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March Madness Sleeper Picks

There’s no way I’m going to get all of these right, but that’s the spirit of March Madness. It’s the time when work productivity slows to a halt, trash is talked and pride is on the line. Below are a few hunches/educated guesses to help you with your bracket.

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March Madness Sleeper Picks:

West region – Here is my first 12-5 upset: UTEP over Butler. UTEP is a very strong 12 seed and should probably be a 10-11. Butler is a smaller team, and UTEP matches up well against them. That’s good enough for me. Tag ‘um and bag’ um.

Xavier (6) over Pittsburgh (3) in the second round. Pitt is a weak 3 seed, I say they go down.

East region -Second 12-5 upset: Cornell over Temple. Cornell is riding a hot streak and Temple’s mascot is an Owl. An owl! Somebody call up PETA, because Temple is endangered!

Washington (11) over Marquette (6) and New Mexico (3). There’s obviously a bit of bias here. My take: The Dawgs are hot, winning the Pac 10 tournament; I think it’s a sham to give them an 11 seed. Though they’ve been characterized by inconsistency this year, they’re coming on strong when it counts.

The play of MBA is going to be crucial as is IT. One quick note: If Abdul Gaddy could actually step up, it’d be huge boost. I know he’s still a youngun, but so far he refuses to engage or step up in big moments, choosing to just pass the ball. I think this tweet from @Sherpaco sums it up best: “Abdul Gaddy really looks like the gay boy on My So Called Life.” So far, he’s playing like it too. Here’s a pic:

Missouri (10) over Clemson (7) No reasoning here, just a hunch.

Wake Forest (9) over Texas (8). Both teams are inconsistent, but Texas is worse.

Midwest region – Probably the toughest bracket, featuring the overall favorite Kansas. It also has Michigan State (5), Maryland (4), Georgetown (3) and Ohio State (2). These teams have historically done well in the tournament, which is bad news for any sleeper making a run.

There’s been a lot of rumblings about the difficulty of this region, as the number one team in the nation gets the hands down toughest schedule, while Duke is left with a relatively easy road to the Final Four.

That said, I’m taking two upsets: Georgia Tech (10) over the state college from the state that shall not be named (7). My logic: no team from the worst state in the Union should be able to win anything. I’m not picking them.

The second: Northern Iowa (9) over UNLV (8). Not much of an upset here, but N. Iowa nearly beat Purdue last year and should have enough to pull it off in the first round.

South region – Only one upset: Siena (13) over Purdue (4) I don’t like Purdue because the knocked UW out of the tournament last year. I know it was the Huskies fault, but that still doesn’t make me like Purdue any more. Also, Siena made a run last year, so I like their experience.

Other teams to watch/teams that I like – Maryland. Back in my college days (circa 2005), some fraternity bros and I took a trip out to the east coast for a convention. A fraternity convention is essentially a get together with representatives from all of the chapters. Thus, you get all kinds of cultures and mindsets. Here are a few I remember:

MIT chapter (the hosts) – Nothing but nerds who spent the entire time playing video games. Imagine someone going out of their way and spending a ton of money to create a ridiculously good time for you. Would you at least get up from your chair to see what was going on?

True story: we get to the MIT house, and there are kids from all over the country. Some playing pool, others playing card games, others just hanging out. Everybody was having a good time. At one point I said “Where are all the MIT guys?” No one could find one, despite being in their house. So I went on a mission to find at least one of their guys. I started opening random doors and going into various rooms, eventually stumbling upon two guys playing either Warcraft or Starcraft. I engaged them and encouraged them to come join the party. Their response: “Maybe in a bit. We’ll see.” They just didn’t care. Too bad.

Note: this took place in the summer when classes were out. Homework was not an excuse.

Texas, Virginia Tech – Nonstop partiers. These boys could throw down.

Yale, NYU – Stuck up, snooty and looked down on everyone. They reminded me of the Omegas from animal house. Thank you sir may I have another?!

Maryland – A carbon copy of the the UW chapter; a sort of swiss army knife of talents – They were easy and fun to hang out with, down to earth and were eager to enjoy every part of the convention. They piled eight into a van and road tripped all the way there. When it came time to boozing, they could do that too. They were our doppelgangers and that’s why I root for them in the tournament.

Though the Terps have a tough schedule, I hope they do well.