"We’ve long advocated the same strategy. 1) Don’t go around the office talking about your brackets to everyone on Monday. It’ll just put the spotlight on you. Better move – mention that you got “caught in the rain” this weekend after going to a movie/wedding/whatever. 2) On Tuesday, feign illness – but not too much. A sneeze here, a cough there, and some sniffling when necessary. 3) Wednesday is when you really ham it up and bring on the cold. People will say, “oh man, it must have gotten worse overnight.” The Tuesday pre-sick is crucial to set up Wednesday. 4) Thursday, call in sick. Enjoy the tournament. If you can stretch it to Friday, great. Worse case scenario – you have to go in Friday, but take a long late lunch so you catch the final 10 minutes of the first set of games and the first 10 minutes of the second set of games." -- The Big Lead
So, I may have more than one NCAA bracket currently on the go. Technically I have three of them, each respectively known as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The predictions I'll make this post can be considered the sum of those three, thus making this bracket known as Zeus. (My grasp of theology is not strong.) As usual, I feel the need to state that actually using these predictions in your own bracket under the mistaken assumption that I know what I'm talking about is a fool's errand. Read at your own risk. Or, just take Conan O'Brien's tournament pick. But enough of Coco, onto Marmar's selections!
*Duke over Winthrop, but if Winthrop doesn't win the play-in game, then Arkansas Pine-Bluff will clearly win the whole tournament. In summation, the play-in game is pointless and stupid.
*Louisville over California
*Purdue over Siena
*Texas A&M over Utah St
*Old Dominion over Notre Dame (upset special!)
*Baylor over Sam Houston
*Richmond over St. Mary's
*Villanova over Robert Morris and hopefully 11 of Robert's teammates lest the game be unfair
*Kentucky over East Tennessee
*Wake Forest over Texas
*Temple over Cornell, sorry Andy
*Wofford over Wisconsin (upset special!)
*Marquette over Washington
*New Mexico over Montana
*Clemson over Missouri
*West Virginia over Morgan St.
*Kansas over Lehigh...be sure to check out Joe Posnanski's blog post about Kansas coach Bill Self. It's quite good. JoePo wrote nothing about the Lehigh coach, so obviously they'll lose.
*Northern Iowa over UNLV
*Michigan State over New Mexico State
*Houston over Maryland (upset special!)
*San Diego St over Tennessee (upset special!)
*Georgetown over Ohio
*Oklahoma St over Georgia Tech
*Ohio St over UCSB
*Syracuse over Vermont
*Gonzaga over Florida St
*UTEP over Butler (upset special!)
*Murray State over Vanderbilt (upset special!)
*Minnesota over Xavier (upset special!)
*Pittsburgh over Oakland via Immaculate Reception
*BYU over Florida since without Tebow, the Gators can't come close to BYU's sheer religiosity
*Kansas St over North Texas
*Duke over Louisville
*Texas A&M over Purdue
*Baylor over Old Dominion
*Villanova over Richmond
*Kentucky over Wake Forest
*Temple over Wofford
*New Mexico over Marquette, sorry future daughter's name
*West Virginia over Clemson
*'Cuse over 'Zaga
*UTEP over Murray State
*Minnesota over Pitt
*Kansas St over BYU
*Kansas over Northern Iowa
*Michigan St over Houston
*Georgetown over San Diego St.
*Ohio St. over Oklahoma St.
*Texas A&M over Duke (upset special!)
*Villanova over Baylor
*Kentucky over Temple
*New Mexico over West Virginia, eat it Huggins
*Syracuse over UTEP
*Kansas St over Minnesota
*Kansas over Michigan St.
*Ohio St. over Georgetown
*Villanova over Texas A&M
*New Mexico over Kentucky in New Mexico's greatest achievement since the Breaking Bad S3 premiere
*Syracuse over Kansas St.
*Kansas over Ohio St.
*Villanova over New Mexico
*Syracuse over Kansas
*Syracuse over Villanova
In other bracket news, ESPN.com has its own 'best nickname in sports' tournament. You can peruse the candidates here, but thanks to the unforgivable omission of Red Light Racicot, the clear winner here has to be Mordecai Brown, right? You might argue that his nickname isn't so much a nickname as it is a literal physical description, but still, the intimidation factor was off the charts.
