The NCAA tournament — that wonderful event that, for a few precious weeks, allows us to push aside more pressing matters so we can puzzle over college basketball brackets — begins in earnest tomorrow. That means it’s crunch time for predicting winners.
Some may make their choices by relying on statistical data such as the RPI and tournament seeding. Others may opt to use Slate’s bracket-decoding system, which breaks down the field based on school colors and mascots.
Then there’s the Celebritology approach to bracketology: considering celebrity alumni when marking down victories.
With that in mind, here are a few of the Hollywood-based face-offs that await us during March Madness. Let their film and TV credits be your guide to choosing which schools will win in the Big Dance. (Note: University of Kentucky alumna and super-fan Ashley Judd has been omitted on the grounds that she’s now more famous for her love of Wildcats basketball than for making movies.)
Rudd vs. Moore: Paul Rudd attended, but did not graduate from, the No. 1-seeded University of Kansas. (He left to enroll in L.A.’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts.) But as a Kansas native, surely he’s pro-Jayhawk. In the first round of the tourney, KU takes on Boston University, which can boast Julianne Moore as one of its alumni. Your bracket choice: “The Kids Are All Right” or “I Love You, Man”?
McConaughey vs. Hasselhoff/Englund: University of Texas alumnus Matthew McConaughey, star of “The Lincoln Lawyer,” regularly cheers on the Longhorns at football games and undoubtedly supports them in hoops as well. In the first round, Texas will play Oakland University, the college attended by both David Hasselhoff and Robert Englund. Your bracket choice: “A Time to Kill” or “Baywatch”/Freddy Krueger?
“Cash Cab” vs. film noir: Ben Bailey, the comedian and host of Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab,” may not be as well known as the other individuals listed here. But he did attendVirginia’s Old Dominion University, which plays Butler in the first round. The most well-known Butler alum, as far as I can tell, is the late actor David Clarke, who appeared in film noir pictures such as “The Narrow Margin” and “The Set-Up” as well as TV shows such as “The Waltons.” Your bracket choice: Obscure game show host vs. obscure character actor.
Sorkin vs. Ives: Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who just won his first Academy Award for penning “The Social Network,” is an alumnus of Syracuse University. If Coach Jim Boeheim’s players can move up and down the court as quickly as Sorkin’s characters talk, they could go far this year. But first, they have to make it past Indiana State University, where Burl Ives once took classes after dropping out of Eastern Illinois University. Your bracket choice: Facebook movie vs. the voice of Sam the Snowman in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Eckhart vs. E!: Aaron Eckhart, who played Two-Face in “The Dark Knight,” attended Brigham Young University. So a BYU pick on your bracket is like a vote for Harvey Dent . . . sort of. BYU is up against Wofford, a school that doesn’t have much in the way of high-profile entertainment figures on its alumni roster. One of the more notable ones is David Bresenham, a producer for E! Your bracket choice: “Battle: Los Angeles” vs. “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Jeong vs. Sykes: Perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that Ken Jeong, the crazy dude from “The Hangover” and “Community,” was once one of the Cameron Crazies. That’s right: Jeong spent his undergrad years at Duke University. But here’s where things get dicey: Jeong earned his medical degree (yes, he really is a doctor) from the University of North Carolina. (Try curing the schizophrenia that must result from having a foot on both sides of that rivalry, Dr. Jeong.) That said, let’s count Jeong as being on the Dukie side, which means his team will play Hampton University in round one. And Hampton’s best-known alumnus is: comedian Wanda Sykes. Forget March Madness. I’d pay good money just to watch Jeong and Sykes play HORSE. Your bracket choice: Leslie Chow from “The Hangover” vs. “Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me.”