Monday, March 06, 2006

Use this weekend as a warm up for the NCAA Tournament.

I was enjoying some time outside late last week on one of those days that the temperature seemed to be 80 degrees and it then hit me with full force. We are in my favorite time of year. Well, Christmas is my favorite time of year, you know, because of all the free loot. My favorite time of year in which I do not get presents is March Madness.

I will agree that it is not fully here. The NCAA Tournament does not begin for another week, but this week, the week that is leading up to the Big Dance is just as good. It is a great week for the college basketball fan and it also gives you some time to prepare for the Big Dance.

This week you get to see big teams go head to head in their conference tournaments. We may get treated to another match up between UConn and Villanova in the Big East Tournament. We may get another Duke and North Carolina match up in the ACC Tournament and after Saturday’s game, I wouldn’t know how they could top it.

We will get another match up between UK and Ole Miss; wait a minute, that’s not what I am talking about. Although it will be interesting to see how Ole Miss responds after the defenestration they went through in Rupp. Is it me or is this the first time in 1,000 years that UK has to play on a Thursday in the SEC Tournament? Even when they had a sub par year, it always seemed that they had a bye going into the SEC Tourney. It will be interesting to see how UK will either bounce back or flame out after the embarrassing display on Senior Day.

Another reason this week is a great week for a college basketball fan is that it will give you a chance to warm up for the NCAA Tournament. There will be so many games on this week that you will give your remote a workout. You will be flipping and flopping from channel to channel trying to catch all the action. I plan on buying extra batteries for Thursday through Sunday.

Because of all the great teams that will be playing this week, you will get a chance to see some teams you may have not seen this year. It will give you a chance to scout for the Big Dance. We all know you plan on entering at least 75 NCAA pools, we all are. I also know that it is not so much the first round upsets that win you the money, but it is the person with the most Final Four teams left at the end. Not that I condone the transfer of funds in a gambling type manner. I find it deplorable, disgusting, and a whole lot of fun.

Perhaps you can also use this weekend as a dry run for the NCAA Tourney by piling into a friend’s house and not leaving for two or three days straight. You also need to make sure to order pizza for every meal. Make sure you down at least two 2-liter bottles of soda a day and if possible squeeze in a healthy amount of chips and honey buns. That ought to have your gut stretched out enough to handle next weekend’s wall to wall basketball action.

One other thing you should do this weekend is watch the NCAA Selection Show on CBS and Bracketology on ESPN. Use these shows to glean information about who the professional college basketball pundits pick to win. When you have that information, I want you to very quickly disregard everything you learned from them.

Over the many years I have watched the NCAA Tournament; I have learned that no one knows what will happen during this wonderful time of year. You do not even have to have watched any basketball this season to fill out the brackets and do well. I have witnessed this first hand.

So take some of my suggestions to heart and try them this weekend to prepare for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Just don’t push it too far; you need to conserve some strength for next Thursday and beyond. Perhaps next week I will give you some tips on filling out your brackets after I get a look at them myself. Until then, happy gorging.

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