Earning my master's in bracketology

March 28, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

"Wanna bet your lunch money?"

That's what my ninth-grade civics teacher would always ask whenever a student was maybe a tad bit overly confident with an answer in the classroom.

Right or wrong, I was a growing boy and civics was a late-morning class. No way I was betting.

Well, Mr. Norcross, I'm finally up for the wager. It's not that my appetite's diminished, I'm just ... feeling it.

Feeling it like Drew Nicholas' buzzer-beating trey for Maryland, or Butler advancing to the Sweet 16, or Syracuse rallying back from a 17-point first-half deficit against Oklahoma State, or Wisconsin coming back from 13 down in the last four minutes against Tulsa, or Big East one-and-done Notre Dame knocking off Big Ten tourney champ Illinois.

All of the above scored me points in our March Madness office pool, the one I'm currently leading.

I went 30-2 in round one, with all of my Sweet 16 teams surviving. I went 13-3 in round two, with all of my Elite Eight still alive.


Wanna get rich? E-mail me and I'll give you some lotto numbers. Forget the odds on the Charles Town entries, I'm making my own. Today's Line, Mason's Line.

My head is so swelled that I need a new hat.

If you're starting fresh with a Sweet 16 pool, here's who to pick: Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Duke, Connecticut, Maryland, Oklahoma and Syracuse.

Final four: Pitt, Arizona, Maryland and Syracuse. Final: Syracuse over Arizona (159 total points).

Why the Orangemen? Because freshman guard Gerry McNamara's my favorite college player. Why him? He's the only player in the whole bracket I ever covered when he was in high school (and he was quite polite, after dumping 55 points on Trinity in the PIAA state semis last March).

Need a better reason, you should probably read someone else's column. I have no degree in bracketology, just a belly full of mojo.

Which I'll probably end up needing to hold me over until supper.

* Speaking of hoops madness (and Trinity), apparently things got way out of control in Trinity's 66-49 Class AA state final win over Sto-Rox at Hershey's Giant Center last weekend.

A bench- and stands-clearing brawl on the court in the second quarter, a pair of subsequent ejections, hands full of pointing fingers afterwards, a current PIAA investigation and an upcoming hearing - all that in what should have been the highlight reel of these young men's lives.

Had I won a lunch on either team, it would have come back up.

* Go Syracuse!

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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