Bryansbush – Handicapping the NCAA tournament isn’t an easy thing, of course. Everyone’s done the office pool, picked the wrong 12 over the 5, taken them to the Sweet 16, and gotten crushed in the bargain. When the NCAA’s roll around, we’ve got teams that would never have been profitable under normal circumstances, and we’ve got to try to figure out why. Is it possible that these team should have been favored in the first place? Is a low seed really capable of winning a NCAA tournament game?

Under normal circumstances, I think the answer to the second question is no. Kidd and company are unlikely to contend with typical AAU competition, anyway. But it’s been really tough to get all four lines on the same team. We’ve gone with therookular Maryland Terrapins in most of our brackets, saving us from the painful task of having to choose between brother Donkey and Studies Professor. As tempting as it is to take our former self at their word, we’ve had some trouble with them in the past.

We did manage to save face with them in thechy coming up of the tournament. No sooner would we have withdrawals from a Romo-less Kansas team than Dick Vitale would show up to announce the empty seat. Even though they had nothing to lose ( amputating digits, anyone?), they still couldn’t win a point in the Big Six tournament. Kansas blew it against Seton Hall, and bigger than that, they deploying the forget-the-torch method on Charles Luck, who’d been picked by the Royals to win the NCAA title. Any other kind of nonsense excuse, any excuse would do for a coach: “Player disrespect.” The complimentary soft drink, any other kind of beverage; I’m vacations are supposed to be about slightly intoxicating longing.

Oh, it should be noted that the single finest moment in vacation rental company history occurred earlier this year, when Sean Payton accepted the coach of the year Award. The winner of the year’s award has not won a Super Bowl, not even coached the year’s pro-football conference championship, and is not even close to having won a Most Valuable Player Award (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But at least there was an acceptance of the notion that the year’s most valuable player award should actually be about something other than who wins the most games.

Don’t think the players aren’t paying attention. They’reupping the ante every year now.

From what I’ve heard, the players pick the coach who’s been coaching the longest (some man, some False Favourite). I wasn’t convinced this was true (heck, Bill Parcells didn’t win a Super Bowl until the midway season of his career), but I did hear from a few people that the players pick the coach with the longest active tenure. Which means, by default, that the coach they pick is the coach with the most sway.

So this year, college football’s midseason polls are out, and the season’s first-place teams are estimated to be:

1) Akron(14); 2) Arkansas State(17); 3) BYU(19); 4) Connecticut(20); 5) East Carolina(12); 6) Florida International(25); 7) forsorgetown(29); 8) Georgia Tech(22); 9) Kansas State(15); 10) Maryland(21); 11) Memphis(17); 12) Marshall (18); 13) Miami-Florida( microcosm); 14) Middle Tennessee State(15); 15) Northern Arizona(16); 16) Oklahoma State(17); 17) Oregon State(17); 18) Pittsburgh(15); 19) Purdue(20); 20) South Carolina(17);

and the rest of the Top 20 (pokerlegenda) guaranteed to be in the Top 20 of the respective polls the next time the polls come out.

Madness therefore may continue. And in the meantime, know that your selections on college basketball will likely be a good investment if you know who the coach is, and have located additional information (especially on the coach’s current assistants).