The Ottumwa Courier


April 13, 2013

A Big Ten Benedict Arnold

Imagine if all of the nuclear warheads blew up at exactly the same time the sun exploded.

Big deal.

I came back from the most disastrous beginning from an NCAA Basketball Tournament pool in history to win.

Cheers’ Sam Malone once said the “nuclear warheads, sun” line, and I’d always thought it would be a good story lead for a big Ottumwa victory ... “big deal, the Bulldogs just beat such-and-such.” Well, I finally found an opportunity to use it.

As you may know, after the first round, my bracket sheet had more “Xs” on it than a Gary Busey substance abuse questionnaire.

But as they say, “The big points don’t come until later.” I’ve adopted a new philosophy and it works: “Do the opposite.” Seinfeld’s George Costanza demonstrated it, and so I tried it on my bracket sheet this year. The philosophy is “if every instinct you’ve ever had has been wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” It’s so Zen-like. It’s powerful. I’m telling you. This could be my new-age religion!

I’ve always picked heavy on the Big Ten Conference because Iowa’s from the Big Ten, and I’m a Big Ten guy. And this was the year the Big Ten was supposed to be the best conference, so you would think I’d pick all Big Ten teams. The Big Ten actually did pretty well in the tournament, but I would have gotten smoked picking Indiana, Wisconsin or Michigan State.

Instead, “I did the opposite” and picked Louisville to beat Syracuse in the finals.

Saturday in the Final Four semis, I was actually rooting for Michigan to beat Syracuse despite the fact that an Orange win would have clinched the pool for me, as sportswriter Scott “Action” Jackson continued to remind me.

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