Get a grip on a bracket racket

March 18, 2008 6:00 PM
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Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond | Before we get to the juicy part of whoís going to win your brackets, what a week this was for all the diehard college basketball fans. There were upsets, great plays, buzzer beaters and most of all a mediocre Georgia team that came into the tourney with zero chance of advancing in the SEC, but advance they did.

The Bulldogs won four games in three days with one day winning two games. Thatís the beauty of college sports.

Incidentally, hopefully somebody played all of the unders in the Big Ten; as advertised they canít score and donít event try.

Okay, so hereís the deal for your first 48 tournament games: Iíll try to pick who will be a member of the "Sweet 16."

Please remember that these selections are for wins only, regardless of point spreads, of which I have no knowledge of at this writing. As you will note, Iíve selected 11 winners in their first games that figure to be underdogs as they have a higher seed than their opponents.

My "1" and "2" notation means: the team will win either one game (one and done) or two games and advance to the Sweet 16.

East: North Carolina, 2; Arkansas,1; Notre Dame, 2; Wash State, 1; Tennessee, 2; Butler -1; Louisville, 2; St Joe, 1.

West: UCLA, 2; Texas A&M, 1; Drake, 1; Connecticut, 2; Duke, 2; West VA, 1; Xavier, 2; Baylor, 1.

Midwest: Kansas, 2; Kent State, 1; Wisconsin, 1; Kansas State, 2; Clemson, 2; Vanderbilt, 1; Georgetown, 1; Davidson, 2.

South: Memphis, 2; Oregon, 1; Texas, 2; St. Maryís, 1; Temple, 1; Pitt, 2; Stanford, 2; Kentucky, 1.

For the past two or three weeks my selections in GamingToday have been sizzling, and I was filled with the expectations of calls from Jim Feist or Wayne Allen Root, but was befuddled by their total disregard of my handicapping prowess.

Then came the Big East Conference Tournament, and I began to realize what they obviously knew already. I selected Louisville to win and Notre Dame to place, and berated Georgetown as a "counterfeit team."

Well, both my teams lost their very first game. Talk about "humble pie." The Big East Tourney made me eat it in a hurry!

A word about the other side of the coin in the baseball world. In a few articles Iíve mentioned the overpayment of a few baseball players based upon their previous yearís production, such as the American League shortstop hitting .240, and a relief pitcher with a 5+ ERA, and each signing this season for a salary for $4-5 million.

Well, hereís the other side, which is even more out of line: Prince Fielder of the Brewers had 50 home runs and knocked in 119 runs last year, and signed this year for $670,000. On the same team last season Ryan Braun, who was the NL Rookie of the Year, and hit .324 with 34 home runs and 97 RBIs last year, is getting a paltry $455,000.

True the Milwaukee club is a small market team, but these two potential superstars help bring in the crowds as the Brewers were in the pennant race all the way to September.

How about Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins getting $439,000, after hitting .332 with 29 homers, 81 RBIs and 51 stolen bases?

I know that nobody likes agents in Major League Baseball, but the facts are the facts, Jack! Due to the revenue sharing plan in baseball, the owners get to put many dollars in their pockets, as their equity in their respective teams continues to increase (unlike the equity in our homes), and the fans continue to come out to the old ball park. "Is this any way to run an airline?"

I guess it is!

Have a great week!