I made this public service announcement on my radio show this week, but seeing as many of you are scrambling to fill in your brackets at the last minute, I feel compelled to print it here and remind all of you of the following:
If sports talk radio hosts (like myself) are acting like we know what we're talking about with respect to the brackets and the 68-team field (which is now 66, as of this typing), we're doing just that -- ACTING.
The fact of the matter is there are maybe two dozen people on this entire earth who have seen any of Belmont, Alabama State, Hampton and Bucknell play. There are maybe three people on the earth who have seen ALL of them play. There are people at the actual school called "Oakland" who don't even realize it's in Michigan, not California, and unless you have a vacation home in the Hamptons, you probably don't know LIU stands for Long Island University.
My point is, unless you're just going completely off the page and picking your bracket based on mascots, uniforms or the talent level of the co-eds, you need good, sound advice in order to help you win the money.
Sound advice will not come from me. (Advice will come, it just won't be sound, that's all.)
You know when you e-mail someone for an answer on something and (if you're smart) you caveat it with "If you don't know, just point me to someone who does." Well, this post is about me being that guy -- "point you to someone else" guy.
So below I've provided a handful of links that should give you ample statistical, empirical, hardcore dork-out data to go along with the infamous "eye test," with a tad bit of "eye test's" little brother "gut feeling" mixed in. The links below should be enough to send you into the bracket wilderness with ample weaponry; this will not be some boy scout exercise where the scoutmaster gives you an egg, a spoon and some rope and says, "Have at it, junior!"
So here you go. Click them all, internalize and then do what those of us in sports talk radio do -- guess!
My selections Round of 64 winners EAST: 1 Ohio St, 8 George Mason, 5 West Virginia, 4 Kentucky, 6 Xavier, 3 Syracuse, 7 Washington, 2 North Carolina WEST: 1 Duke, 8 Michigan, 12 Memphis, 4 Texas, 6 Cincinnati, 3 UConn, 10 Penn State, 2 San Diego State SOUTHWEST: 1 Kansas, 8 UNLV, 12 Richmond, 4 Louisville, 6 Georgetown, 3 Purdue, 7 Texas A&M, 2 Notre Dame SOUTHEAST: 1 Pitt, 8 Butler, 5 Kansas State, 13 Belmont, 11 Gonzaga, 3 BYU, 7 UCLA, 2 Florida
Round of 32 winners EAST: 1 Ohio St, 4 Kentucky, 3 Syracuse, 2 North Carolina WEST: 1 Duke, 4 Texas, 3 UConn, 10 Penn State SOUTHWEST: 1 Kansas, 12 Richmond, 3 Purdue, 2 Notre Dame SOUTHEAST: 1 Pitt, 5 Kansas State, 11 Gonzaga, 2 Florida
Sweet Sixteen winners EAST: 1 Ohio St, 3 Syracuse WEST: 4 Texas, 3 UConn SOUTHWEST: 1 Kansas, 2 Notre Dame SOUTHEAST: 1 Pitt, 11 Gonzaga
Elite Eight winners EAST: 1 Ohio St WEST: 4 Texas SOUTHWEST: 2 Notre Dame SOUTHEAST: 1 Pitt
Final Four semifinal winners Ohio State over Texas, Notre Dame over Pitt
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Championship Game winner Ohio State 71, Notre Dame 62
Of course, if you don't like my picks, you can always go with the selections of the leader of the free world, who apparently has plenty of college basketball watch time logged between oil spills, international skirmishes and natural disasters:
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 PM weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.