Baskets and brackets |

Baskets and brackets

Core Samples

The pressure is mounting! Brackets have to be filled out by Thursday morning and chunks of change are on the line. This year, out here where the states are square and oftentimes trapezoidal, the Southwestern Regional seems to be garnering more than its usual share of attention.

The opening-round rivalry matchup of Chaffetz-Bishop University, champion of the Dystrumpian Symposia, taking on the underdog Grass Roots Institute, upset winners of the Actually Educated Conference, has advanced tickets flying off the shelves.

Word has it the officials will be using an alternative timepiece during this one.

No word has come down as of yet on an impending investigation into the “highly suspicious” microwave oven that was found in the CBU hotel conference room. Nor has the origin of the leak that purported that the oven’s operational integrity couldn’t have cooked Trump’s Chick-fil-A side dish let alone Obama’s goose. Sad.

Being a negative sort, you know, the kind that never sees light at the end of a tunnel or a silver lining of any persuasion in a cloudscape, I figure that the game is already “fixed” — rigged, as it were.

So, in order to get a leg up on the situation, I removed Jean Paul Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” from the “hefty” end of the Existentialist section of the bathroom bookshelf. Utilizing its obvious strength in the horizontal plane, it will be upon this that I shall balance my Scotch glass as the competition plays out.

Due to a general lack of deductive powers, I am actually one of those who does much better following his heart rather than his head in selecting winners in the annual “hoop-la” known as the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship or “March Madness” as it has come to be called.

So, although by this stage of events I should know better, in the featured head-to-head matchup, I’m going to go with the lads with pocket protectors sewn into their uniform jerseys and slide rules hanging out of their baggy shorts to upset the hybrid Armani/Carhartt crowd. I’m not known as the “Kiss of Death” for nothing.

Usually, as I size up the brackets and begin selecting first-round winners, I at least have a notion that I’m somewhere on the north side of Clueless. Not this year, however. Where normally I might flaunt some sort of “Cogito ergo sum,” (I think, therefore I am) this year it’s more like “Hebes sum et suffragia fero,” (I’m dumb and I vote).

The collegiate hoopsters I most often root for are the USC Trojans. This year, it would seem, if I’m interpreting the brackets correctly, they must first defeat Providence in a “play in” game in order to get a shot at SMU in the opening round. I love that! Somehow, Schrödinger’s cat must have a mascot role in this matchup.

The fact that USC somehow managed to make it in to the tournament at all is a puzzler. Possibly some of their wins were “quality” because it certainly didn’t seem that as the season wore on, “quantity” had much more than a cameo. Surprisingly, no schools from Utah made the cut. That’s almost unheard of.

On the upside, three of my longstanding favorite hoops traditions — Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga — all received number one seeds. Now, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t pick them to make it all the way to the Final Four. My uncle put in some time at “Gonzie” as I recall while I put in a short stretch at G-Prep.

I’m not sure why I formed such an allegiance as I have with the Jayhawks but I’ve always just liked them. Certainly I liked Wilt and Danny Manning and the chunks of change that found their way to my coffers the few times I had them winning it all. North Carolina would also neatly fit into that latter category.

Wait, I just noticed I have another game outcome to care about. Arkansas is playing Seaton Hall and since the state associated with the former is currently making an effort to remove all books written by Howard Zinn, one of my heroes, from libraries and schools within its borders, I must put a pox upon their house and pick them to win.

It’s March Madness, baby, and I’m out to prove once and for all that ignorance is truly bliss. Having not, as yet, filled out my bracket, it seems rather peculiar that I would hope for Gonzaga and Kansas to meet in the final because, brackets being what they are, it might not align that way.
No matter. My bracket will find itself duly busted very early on. The hoops Gods wouldn’t have it any other way, and who am I to argue.

Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.

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