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It is that time of year again. March Madness! Although they should change this title to something with “April” in the title as this thing is starting to drag out farther than the NBA playoffs!.

The Men’s bracket should be interesting this year. There has been a lot of debate about how evenly balanced this field is, how really it is the shortest list of deserving teams that did not get in…i.e. this is one of the weaker tournaments in recent memory. The talking heads on television and radio love the week leading up to the tourney as sports talk is spirited and millions of people hang on every word making deep analytical decisions when filling out one of their fourteen office pool brackets.

Most of us delve through the websites, watch the seemingly round the clock ESPN Bracketology specials to pick our upsets. One of the #3 seeds always seems to get beaten. The #12 seed wins 34% of the first round games recently. The TV guys love all this talk. Bob Ryan on ESPN’s Around the Horn commented yesterday that eleven teams could take down the Jayhawks in their side of the bracket.

C’mon Bob … really … eleven? You had me until you mentioned Northern Iowa as a team that could spoil it for the boys from Lawrence. Talk about a bold prediction!

Now I of all people love the underdog. It gives you something to brag about to your co-workers and friends when you look smarter than the world when you have Cornell making it to the elite 8 … and they actually do. You do have to pick a few upsets don’t you?

Nope.

This year Johnny is going straight with the chalk. Well mainly. I won’t divulge my entire bracket here, but I am taking the Jayhawks to win it all.

My pick for the team to “make some noise” Kansas State … They have a complete team and great guard play. A factor that is always important in the tourney.

On the Women’s side, well gimmie the chalk again, at least until the Sweet 16. I think the Huskers will be the first #1 seed eliminated. While the team went 30-1 this year it greatly over-achieved, even in an extremely difficult conference with seven teams ranked in the top 25 most of the year. You have to pick UCONN, if someone beats them it will be considered a major upset, after all they have won 72 straight games.

My pick for the team to “make some noise” Texas A&M. The Lady Aggies are playing fabulous right now, are very athletic and are very well coached.

I am sure I will be called a Big XII Homer by someone reading this but I don’t care. Good luck to all of you in your office pools!

 

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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