Beat the Pros March Madness!!!
By DYLAN MALONE
What a week it’s been!
Today I have the amazing honor of watching the first round of the Big Ten tournament at the United Center in Chicago as some tickets became available last minute to me. As a matter of fact, if you’re reading this hot off the presses, I’ll already be courtside watching Purdue versus Nebraska.
The great thing about this year’s craziness in college basketball has been the consistency in the Big Ten. The consistency for upsets and amazing finishes, that is.
We all know that no number one is safe this year after watching Indiana fall a few times from the top spot as well as Michigan, but the amazing thing is that the quality of teams in the Big Ten is about 10 teams deep and there ARE no easy games for any team. In the big tournament, seven teams in the conference have a good shot of dancing with the field of 68.
I’ll see if I can’t take some pics to use in the sports pages while I’m there (no promises!)
And speaking of March Madness…
My second run at the Beat the Pros bracket challenge should be better than the first as I have more prizes to give away to you fine people. The great thing about filling out a bracket this year is that the competition is so crazy that anyone will have a shot of winning the bracket challenge. That includes the wife who picks the teams based on how cool the mascot is or how cool the colors of the teams are as well as the guy from the office who fills out a bracket because everyone else is doing it but has no idea where Valparaiso is.
So far I have 11 prizes to give away thanks to the good graces of some of Decatur’s fine businesses. Pending other prizes make themselves available, we will just give the top 10 brackets a prize as well as a special prize for my favorite aspect of March Madness…upsets.
Since I don’t really have an over-the-top grand prize, I think this year’s contest winners will get their choice of prizes based on their finishing positions. For example, the first place bracket will have first choice of the 10 prizes followed by the second place finisher and so on and so forth. The good news here is that even the 10th place finisher won’t be upset with their prize, potentially, because I think they are just dandy this year. I won’t reveal the prizes just yet because there may be more in store but they should be fantastic.
I had a great response last season with the amount of brackets turned in. My goal is to have at least 300 brackets to grade this year and I think that with the amount of excitement this season has brought and the fact that Indiana is one of the favorites to win it all will only help the cause.
Everyone's work place will have a pool. Your family may have a pool. Maybe your friends do. Why not fill out one for the DDD for free and maybe earn some free stuff?
On top of the feeling of winning a prize, entries into the bracket challenge will also have the opportunity once again to beat the pros! I'm not sure how many pros I'm going to have this time around but I'll know before the play-in game for sure. At the very least, I'll have myself, Mr. Jim Hopkins, and Mr. Joe Spaulding all standing in as pros.
Last year, Joe took pro honors with a high-score of 82. Hop finished with a respectable 72 and I was left in the dust with a 58. In my defense, I had Ohio State beating Kansas in the final four and OSU pulling out the title over Kentucky. Had it happened that way, I would be top pro, but as it happened, the Buckeyes choked and Kansas went on to be lambs at the slaughter in the title game against Kentucky.
I was in trouble from the get-go because of the amount of upsets that just didn't happen last year. My best pick was South Florida, a 12 over 5 seed play-in game. I think I was a year early on the upset train. This year it could be anybody's tournament and no upset would shock me. I'll even go against the grain and say that this may be the year that a 16-seed finally upends a #1. You heard me...or read me I guess.
The 11th prize I give away in this fine contest will be the pick of the best upset. The catch of course will be that the upset actually has to happen to count so don't just send in a bracket with all four 16-seeds winning in round one in hopes of a fabulous prize. Whoever has the guts to pick the upset that no one else thought would happen will get this prize. I'll reveal it when I'm for sure that it will be available.
Until then, enjoy conference tournament week. I know I am. And then stay tuned for Selection Sunday in just a few days. Brackets will be available in the DDD the following week and I will set a box out in the front for drop off. More information will be available soon. Good luck and may the best picks win!