You know how before every big event writers make predictions as to what is going to happen? Then you read them, know they are wrong, but after the event is over, they say nothing about their mistakes? Not here. I made 25 bold predictions about Thursday's NCAA Tournament games and now it is time to Grade my 25 Predictions:
1. BYU vs Florida Will Make You Very Happy: It doesnt matter what game is actually the first action of the NCAA Tournament, I look forward to it with eager anticipation. This year it happens to be BYU vs Florida, which means that I will watch the opening tap, comment on how BYU looks "better than I would have thought" and place a "friendly" wager on two teams who if they played during the regular season, I would choose working out on a gazelle over watching. That is just what March does.
Verdict: It made us all happy. Not only was it great to get started, but the game itself was terrific, going into Double Overtime. CORRECT
2. Florida's Dan Werner Will Have You Shaking Your Head: It is not often that a player is so consistenly awful that you wonder how he not only plays, but is able to function in society. Dan Werner is that player. Dont say you have not been warned.
Verdict: He was awful throughout the game and dropped some big rebounds in both overtimes. CORRECT
3. Sam Houston State Will Make Announcers Make Stupid Puns: I probably like Jay Bilas more than any other announcer in America. But as my former assistant in Washington DC used to say about women who wore to much makeup, "he think he cute!" I can guarantee some pun about "remembering the Alamo" or "Sam Houston State wont go down like Sam Houston, etc. He has to do it. Just forgive him.
Verdict: Jay Bilas nearly got through the entire game without doing it to us, but then at the end he mentioned that SHS would be "doing it or Davy Crockett." Thats all it takes. CORRECT
4. You Will be Angry About Which Game You are Getting Assigned at Some Point During the Day: One of the great parts of the first round of the NCAA Tournament is the fact that there are four games going on at any given moment. However what is assured is that the game you will want to see wont be on wherever you happen to live. There is really nothing you can do about this except (a) go watch at a bar, (b) watch the Mega March Madness feature on CBSSports.com or (c) hope that Greg Gumbel will interrupt the game you are watching with updates. What wont work is throwing your remote at the screen at cursing at Seth Davis. Trust me, I have tried.
Verdict: This happened to me all day, but as explicitly awful when my local feed cut away from the Marquette-Washington final to show the tip of Tennessee-San Diego State. I was fit to be tied. CORRECT
5. David Koresh's Name Will Come Up in your Bar: At some point during the telecast, they will mention that Baylor is in Waco, Texas. Then someone in your group will say, "how do I know Waco?" Then Branch Dividians are brought up and David Koresh will be mentioned. Just go ahead and do it early and then you will look like the smart one of the group.
Verdict: It got brought up at my table three times, and we argued about cults and who ends up joining them. Easy score. CORRECT
6. Verne Lundquist Will Mispronounce Names: This is a guarantee, but I dont look at it as a negative. In fact, if you play a drinking game for each name that Verne butchers, you are guaranteed fun and a raucous crowd by 3:30 pm. Just take "Verne" shots (something foreign and exotic) and sit back and smile. It will make Villanova vs Robert Morris much more entertaining.
Verdict: It stated with Ekpe Udoh and it never stopped afterwards. We love Verne and his lack of ability with names is a tradition unlike any other. CORRECT
7. Scottie Reynolds Is Still in School: You know how some guys just seem to be in school forever? Scottie Reynolds is that guy for me. I am fairly sure he played with Ed Pickney and Harold McClain after being recruited by old Rollie. Also on this list, Jon Scheyer, Greivis Vasquez and Luke Harangody.
Verdict: Kind of a gimme. CORRECT
8. Murray State Will Beat Vanderbilt: This is a given. Everyone has it in their bracket. Just mark it down.
Verdict: There was no doubt. Play this game ten times and Murray wins five. They are just as good, but in a differenct conference. That is two straight losses as a #4 seed by Vanderbilt if you are scoring at home. CORRECT
9. Your Friend Will Tell You He Had Murray State Beating Vanderbilt: Tell him to just shut about it. We all had that game and we also had Siena beating Purdue. You aren't special. In fact, you would have been more special had you picked Vanderbilt, so seriously shut your mouth before I come over there and show you how little I care about your bracket.
Verdict: EVERYONE said this to me today, including one national sports writer from another site. I hung up on him. CORRECT
10. Frank Martin Will Scare Your Children: Kansas State coach Frank Martin is clinically insane. Just watch him. He is an exact twin of the gym teacher on "Beavis and Butthead" and he looks at any point like the vein that is piercing through his skin will simply burst and cause his head to explode, thus forcing Teddy Valentine to give him a technical foul. It is strange to remember, but he coached Michael Beasley. How in the world did they not kill each other?
Verdict: Not only did he scare children, he scared the North Texas players into mediocrity. CORRECT
11. An Old White Guy Will Tell You He Likes Luke Harangody: Every time I have watched a Notre Dame game, some person (usually old, white and cranky) tells me that Luke Harangody plays "the game the right way" and that he is his favorite player. Sometimes that person is a former Indiana coach and is paid by a national network to call the games. Either way it is sad.
Verdict: Harangody didnt score until there were 20 seconds left. No one could have been impressed. WRONG
12. You Will Be Fascinated by ODU Coach Blaine Taylor's Moustache: Seriously it is amazing. Black, bushy and extending over his lip. There hasnt been a better one since Magnum P.I. Watch the Old Dominion vs Notre Dame game just for the moustache. You wont be disappointed.