"Hey, who's pitching today?"
"Who? What kind of a name is that?"
"His hand was mangled by a series of childhood accidents. But it gave him a superhuman ability to put spin on the baseball."
"Say, maybe if I chop off two of my fingers, I'll be a better pitcher too!"
"Why not, it's worth a shot."
And that was the last anyone ever heard of Dustin McGowan.
Enough of this sports mumbo-jumbo. Esquire Magazine knows where it's at --- their bracket is the far more controversial "Sexiest Woman Alive" tournament. The tournament is split into the Movies, Sports, Music/Fashion and TV divisions. As a duty to you, my readers, I'll suffer through the arduous task of looking at all these pictures of beautiful women and giving my opinions over the first-round matchups. Oh, the things I'll do for my blog....
*Megan Fox over Helen Mirren, who Esquire seems to have adopted as its GILF
*Rachel McAdams over Anne Hathaway in arguably the toughest toss-up of the round.
*Ashley Greene over Joy Bryant (upset special!)
*Jessica Alba over Jennifer Aniston, since putting Aniston up against Angelina Jolie would've just been cruel.
*Kristen Bell over Marion Cotillard in an unfortunate pairing for Cotillard, who probably advances against almost anyone but my long-standing imaginary TV girlfriend.
*Penelope Cruz over Paula Patton in yet another tough call
*Freida Pinto over Zoe Saldana
*Eva Mendes over Sienna Miller
*Natalie Gulbis over Lane Kiffin, yes that's right, USC coach Lane Kiffin. I'm not even sure of the reasoning in putting him in here as a joke candidate. I can only guess that the writer was a pissed-off Tennessee fan.
*Erin Andrews over Danica Patrick, tough match
*Heather Mitts over Ana Ivanovic (upset special!)
*Gina Carano over Serena Williams (upset special!)
*Panamanian Cricket Team over Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn (three upsets in a row!)
*Stacy Keibler over Anna Kournikova (four upsets!)
*Matt Stafford's girlfriend over Scott Podsednik's wife
*Tanith Belbin over Daniela Hantuchova
*Beyonce over Avril Lavigne
*Marisa Miller over Candice Swanepoel
*Gisele over Emanuela De Paula
*Adriana Lima over Keri Hilson
*Izabel Goulart over Rihanna (upset special!)
*Katy Perry over Carrie Underwood in technically an upset special, but Katy Perry is a #14 seed? This tournament may have more dodgy seedings than Duke's region.
*Elisabetta Canalis over Brooklyn Decker
*Miranda Kerr over Alessandra Ambrosio (upset special!)
*Blake Lively over Heidi Klum
*Minka Kelly over Megyn Kelly
*Bianna Golodryga over Sarah Silverman. Seriously, of all the women on TV to choose from, Sarah Silverman made the cut. I don't even know who Bianca Googleplex is, but she gets the easy nod.
*Christina Hendricks over January Jones in a match that may result in a brawl on the 'Mad Men' set. And ironically, you could make an argument for Alison Brie as the best-looking of the bunch.
*Evangeline Lilly over Padma Lakshmi
*Olivia Wilde over Ginnifer Goodwin (upset special!) (plus, Esquire missed an easy joke in not making Wilde a #13 seed)
*Post-implants Heidi Montag over pre-implants Heidi Montag (this was seriously a matchup)
*Emmanuelle Chriqui over Olivia Munn
I could go into the rest of the matchups, but I've already spent enough time judging the appearances of women who I've never seen in real life without the aid of makeup and charitable photography. Let's just call it a final four of Bell, Keibler, Lima and Lively. But really folks, whatever your picks are, it's hard to go wrong with this field...well, except for Kiffin, Silverman and the Heidi Montags. I've got to say, Esquire put a lot more thought into this bracket than they did their 'sexiest man in the world' tournament. In that one, the final four came down to Gilbert Gottfried, Dan Uggla, the corpse of Alexander McQueen and me. (Yes, I qualified in the movies bracket. I'm playing the Kraken in Clash Of The Titans. I now join Jews on the list of things that Liam Neeson has released in movies.)
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