Matthew has kindly (rudely) asked (told) me (…me?) to preview the upcoming Bracket Buster Saturday lineup in an effort to promote the running Bracket Buster blog that Matt, Tomlin, and myself will be doing over the weekend, although I know little to nothing about most of the teams and can honestly say I can’t even name the state in which six (6) of the schools are located. Lucky for you, the consumer, knowledge of a subject has never hindered me when giving an opinion. As has been my strategy for most of my life, when confronted with a topic I know little about I shall either focus on the one fact I know about said subject, or I will simply make it up. If you’re wondering why I don’t just research the teams, I would reply that subscribing to both Sports Illustrated and US Weekly is too expensive and combing the internet would require effort on my part, and neither option is acceptable. So Merry Christmas Bedford Falls, here’s my Bracket Buster Freeview (see I combined the words “free” and “preview” to create a fun new word).
1pm–Appalachian State at Wichita State
Despite the fact that neither “Appalachian” nor “Wichita” is, in fact, a state, this promises to be an interesting matchup, although I’m not entirely sure why. Appalachian State is somewhere in Appalachia (unless it’s a “Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island” sort of thing) and I can only guess that their school cheer is, “Gooooooo Poverty!” (I’m from Appalachia, so it’s OK if I make that joke). Unbelievably, I have seen Wichita State play in person. Their point guard has a truly epic afro and Kyle Wilson is a Sam’s Club version of Dirk Nowitski. Wichita State started out hot, beating LSU, Syracuse, and George Mason early on but it turns out that all of those teams are actually terrible and the Shockers’ won-loss record has fallen on hard times after reaching the high teens in the polls early in the year. Look for Appalachian State to win and for Mark “Orthopedic” Turgeon to continue to wear shirts and ties that don’t match.
3pm–Holy Cross at Hofstra
I have no clue where these teams are located. All I know is that Hofstra was the team that everyone kept yelping about last year, arguing that they should have made the tournament over George Mason. This year, apparently, they’re pretty good again, otherwise they wouldn’t have made Bracket Buster Saturday (Charles Barkley logic). Holy Cross boasts the first Rick Pitino disciple, Ralph Willard, who returned to his alma mater and has vaulted them into the coveted position of consistent 15 seed in the tournament. Forget the chestnut-haired Willard that you knew from Western Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen run years ago, as this new Ralph Willard sports a full head of WHITE hair. It would seem that one thing he didn’t learn from Pitino was the skill known as “vanity”. Holy Cross wins this one because of Willard’s hair and because Jesus is on their side.
4pm–Southern Illinois at Butler
A bona-fide Top 25 matchup as the Salukis (I don’t know either) invade historic Hinkle Fieldhouse (where Coach Norman Dale measured the baskets in “Hoosiers”) to take on the Butler Fightin’ Butlers. Growing up, I honestly thought that Butler was a college dedicated to the art of Butlery. I assumed that Benson, Geoffrey from Fresh Prince, and Batman’s Alfred had gone to similar schools where they learned to act uppity despite a lack of money or power and how to murder a party guest while managing to avoid being found out for 1 ½ to 2 hours. I feel Southern Illinois will win this game because they are the more complete team, but Butler’s A.J. Graves will continue to show college basketball he is the best pre-pubescent player in the country.
4pm–Kent State at George Mason
Don’t watch this game. Turn it over to the Southern Illinois/Butler game. George Mason by 15…or Kent State by 15…it doesn’t matter–Watch SIU/Butler.
5pm–Austin Peay at Akron
Akron’s nickname is the “Zips”. Austin Peay represents the OVC. Eastern Kentucky University is in the OVC. Eastern Kentucky used to be coached by Travis Ford. Travis Ford played basketball at Kentucky. Kentucky has the most wins in college basketball history. Therefore, Austin Peay wins.
5:30pm–Colorado State at Air Force (I am now 90% certain that all of these games today are not taking place in the same gym)
I think Colorado State is the “Rams” and that they used to have a quarterback named Bradley Van Pelt. Air Force is ranked in the Top 25 and, allegedly, plays a fun style of basketball. I always wondered how players were able to participate in sports at the military academies because it would seem to me that they wouldn’t have all that much free time. Well, what’s more important, 1. Learning how to safely land a Harrier jet, or 2. Proper technique on a chest pass with the thumbs down on follow-through? If you can fly a jet, you should be able to outsmart a big-horn sheep–Robert Goulet can do neither. AF by 9.
