So its that time of year again when the snow has finally started to melt away and the sound of birds can once again be heard echoing through the newly flowering trees. Unfortunately, the other thing we have now started to hear echoing is the voice of the inimitable dick vitale. The voice of college basketball and the NCAA tournament is back BABY. Another year of listening to his rants about the quality of the Duke program and coach K...when they aren't even playing. They made the tournament this year...again and as a #2 seed no less. I hope they lose. Don't get me wrong, they have a strong tradition but they are the yankees of college hoops and just the fact that I can reasonably make such a comparison means they must be despised to their very core. Of course, when I fill out my bracket they will do well...not because I favor them but because I know better than to fill it out on tilt. However, my pick for the end...the other ACC powerhouse, North Carolina. Sure, i've only seen two of their games this year but I can already tell that they are going to win it all...its a lock. UMass didn't make the tournament this year, which is good because now I don't feel the obligatory alumni response of pushing them exactly one round further than they could ever be expected to get. There are a few new teams in the tourney this year though and I figure if I've never heard of the school then what are the chances of them actually winning. I mean seriously, is UMBC actually expected to go anywhere or Coppin St., I have absolutely no idea where that even is. I think that all state schools should have at least somewhere in their name, the state that they represent. Another surprise for me was Oral Roberts University, which together with occidental should, in my mind, turn out the finest dentists and orthodontists in the world. In stead they turn out religious right conservatives and california uber-liberals...ahhhhh, the worst of both worlds and neither one has a dental school. Furthermore, neither is going to win the big dance this year. Anyways, we started a pool for the lab /office so people can get their gambling fix in regardless of what deval patrick and sal demassie figure out. I still need to fill out my bracket and I'm thinking about filling it out based solely on the number of graduate students they have. Those with lower percentages of grad students indicate to me that their focus lies elsewhere...like in basketball. Thus the number of grad students is directly proportional to the importance of graduate research to the administration and thus inversely proportional to the quality of the athletic program for a good example see WPI Div III champions in lots of stuff. The inverse being UMass...lots of grad students but a somewhat lackluster athletic program ( I know the swimming team and gymnastics teams are both top notch but nobody really pays attention to them anyways.) Following the tournament, an update will follow as to how my strategy turned out relative to random guessing and picking higher seeds. Patrick OUT!!!