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It’s that time again, that time of year when even the most casual of sports fans (or even non-fans) start paying attention to the wild and wooly world of college hoops.

That’s right, folks. NCAA tourney time is upon us.

Selection Sunday is just around the corner, so I thought I might try to get some thoughts out there far enough in advance for you fine folks to take advantage when the time comes to fill out your own brackets.

(Please bear in mind - I’m no expert when it comes to the college hardwood. However, I do have a touch of the degenerate gambler about me, so … take that for whatever you like.)

We all know the drill at this point: you pony up a bit of cash or sign up for a contest and fill out your own copy of the bracket, picking winners all the way through the tournament, up to and including the 2020 champion. If you make the best picks, you win the pot.

Of course, with over 9 quintillion ways to fill out a bracket, the odds are not in your favor. But hey - there’s always a chance.

Here are a few of my (very basic) observations with regards to the sweet science of bracketology.

Published in Sports

There are few times on the American sports calendar as eagerly anticipated as March Madness. The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most celebrated sporting stretches of the year, with teams from all over the country harboring hopes of championship glory.

Now, the reality of the tournament is that, while there will be 64 teams that gain entry to the bracket (68, technically, when you take the play-in games into account), only a handful of those have realistic aspirations of winning it all. For the majority of these teams, the real victory is getting there in the first place.

A handful of those hopefuls serve as the primary subjects for legendary sportswriter John Feinstein’s newest book “The Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season” (Doubleday, $27.95). It’s a look at the teams and people who live the college game off the beaten path. Sure, there’s some mention of the Dukes and Kentuckys and Virginias of the world, but this book isn’t about them – it’s about the teams grinding it out in conferences where if you don’t win the whole thing, you have no shot at The Dance.

Published in Sports

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