By George Ofman-
(WBBM) I love the NCAA Tournament. Who doesn’t? Three weeks of insane excitement. 68 teams reduced to 1. Win and you advance. Lose and you’re done.
It’s breathtaking and heartbreaking and sometimes all in one game. Nothing beats a buzzer beater or an unlikely low seed stunning a high one. It’s simply fabulous theater. Everyone pays attention to the Tournament.
And that’s the problem. People who never saw a single minute of a single game fill out a bracket sheet even if they use darts, consult a tarot card reader or go with school colors. I hate these people because sometimes, they win! “Hey, did you hear Sally won the pool? She picked the final four, too. Amazing! She isn’t even a sports fan.”
I hate Sally and the rest of you who don’t study and try to make a real effort to win. Take me, for example. I studied all the teams in last year’s tournament and finished last. Not very proud of it but at least I saw games and studied. Cost me $20, too. But I’ve won a pool, finished tied for another and finished third. And when Indiana made the championship game in 2002, the pool was mine had the Hoosiers won. They didn’t and I finished fifth.
Let’s just have pools for sports fans and pools for the uninitiated. Why should I have to compete with Rex who is a computer nerd, likes comic books, watches National Geographic and enjoys slushies with carrots? If guys like you win the pool, I want my money back.
Let’s set up guidelines. Novices who know nothing get into one pool, the rest of us in another. Kind of like: you guys who want to steal my money are in the NIT. The rest of us bet the Big Dance. Every newspaper and internet site should have prerequisites. Print two bracket sheets and make sure everyone who wants to enter answer key questions in order to enter big boy’s pool. For example: What year did Al McGuire win his only national championship and what did he do after that? How many consecutive titles did John Wooden win? What is John Wooden’s nickname? (These aren’t even hard!) Where did the first NCAA Championship game take place? Who made the winning shot in North Carolina State’s championship victory in 1983? What school is the lowest seed to win the tournament? And please, no cheating!
What’s wrong with that?
Of course, some of these know-nothings have sports geeks fill out their brackets. This is even worse. They get to spread their feathers telling people how they lead the tournament even though they don’t know the difference between Duke and Belmont. They think the former is royalty and the latter, a street.
Go away. Watch a soap opera, Dancing With The Stars or walk your pet hamster. Please don’t enter my pool. Jump in your own.
By the way, here are the answers to the questions:
What years did Al McGuire win his only national championship and what did he do after that? — 1977 and then he retired.
How many consecutive titles did John Wooden win? — Eight.
What is John Wooden’s nickname? — “The Wizard of Westwood.”
Where did the first NCAA Championship game take place? — Patten Gym in Evanston, Ill.
Who made the winning shot in North Carolina State’s championship victory in 1983? — Lorenzo Charles.
What’s the lowest seed to win the tournament? — Villanova in 1985. It was an 8th seed.
George Ofman is a sports anchor and reporter for WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9FM. Look for him on Facebook and find him on Twitter at @georgeofman.