It?s time for the collegiate cuckoo?s nest

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO,

Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) -- It is affectionately known as March Madness and, this year, the caption for the insanity that fills arenas from coast to coast is appropriate more so than in tournaments past. The more fitting rubric is probably The Cuckoo?s Nest of College Basketball, with visions of Jack Nicholson heading up the Selection Committee.

Speaking of that committee, they were castigated mightily for a host of choices made and schools denied access to the bracketing but they are sitting back right now, smiling broadly and wondering how they could ever have been correct in allowing some of the entrants to actually suit up, no less make the trip to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Oakland, Washington D.C., and Minneapolis in quest of final plane and hotel reservations in Indianapolis.

Albany creating cramps the likes of which Jim Calhoun had not experienced since his last sojourn to a Taco Bell that was going out of business. Connecticut, a 21-point favorite, actually losing by double digits early on and then sweating it out in the final moments to go on to the next round. Villanova, another #1 seed, having its hands full against Monmouth, where fans and TV watchers all took note that Jay Wright might not have the answer with a four-guard offense and little, or no, rebounding.

Jay Wright
Villanova had its hands full against Monmouth and spectators took note that Jay Wright might not have the answer with a four-guard offense and little, or no, rebounding.
Sportsbooks in Nevada and Costa Rica had to be salivating over all the underdogs that were either winning outright or keeping the game(s) close enough to create proof positive that the public, inveterate chalk, or favorite, bettors should not be looking for the mortgage to the farm when a team like Michigan State faces George Mason or the hot shooting hands draped in the orange of Syracuse run into Texas A&M, experts in agriculture and mining as much as they are in defense of the hoop. Yes, my bracket choices had Syracuse and Michigan State. No secret there.

Iowa gets shot down by Northwestern State? Please, don?t tell me that you have ever even heard of them! Get serious. Forget the incredible shot that did it as the clock ticked down to the final second. It should never have gotten that far. OK, you had Kansas winning the first two rounds before making its untimely exit but heading home after encountering Bradley? Yours truly had Iowa getting beat by Texas in the Sweet Sixteen round (now there?s an original name) and Kansas caving into Pitt but it will be Bradley doing so.

The Tar Heels of North Carolina staggered out of the arena in D.C. after a four-point win over Murray State? I am not telling you anything that you don?t already know but have we over-estimated the allegedly better teams or simply under-estimated the ones that Jim Nantz, Billy Packer and lots of other people said never should have been invited?

There is a lesson to be learned and coaches, players and bettors have been properly educated. Where that takes any of them is open to conjecture. The bottom line is to not take any of the lesser teams, or any team, lightly. For example, Duke should come out shooting this afternoon, as they have been doing, and put George Washington out of its misery; Florida will send UW-Milwaukee home; Tennessee will squeeze out a victory against Wichita State; Illinois and Washington are likely to go down to the wire; I wouldn?t touch LSU and Texas A&M with your money since both are unpredictable; Boston College will bag the Grizzlies of Montana and add them to its trophy room despite the inept coaching of Al Skinner under which they labor and the schoolyard antics of Tyrese Rice; UCLA and Gonzaga figure to coast, no pun intended, given their respective school locales.

Al Skinner
Boston College will bag the Grizzlies of Montana and add them to its trophy room despite the inept coaching of Al Skinner under which they labor.
It is now time, not as was done in the early
round(s), to go with the favorites provided that they are not giving away 15-20 points. This is the point at which oddsmakers draw blood scratching their hands out of frustration. In other words, anyone watching the early games has realized that nonchalance is not the order of the day. A killer instinct is. Forget courtesy and roll up the points, coast into the final 10 minutes up by 15, practice foul shots until maintenance turns out the lights at the arena and then put a hoop up in your room at the hotel, in the lobby or the parking lot.

I have it as Duke and Florida in the championship game with Villanova getting knocked out earlier than anticipated, UCLA losing to Duke before they exit and Connecticut, the favorite of many, not making it to the Final Four. Winner of it all? The Blue Devils. If they had one more big man starting I would make it a no contest. They have Shelden Williams and he does a whale of a job. More playing time to Josh McRoberts just might do it but, then again, if J.J. Redick gets as hot as he is capable of doing at any given time in a game, it is lights out for whomever they are playing.

How many weeks until opening day of MLB and then, can the NFL be far behind? If Nurse Mildred Ratched was running this mental institution, or any of its teams instead of the Cuckoo?s Nest that Jack Nicholson used to vault to fame, I might change my mind. By the way, I had 11 losers in the first round, which was nothing to write home about so keep that in mind when reading the above. Is Duke a mortal lock? You gotta be kidding!

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