Buck Back Gack

We had our annual Buck Back draft the other day, and I think I gagged big time.

Long-time readers may recall that I play in an alternative approach to NCAA pools called the Buck Back.  Rather than trying to forecast the results of every game, eight of us put in eight bucks each, select eight teams in a serpentine draft, and then get $1 — i.e., a buck back — every time one of our teams wins. The Buck Back during March Madness is now a time-honored tradition.

This year the draft was the hardest ever, because it’s impossible to have great confidence that any team is going to do well in the tournament.  Every school has struggled at some point during the season, and every team has weaknesses.

I drafted fourth, and I look at my teams and wonder whether I’ll win even a few games, much less break even.  My first pick was Indiana, which stumbled to the finish line, and my second pick was Michigan, which also struggled in the last half of the season.  Both have talented players, but which teams will show up — the early season world-beaters, or the battered squads that limped home?  My third-round pick was Memphis, which plays in one of the weakest conferences in the country, and my fourth selection was Wichita State, which has to start the Tournament against a tough Pitt team.  My later round picks — San Diego State, Cincinnati, Montana, and Iona — all are question marks.

So I sit, waiting for the Big Dance to start in earnest tomorrow, and I wonder whether my entire Buck Back draft was a choke.  I’ll bet I’m not the only one who feels that way — and I can’t wait for the Tournament to start.

Big Dance, Meet Columbus

Columbus gets some first-hand exposure to March Madness this weekend, as the NCAA Tournament comes to town.

Four games will be played today in Nationwide Arena, and the winners will match up in two games on Sunday.  Among the teams who will be playing are Michigan State, Georgetown, North Carolina State, and Memphis, so we’ll be seeing lots of Spartan green — well-time for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow — Hoya blue, and Wolfpack red, among other school colors, over the next few days.  I’ve already noticed fans of the some of the teams, proudly wearing their gear, in the downtown area.

It’s great to have NCAA Tournament games played in Columbus.  It’s good for the local economy, good for our fair city’s national visibility, and good for local sports fans who just want to see some top-flight college basketball.  Unfortunately, it’s a rainy day today — but because the games will be played indoors, we’ll hope that the showers don’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for their visit.  Have fun, folks, and come back again!