Verdict: It is still sultry and amazing. His moustache was the talk of the bar and it moves onto the next round. Slam dunk. CORRECT
13. "The Butler Did It" Will Be Said by Someone: Every year that Butler plays, someone makes that reference. It is like clockwork. And there hasn't been a working butler in this country outside of the Hamptons and Hollywood in thirty years. This year it will be Spero Dedes. Book it.
Verdict: The announcers in the game avoided it...but then Rece Davis said it during ESPN highlights. So close, but yet so far. CORRECT
14. By The Way, Who is Spero Dedes?: He is calling the games in San Jose. I have never heard of him and dont believe there has been a notable Spero since Vice President Agnew. This must be investigated.
Verdict: Not really a prediction, but I really liked Spero. He was a revelation to me today and I thought he did a great job. CORRECT
15. UTEP's Derrick Caracter Will Dominate and Frustrate: He is big, he is chubby and he is talented. However Derrick Caracter has burned bridges everywhere he has been, most famously under Rick Pitino at Louisville. At one time he was known as the best high school player in America. He now finds himself at UTEP with a chance to redeem his reputation nationally in this Tournament. What will he do? Probably a bit of everything.
Verdict: Emblematic of his career...12 points in the first half and then UTEP dominated in the second half. CORRECT
16. You Will Hate Whatever Commercials Are Playing: If you are a true fan, and I know you are or you would not be reading this article, then you will watch every moment of the First and Second Round. If you do, you will hate whatever commercials are on the air by the end of the weekend. I still remember the Enterprise Rent-a-Car one where the woman asks if she should take "red or black" lingerie on their trip and her husband gets a goofy smile and says "both." The first time I saw it, I had a crush on the woman...by the 500th, I wanted her to take the lingerie and strangle her husband, while the Enterprise Rent-a-Car SUV ran over them both.
Verdict: "Repo Men" and the Miller Lite commercials are already bad, but none as bad as the Southwest Airlines "shirts off" commercial. Pull it now. CORRECT
17. Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh Will Impress: Every year there is that one team that has a player who shoots from 25 feet and gets you out of your chair. This year it is Ali from Northern Iowa. He may be the best shooter in the Tournament and he is barely 6 feet tall. He will hit at least one bomb against UNLV that will make you jump up and say "Wow."
Verdict: My prediction of the day. I said he would hit a big shot and he hits the game winner with 2 seconds left I met Ali in Cedar Falls earlier this year and he said to me "I will hit one big one in the NCAA this March." He did it. CORRECT
18. A Picture of Jerry Tarkanian Chewing a Towel Will Come on the Screen: You can't show a UNLV game on television without at least one shot of Tark and a towel. Its mandated by Congress.
Verdict: They showed Tark in the second half. Bam CORRECT
19. Demarcus Cousins' Attitude Will Be Mentioned: During every Kentucky game played, there will be a skirmish for a loose ball, Demarcus Cousins will be involved and the announcer will say "he has a temper, he needs to calm down." It happens every game, quickly followed by the announcer saying, "if Kentucky is going to win in this Tournament, Cousins will have to keep his cool."
Verdict: It took less than fifteen minutes before Jay Bilas brought it up. CORRECT
20. You Will Not Watch Marquette vs Washington: Its totally unwatchable basketball. Grind it out, punch each other in the face, game in the 50s. If this game were a movie, it would be anything starring Sandra Bullock, pre-"Blind Side." Avoid at all costs.
Verdict: Biggest clunker for me. Ended up being a great game that came down to the end. I hope you watched it. WRONG
21. Having Said That, Marquette is the Lock of the Year: Washington has literally no chance of winning this game...NO CHANCE. Right now the line is a pick 'em...Vegas didnt watch Washington play and neither did you. They won the Pac 10 Tournament, but you, me, Spero Dedes, Dan Werner and Ali from Northern Iowa could have won the Pac 10 Tournament this year. Put it all on Marquette.
Verdict: By lock, I meant "it could happen." WRONG
22. A Shot of John Thompson Will Come on the Screen: I dont mean JT III, who coaches Georgetown now, but the elder Thompson. And I will continue to be amazed at how large that man is. 6'8" (at least), probably 325 pounds and a towering figure like none other. The thought of him even scares me right now.
Verdict: Never happened...color me shocked. WRONG
23. You Wont Be Able to Tell the Morris Twins Apart: Absolutely impossible to do. Their parents named them Marcus and Markieff, the oddest assortment of names for twins since my high school's Nathan and Nathaniel. Look at the two of them and try to figure out which is which. You know how they say that parents can tell twins apart based on slight physical differences? For the Morris Twins, the only differences are in the tattoos.
Verdict: I found out after I wrote this that the Morris Twins actually have the SAME tattoos as well. Slam dunk...had no idea which was which. CORRECT
24. Rick Barnes Is Not Coaching: Rick Barnes has not coached a game in the last two months of this season. Actually let me strike that...Rick Barnes has not coached a game WELL in the last two months of this season. On Thursday night versus Wake Forest, he will be on the sideline talking, but rest assured what he is doing can't be quantified as "coaching." His players aren't listening, no plays are being executed and chaos is reigning. But be calm, this is normal.
Verdict: Some things are meant to be. Barnes coached poorly, had the wrong guys with the ball and choked it away late. So predictable it wasnt even fair. CORRECT
25. The Night Will End with the Biggest Upset of the Day: San Diego State is going to beat Tennessee. The Fighting Headbands from Knoxville will fall on a late three by Steve Fisher's bunch and Bruce Pearl will walk into the locker room dejected, ending the year with yet another disappointing postseason.
Verdict: Close, but no cigar. Vols hold on late and get the win for Brucie. WRONG
20 of 25...not too bad. I hate missing Marquette, but the Ali prediction makes up for it. Great first day of action and I hope you saw every minute.