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Weekly Whatup 3/24
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            My bracket is a complete mess — which is pretty ridiculous considering the lack of big upsets, Cinderella’s no-show and a whole lot of big names still standing in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.

            I’m a sucker for underdogs, for the little guy, for the school that no one’s heard of with a funny nickname and a star player whose name can’t be pronounced. Thus, I usually fill out my bracket going against the grain, hoping the double-digit seeds come out on top, giving everyone else a headache and leaving a wry smirk on my face.

            But not this year. This year we might have well have just skipped the first two rounds and started this weekend with the 16 left.

            “But Chad, Arizona is a 12 seed, and they’re still left!” Can it, Whiny McWhinerstein. Arizona is a name synonymous with college basketball and any win for them in the tourney is hardly an upset.

            So in the East and South we’re down to pure chalk — 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3. In the West, it’s 2 vs. 3 and 1 vs. 5 — stop the madness! In the Midwest, it’s another 2 vs. 3 and the aforementioned Wildcats vs. Louisville.

And in the Statesboro Herald office pool — for novelty purposes only, of course — I’m in dead last, as I am in my online public pool and in the head-to-head, battle royale, fight to the death with the future Mrs. B.

            Looks like she’ll be getting a nice day at the spa after all.

            Where’s George Mason when you need them?

            After a 30-19 week and a 0-2 mark elsewhere, now almost 40 games up: 153-115.


            Amazingly enough, this portion of the 64 could turn out the way I originally predicted.

            Pitt faces No. 4 Xavier and Duke squares off with Villanova. In a just world, I’d like to see Xavier bust things up and make a run to Detroit. But I just don’t think they’ll be able to handle the Panthers’ size.

            As for Duke, I think Villanova’s the better team, and if they continue to play defense the way they have, goodnight Coach K. But the Blue Devils always seem to pull out one more win than expected, so we’ll put them in the Regional Final vs. Pitt.

            From there, I still like Pitt’s size to send them to the Final Four.



            This is probably the most intriguing part of the bracket left.

            Everyone and their mother’s brother’s lover has North Carolina winning it all. But just like above with Xavier, I’d love to see the Zags wreck things for the Heels and move on. UNC will likely find a way to get it done, however, and make to the Elite Eight.

            Then there’s Syracuse and Oklahoma. The Orange seem to be a team of destiny while Oklahoma is this year’s rent-a-run (see SU with Carmelo and Texas with Durant). Since I originally had Oklahoma moving on back when this thing started, I’m picking the Sooners.

            Then comes the game that will make or break my bracket: Oklahoma and UNC. I penciled in OU from the outset and won’t vary from that now. Blake Griffith shuts down Tyler Hansbrough and OU moves on.



            Hah! I only have Louisville left in that corner anyway. So help me Ganesh if they were to lose.

            Cardinals beat Kansas for a trip to Detroit.



            I can’t see Connecticut having much problem with Purdue, so we’ll write them in to move on. After that, let’s give Missouri the edge over Memphis. I could just pick “the Tigers to win” and be done with it, but where’s the fun in that.

            From there, let’s put the Huskies in the Final Four, giving us three No. 1’s and three teams from the Big East. Bor-ing. Is it Opening Day yet?


Other musings

            Certainly a good bit of other things went down this past week and will go down in the week to come.

            I did get a chance to check up on the Schenkel this past weekend. I had forgotten how much fun it really is. Great golf, great competition and a showcase event for Statesboro and Georgia Southern — let’s hope it sticks around forever.

            Meanwhile, GSU baseball was on the road all week, padding its resume and racking up the wins — well, until Sunday afternoon, anyway.

            The Eagles are now 16-4 and 3-1 in conference, but still have plenty to prove.                           This week is a big one. Today it’s in-state rival Kennesaw State at J.I.                               Wednesday it’s a road trip to South Carolina. Friday begins a weekend series with conference favorite Elon. The next nine after that will be even tougher, but we’ll get into that next week.

            Finally, the World Baseball Classic is tonight, and the USA and Dominican are nowhere to found despite my prediction they’d be in the final.

            I was told this American team cared in 2009. It didn’t look that way in the Sunday night’s loss to Japan.

            I guess if you’re gonna bow out — hah! Get it! Bow out to the Japanese! — at least do it to the champs.

            By the time you read this, Japan beats Korea for 2009 WBC title.