I've always wanted to be in one of those pools where you have a snake draft for the NCAA field; eight people get eight teams each, and whoever winds up with the champion wins. Apparently something similar can be done with the Sweet 16 field. While waiting for someone to invite me into some such pool, here are my draft board rankings, led with my four Final Four teams, just in an attempt to show some measure of consistency. If seven bloggers volunteer to participate, we can have an eight-person snake draft in which we each get two teams, which would be fine by me. Or four people-four teams, I guess.
3. UCLA (Note: Pac-10 record on the first weekend over the past two seasons: 12-5. Big-10 record on the first weekend over the past two seasons: 9-11. Why do I always forget these things?)
4. Texas A&M
6. North Carolina
7. Ohio State (Note: I had them losing to Xavier in three of my five pools. That ending shredded my heart into Heart Lo Mein. Threatened to ruin Saturday's action for me, until every other game wound up being so tremendous. But how was that not an intentional foul on Greg Oden? Bizarre. Also, it's worth pointing out that I had already composed about half of my entry pointing out how brilliant I am, and how much smarter I am than the Ohio State-loving Feinstein by the time Xavier blew the last sad vestiges of that lead.)
9. Southern Illinois (Random fact: Non-BCS schools are 21-75 against BCS schools in the first round over the past four years. Go ahead, blame it on the hotels. My own view: BCS teams are better than non-BCS teams. But I still love the CAAZone. And non-BCS teams have gone 6-8 against BCS teams in the past two second rounds.)
11. Memphis (Note: For as long as I can remember, I've picked against C-USA schools early and often in the tournament. Like, I had Marquette going out in the second round in all my pools during the D-Wade year. That worked out well. I also had Memphis losing in the second round in all five of my pools this year, to either Creighton or Nevada. That worked out well, too.)
12. Southern Cal
13. Vandy (Note: I just love to death the end of this Vandy-WSU live blog by PhilipVU94: "Too exciting to blog." That, friends, is the new measure of sports excellence.)
15. UNLV (Note: Some people, like Dan Shanoff, argue that there is wisdom in group think when it comes to tourney picks. Georgia Tech over UNLV was by far the most popular first-round upset in the washingtonpost.com tourney pool. That worked out well, too.)
Discuss, if you want, or just point out how much I'm biased against Georgetown. In a rare sop, I will agree with the Hoya persons who ask why the WaPo had no columnist with the Hoyas during the first two rounds. Despite my hopes for an all-Local Final Four, the Hoyas were obviously the best bet to go to Atlanta, and you'd have thought they'd have merited a Post columnist from day one. I can pretty much promise that the Hoyas will have a full-time blogger with them in Atlanta if they go.
Celeb Pool update: 1. Russ Thaler of Comcast SportsyNet (with whom I'll be chatting Live Online Monday). 2. Brent Harris of Comcast SportsyNet. 3. Antawn Jamison (whose picks I initially mocked, sorry man). 4. Josh Barr of Recruiting Insider. 5t. Miss DC (whose e-mail accepting entry into the pool read in part, "I'm sure to be an embarrassment, but always up for some fun!") and Michael Jenkins of Comcast SportsyNet, whom I recently raced while wearing a Giant Racing President costume. Last place: three-way tie between Rock Cartwright, JP of the Junkies and Ben Olsen.