March Madness 07 predictions

There were some great games over the past 4 days in the NCAA Tournament. Lots of clutch performances, down-to-the-wire games, and bad officiating. All in all it made for riveting TV.

When the brackets were announced 8 days ago I was asked by Burnside to give my predictions for the Sweet Sixteen of the tourney. I had to put them together in a few days, and today they are posted over at BWC as a part of a multi-contributor piece on Final Four Prognositcations.

If you’re feeling too lazy to go over there and check it out, I’ll repost them here as well

Year after year I scribble the names of our country’s finest universities on a symmetrical collection of right angles in hopes of channeling Nostradamus or Pat Robertson.

Year after year, I fail.

This year I decided to seek out help. After much soul searching (and channel surfing), I decided to go to the only man who could help me in a situation like this. A man who I respect as much as my pastor, love as much as my favorite t-shirt, and fear as much as being audited.

I went to Jack Bauer.

He was a bit preoccupied with saving the world to sit down and help me solve the 5 versus 12 puzzle, so I just followed him around for a day hoping to glean some solid “intel” from him while he made frantic phone calls and tortured his relatives. Here’s how it went down:

09:30 – We’re headed South on the 415, following an unmarked Cadillac. Jack is on the phone with CTU, and apparently they want him to end his pursuit and come back in. Jack’s having none of it, screaming about how he hasn’t volunteered for this mission, how it’s his job to uphold the law, to protect the people. Suddenly it hits me. He’s not just talking to his boss, he’s talking to me. He’s dropping clues about the tournament. I glance down at the South Region of my bracket and it all makes sense. I write in the Tennessee VOLUNTEERS over Ohio St. and Acie LAW IV’s Texas A&M team over Memphis. Since no one is above the Law, I’ll take the Aggies to advance to the Final Four.

10:13am – Jack’s daughter just called and said she is out in the woods stuck in a cougar trap again. What are the odds of that happening twice to the same person? Jack dispatches half of CTU’s resources to go rescue her.

11:32am – We’re running full speed from men who are trying to kill us, covered in the blood of slain terrorists, but all I can think about is the Midwest region. I have Florida, Wisconsin, and Maryland advancing to the Sweet 16 from this bracket. I ask Jack who my fourth team should be as gunshots ring out from behind us. “DUCK!” he yells. “Good choice, but no need to yell,” I say as I pencil in the Oregon Ducks to face Wisconsin. When I stand up to ask him if Oregon can beat Wisconsin, he screams, “I said DUCK!” A bit unnerved, I write in Oregon to move on and face Maryland in the Elite Eight. Not wanting Jack to scold me again, I decide to end Oregon’s run in the tournament and send Maryland to the Final Four.

11:59am – Why is it that every time I look down at my watch to see what time it is, there’s this loud echoing clock noise reverberating in my ears?

12:10am – Jack and I just met with President Wayne Palmer. I was completely unimpressed. 120,000 members in the screen actor’s guild and this is the best we can do? Thankfully, electing a president works out better in real life. Based on Palmer’s completely uninspiring presence, I immediately mark George Washington down for a first-round loss in their East Regional game. Moving on to the Sweet Sixteen from this bracket I have North Carolina, Texas, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown. As I waffle back and forth on whom to bring to the Final Four from this bunch, Jack breaks the nose of a Secret Service worker who was reaching into his pants pocket for an altoid. Wait a second. Didn’t UNC’s center Tyler Hansbrough just suffer a broken nose in a game? I’m sure it’s a sign from Jack. The Tar Heels will beat Georgetown to advance to the Final Four.

2:45pm – I just realized why you never see Jack Bauer go to the bathroom on TV. He just goes in his pants. It’s disgusting.

3:11pm – Jack takes me to the Region West Shopping Mall where terrorists have gunned down a handful of civilians. As we walk by the chalk outlines of the innocent victims, I realize why he’s brought me here. He wants me to take the favorites, or “go with the chalk” as they say, in the West Region. I pencil in Kansas to beat Southern Illinois and UCLA to beat Pittsburgh in the Sweet Sixteen games. I’m about to write Kansas down as my Final Four team when Jack takes off running. Racing to catch him, I ask him where he’s going. His answer, “to save Los Angeles”, clearly has a double meaning. He wants UCLA in the Final Four. Fearing some intense torture if I don’t comply, I write UCLA in as my last Final Four team. I’ve got what I came here for. Time to go home.

Epilogue – Jack Bauer helped me decide my Final Four, but I knew I had to pick the last 3 games on my own. As I thought about what I had learned with Jack, the choices became clear. I saw Jack do things today that a man could get consecutive life terms for. The law can take you far, but sometimes you have to move past it to get things done. For that reason I have North Carolina beating Acie Law and his Texas A&M squad to move on to the Finals.

Unfortunately for the Tarheels, that’s as far as I’ll have them advance. If I learned only one thing with Jack today, it’s that everything he does is in the best interest of the people of Los Angeles. My bracket shall be no different. UCLA will beat North Carolina to claim the National Title. I hope CTU can download the game to his phone so he can watch it from his holding cell at the Russian Consulate.

Now I just have to figure out how to get these blood stains off of my bracket sheet.

Incidentally, I’m in 3rd place right now in my work bracket pool…never won one of those things. I’m also beating Erica, which is good since we have a little side bet going that i’ll divulge later on.

How are you doing in your bracket?