Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 27, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Cutting, combing through the brackets

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Adhering to our refrigerator at home is a to-do list, a “Hello Kitty” markerboard and a heart-shaped paper consisting of a Bible verse which our daughter made at church.

Of course, you wouldn't know that by looking at it because it’s March. A quilt of NCAA Tournament bracket sheets has engulfed the scene.

Last week, as I went about my regular routine of printing out an abundance of brackets, gathering highlighters and entering more Internet contests than Michael Phelps does Olympic swimming events, my wife delivered a funny suggestion she had overheard on ESPN.

“They said to ask your hairdresser when filling out your bracket,” she said.

See, my wife is a hairdresser, so I gladly obliged to the notion.

ESPN.com allows each user 10 brackets to place into a pool as deep as the Pacific Ocean. Sure, I get laughed at by just about everyone I tell, but I turn in the maximum amount.

Why not, right? We all would love that Best Buy $10,000 gift card (I wonder if it has an expiration date).

And, I named each bracket after an Adam Sandler movie — I tried to do a Top 10, but let’s face it, they're all pretty great.

So, here was the ultimate breakdown of my bracket belligerence:

‰Eight brackets by yours truly. Keep in mind that I am a sports editor, for crying out loud, throughout this segment.

‰One by my wife, who also happens to cut my hair.

‰One with assistance from our almost 3-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son at the breakfast table as we snapped, crackled and popped Rice Krispies.

Guess who’s leading?

My wife's bracket, “Don't Mess With Zohan,” is ahead of the pack, much to the embarrassment of my profession.

That’s right. The lovely woman who I adore so much is actually ahead of 81.3 percent of all ESPN.com participants! Pretty impressive, huh? Now, that’s only good for 1,521,842nd place, but still …

Turns out that the ESPN analyst’s idea was more astute advice than follicle fallacy.

So when I informed my wife of her unbeknownst bracketability, I said, “If you just wouldn’t have had Georgetown going to the Final Four, you’d be looking even better!”

Her response: “Well, I wanted to stay local.”

I regretted to burst her bubble, but couldn’t resist.

“Not Georgetown College, sweetie …” I had to calmly add the sweetie, for sure. “… Georgetown University, and it’s located in Washington, D.C.”


I Can’t Believe

It's Not Butler

As I previously mentioned, my daughter and son helped with one bracket which I named “Anger Management.”

I thought the title would fit by the time it was all said and done, and, it does already — it is ahead of just 6 percent in the ESPN pool.

However, it was worth it because of the sheer entertainment value.

As my son threw cereal onto the bracket and my daughter drew onto it with her own pen, we went game by game with my daughter — again, she’s 2 — being the voice of reason.

Her Final Four: Oregon, Kansas State, Georgetown and Butler.

She shocked me with her Georgetown pick. She rode North Carolina all the way to the Elite Eight because of her favorite doll named “Caroline.”

Her championship game prediction was Butler over Oregon.

Her reason? “I like butter!”

As for Oregon, the Ducks are still in it, and my daughter does enjoy watching the “green team” and the Duck mascot.

Final Four Folly

As with most other brackets, my West Region is more battered and bruised than Ed Norton’s character in “Fight Club” after he kicks the tar out of himself.

With a blatant disregard to practical reasoning, I had Gonzaga advancing past Ohio State in the Elite Eight.

I was kicking the crap out of myself after the Zags fell to Wichita State.

Even talking to myself. “You should’ve known better! They play in a weak conference!”

With my remaining three Final Four-ians, I had Indiana, Kansas and Michigan State, with Michigan State winning it all.

I'm sticking with the Spartans. They have the best coach in the nation, in my opinion, in Tom Izzo. They have solid guard play with Keith Appling and Gary Harris. And Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix are forces on the interior.

Go Sparty!

Women's, Too

Picking an NCAA Women’s Tournament bracket is much easier, but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at my bracket, “The Matthew Mitchells.”

Most of my predicted small surprises turned into big flops, putting me ahead of only 6.5 percent of all participants.

Maybe I should’ve asked my hairdresser on that one, too.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.