It is March again: time to try your luck in the internet’s most competitive, most hyperbolic NCAA pool. The trophy is small, so small in fact that you might not hear about it when you win. Nevertheless, for the seventh consecutive year the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em welcomes everyone from the fearless to the bored to pick against the the savviest basketball futurologists around. There’s no time for biting your nail out of nervous habit (well, okay, but make it fast). Simply sign up! At no monetary cost to you, join this year’s group on Yahoo!,
Brick-à-Brack (ID#21100)
. If you have questions, heave a three-quarter-court email my way: dmueller at Invite your friends.
Invite your arch-nemeses. But don’t invite that shady character who brought a spoiled pecan cheese log to the Superbowl party. The group has room for the next forty-nine who sign up. What’s at stake is more valuable than the cash in your pocket: your status as a basketball know-it-all.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em

Group: Brick-à-Brack (ID# 21100)
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 14. The latest you
can sign up is five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March


The tournament
is up to a record 20 participants. Over the past five years,
participation has gone from 7 to 7 to 11 to 17 to 18. Now 20. It’s still
your option to

fill out a bracket
through noon tomorrow.

I have listened to the ESPN gurus tell me who they like: #13 Cleveland State
over #4 Wake Forest, #13 Mississippi State over #4 Washington, #11 Utah
State over #6 Marquette. Surprises, upsets, these. In years past, I
let this chatter seep into my thinking about who to pick. Wake Forest was
awful late in the season; Washington…the only thing I know about Washington is
that they wear purple and yellow; and Marquette is down a senior guard. In other
words, these are upset picks that seem reasonable to me, which means they’ll
probably be wrong.

So, I look for other unexpected teams to advance to the Sweet Sixteen because
1.) I have not noticed them and 2.) I am not picking them in my bracket: #10 USC,
#14 American, #11 Temple. These teams are invisible to me. Are they in the
tournament? Seems so. Thus, even though I have not picked them, I have come to
expect that one such team will arrive in the Sweet Sixteen. Why not

I have eight first-round upset picks and two second-round upset picks. My
hunch is that it would be cowardly to have fewer and reckless to have more.