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Sports & Fitness // Hot Air
Steve Murray

Bracket Stuffing A Madness Cure

If this is truly one of the great segments of the sporting calendar, why is everyone in such a foul mood? In fewer than 10 days, the confident and cocky swagger of bracketology brilliance has been replaced with the realization that far too many teams simply weren’t properly prepared for the task ahead.

Whose fault is it? The coaches? Players? The sequester? Well, obviously that’s part of the reason. Who could concentrate knowing White House tours have been sequestered? It may be time to call in FEMA.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not this year.

I heard the pundits. I watched SportsCenter. And while I readily admit to having no clue what a Hoya is, or that I couldn’t pick one out of a police lineup that included Lindsey Lohan and the cast of the Blue Man Group, it wasn’t supposed to be this bad. Surely it can’t be this hard to pick 32 winners from a group of teams, most of which I have never seen play.

Fortunately, I did fill out enough brackets to cover any sudden tectonic shift in competition, and to have at the ready the most accomplished list should my expertise be criticized.

I know Indiana is good. I know this because I’ve been told this to be true. And who would lie about something like that? At least I think I know Indiana is good. After all, it is in the Big Ten, the Big Ten is the best conference in basketball, and the Hoosiers won the regular season title. Therefore, Indiana is the best team in basketball.

Sure, they got spanked by Wisconsin, who got beat by Ohio State by a half-time score in the conference tournament. But that was just an aberration, which was quickly fixed with yet another bracket placing the Badgers in the final four.

My mascot challenge bracket has Duke winning the whole thing. It makes sense. Satan is a powerful adversary, even if this version is blue and not the prerequisite red. Miami, powered by 100-plus mph winds, also got into the final, but with questions.

Couldn’t a Bulldog, a Golden Eagle or a Wildcat simply ride out the storm indoors? They may lack opposable thumbs to operate most entryways, but wouldn’t a Hoosier, Patriot or Minuteman lend a helping hand?

Notre Dame makes the mascot bracket final four. Surprising, considering the path littered with angry wild animals and the ever-dangerous Fighting Chestnuts of Ohio State? Evidently you haven’t spent time with a horde of drunk and angry Irishmen or haven’t gotten through a single episode of Rescue Me. The lad culture is real and dangerous. The rest of the NCAA should take notice.

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