So now the NCAA tournament is set, and it's time to begin the arduous process of deciding which team will reduce your bracket to a smoking crater decorated with random bits of John Wall ...
But first, a few first-blush thoughts:
* I swear, Mike Krzyzewski has a leg-breaker on the selection committee. Not only does Duke get a No. 1 seed it doesn't deserve (West Virginia should have gotten it), it draws the easiest path to the Final Four. Plus, half the Duke student body will all grow up to be corporate attorneys pulling down millions. Life is not fair.
* Butler is the new Gonzaga. Remember when they were the charming little engine that could? Now, like Gonzaga, they're a Madness perennial -- a fifth seed a lot of the smart guys are thinking could be the victim of a first-round upset at the hands of UTEP.
* As you'll find out in the dinosaur editions tomorrow, I'm a huge Wofford fan. I'm also a huge Vermont fan, and a huge Wintrhop fan, and huge Lehigh fan. I love the little guys, all those Sienas and Cornells and Robert Morrises. They give the tournament its character.
* I can't see either Purdue or Notre Dame reaching the Sweet Sixteen. The Boilermakers could have their hands full with under-seeded Siena in the first round, and will definitely be up against it against Texas A&M in the second round if the form chart holds. And the Fighting Irish will beat Old Dominion but likely fall to Baylor in Round Two.
* Against all logic, people are telling me to watch out for Texas. Yes, the Longhorns have totally gone south and were last seen bickering among themselves as Baylor floor-waxed 'em in the Big 12 tournament, but if they get their act together they've got some dangerous, dangerous athletes who can put a hurtin' on you. Or so the thinking goes.