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It’s a Mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad March
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(Yeah, genius, you think of a title, then.) Now that all OU and OSU men’s and women’s teams have been cleared from the NCAA brackets ($%!*&!&*^!@! Salim Stoudamire ), I can safely comment on the basketball action without fear of jinxing anyone. So, some thoughts …

I would really like to root against Utah. Not only did they dump my Gentleman Sooners (how we go from 6 players in double figures to 28% shooting in 2 games is --- well, it pretty much sums up our season, to tell you the truth), but they have Andrew Bogut, this year’s overhyped college sensation. Nothing personal against Mr. Bogut, who I’m sure is a nice kid, and he isn’t a bad player, but I HAAAAAAAATE when an announcer latches onto a player/team and from then on said player/team can do no wrong. And right now, it’s not just a Tim McCarver/Derek Jeter lovefest, it’s nearly every analyst and announcer on CBS and ESPN.

That being said, I have to root for Utah. Why? Because for some insane reason, I picked Utah to get to the Final Four. (Yes, I did pick them to beat OU. I have an old superstition about not picking OU/OSU to get too far in the tourney. Save for the year I picked the Sooner women to get to the finals and they actually did.) I am, so far, the only one outside of Salt Lake City to be crazy enough to do so. I’m certainly the only one in my Dad’s office pool. Did I mention I am winning my Dad’s office pool (at least I was after the first two rounds)? Unfortunately I picked Wake Forest and UConn to get to the finals – and they both lost in the first weekend. So unless my wild card Final Four pick Utah actually gets to the Final Four, everyone else will probably catch up and pass me. Possibly the one good thing about OSU losing last night was that many people did pick them to get to the Final Four or even win it all, so now we’re kind of in the same boat. If Duke and/or North Carolina win, however, I can kiss that (very small and certainly not anything the IRS should worry about) cash prize good-bye.

Plus, I want to WIN. I NEVER win the office pool – I don’t think I’ve ever even been close. I have won the family pool before, but either I didn’t play the office pool or I didn’t turn in the same bracket, or someone’s three year old son picks randomly and beats everyone (true story). Besides, I’m dead last in the family women’s pool at the moment, and at least if I win the men’s pool my brothers have less to rag on me about.

Which is the other thing. I actually follow women’s basketball, to the extent that it’s possible since I don’t have cable. Women’s basketball is supposed to be my area of expertise. Other people in my family pay at least a little bit of attention because, duh, we’re Steens, but I’m supposed to be the one who actually knows if Stanford is the real deal, or if the SEC is overrated. And yet I think I’ve finished last or close to last in the women’s bracket three years in a row. Maybe I think about it too much. After all I still can’t explain what possessed me to pick Vermont to beat Syracuse in the men’s bracket, but I have at least two good reasons for every pick I made in the women’s round. Also? Stupid Texas.

So, in summary, this weekend I will be rooting for the Utah men to win and North Carolina’s men to lose, for mercenary reasons, and the Stanford women and Baylor women to win because Stanford’s playing UConn--hisssssssss -- and well, because Baylor never gets to be good at anything. Plus, someone from the Big XII needs to not choke this year. Stupid Texas. (I just wanted to say it again.)

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