6pm–Northern Iowa at Nevada
Missouri Valley member Northern Iowa invades the “Biggest Little City on Earth” hoping to land a resume improving victory over the Nevada Nick Fazekases (that is their mascot, right?) I feel confident in postulating that Northern Iowa is known for its corn, and that Reno is known for it’s gambling and flamboyant police force (rolled up policeman shorts, anyone?) I don’t know if Northern Iowa will have the size to match up with Fazekas and Co. (seriously, I don’t know), but I have a gut feeling (appendicitis?) that Northern Iowa advances to play the winner of Georgia Over Yonder at Alabama Up the Road a Piece.
6pm–Old Dominion at Toledo
There are a lot of games today. Old Dominion is in Virginia and that just happens to be the state’s nickname. They also are one of the only 15 seeds to upset a 2 seed if I remember correctly. Toledo is famous for their minor league baseball team, the “Mud Hens”. I think they hail from the MAC. I have seen neither team play, but based solely on their names, I’m thinking Toledo will be more spry and full of energy and that OLD Dominion will at some point request to watch JAG and then gently doze off.
7pm–Utah State at Oral Roberts
This isn’t the good, Rick Majerus-coached Utah school is it? I don’t think it is, but the guess is they have several Mormons, meaning that their team is likely to be more mature with several 22 year-old freshmen. Oral Roberts beat Kansas earlier in the year. However, Bill Self was coaching that game, so it’s easy to see how that could happen. Oral Roberts “converts” the final field goal to win by 1.
8pm–Bradley vs. Virginia Commonwealth
Virginia Commonwealth provided a rock-solid pharmacy education to KSR regular, T.Walters, but this fact should not entirely tarnish VCU’s reputation. Jeff Capel left VCU for the greener pastures of the Big 12, but appears to have left a solid team intact from last year’s NCAA tournament appearance. However, Bradley, my second-favorite team in the NCAA has an athletic frontcourt and several excellent outside shooters, although their coach is a butthole (will they allow that type of language on the internet?). Either way, I should be plenty tired of basketball by this time and nothing will invigorate me like either a Bradley win or watching the training sequence in Rocky IV.
8pm–Cal State Fullerton at Wright State
Man, there’s a lot of basketball today. Cal State Fullerton boasts a top-tier baseball team. Former #1 overall pick and current journeyman, Phil Nevin caught for the Titans during a World Series run several years back. If their pitching can hold up during conference and they get some offensive run-production out of the freshman corner outfielders, they might just make it back to Rosenblatt Stadium. Fullerton by 7.
10pm–Drexel at Creighton
I think NBA baller Malik Rose (the She-aq of the MEAC) played at Drexel. Also, Dabney Coleman starred in a short-lived sitcom on FOX known as Drexel’s Class. Creighton has the least frightening mascot name in college basketball (the Blue Jays. Ever had fear struck in your heart by a blue jay?) However, Creighton does have an excellent guard that goes by the name, Funk. I hope that he is either the son of former wrestler Terry Funk, or the son of a member of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Word has it that Drexel is good this year (I got this info through hearsay), but Creighton has been in the upper third of the Missouri Valley this year. Look for Creighton to bring the Funk against Drexel (that’s not a bold prediction, he’s probably at most of their games).
12 Midnight–New Mexico State at Ohio
Seriously, there’s a game that BEGINS at Midnight. Yeah, I understand that the West Coast is like an hour behind, but come on, midnight eastern standard time? Ohio’s football coach is Frank Solich and they used to have a good basketball player in the 90’s named Gary Trent? Reggie Theus coaches New Mexico State and I don’t have to tell Louisville fans that Coach Theus has previous coaching experience: On the Saturday Morning Teen show, “Hang Time”. To get the full effect, think Saved by the Bell with basketball and awful characters/storylines, or “California Dreams” with basketball. Theus’ acting skill was somewhere in between William Shatner and Keanu Reeves–if both were in comas. Surprisingly, Reggie’s experience on Hang Time has paid off as NMSU stands in second place in the WAC behind Nevada (how did I know that?). My guess is that Gary Trent isn’t still playing for Ohio. If that is the case, look for Reggie and the gang to win while devising some crazy scheme to raise money to save the local hangout, all the while making corny jokes followed by a laugh track.
After this final game, it will be about 2:30 EST. That will have been 13 ½ hours of basketball. I will either be so worn out that I will immediately fall asleep, or be so delusional that Matt, Tomlin, and I begin debating who is the least likely of the three of us to have fathered Anna Nicole’s baby. Anywho, be sure to keep up with the blog and update us on your thoughts/observations as the day progresses. I will keep you posted as I learn the various locations of the schools and hope you will come to count on expert analysis like that when you visit the blog.