first round.

So I do know one thing about college basketball. Never pick Pittsburgh, my friends, and you’ll avoid complete immersion in the Slough of Despond.