It’s tails! North Dakota State!
George Washington would have been a pretty good point guard for a college basketball team.
He stood somewhere between six foot one and six foot three, depending upon who you believe. College teams are notorious for listing their players as taller and packing more poundage than they really do, so we’ll say George was 6-3.
At 6-3, he undoubtedly had quite a wing span, which would have made him a real shut-down defender, as those TV analysts like to say.
And, most importantly, we know he was a leader. Just think about his commanding presence during a timeout, and his calm demeanor bringing the ball up court as the last few seconds ticked away with his team down by a point. Who else would you want taking the last shot?
Heck, he was such a calm and confident leader that he could have been called “The Iceman” years before George Gervin claimed that moniker.
So while George Washington went on to do some remarkable things, including earning the one-of-a-kind title of “Father of Our Country” which hands down trumps “The Iceman” I’m here to tell you there’s one area where he falls woefully short of greatness.
When it comes to prognosticating the March Madness bracket, when it comes to picking the right partner for the Big Dance, George has two left feet.
I didn’t want to spend hours, or even minutes, agonizing over whether I made the right choice in the first-round matchup between Cincinnati and Harvard or if this is the year a 16-seed finally topples a number-one seed.
So I reached into my pocket, pulled out a quarter, looked at George’s stoic face or is that a smirk? and started spinning.
If it’s heads, the higher seed advances.
If it’s tails, the higher seed is banished into eternal embarrassment and the lower seed keeps playing.
If, in the later rounds, both teams are seeded the same well, I would worry about that if it happened (which it didn’t).
In less than 15 minutes of spinning, George’s work was finished and so was my bracket.
George was a big believer in the little guy overcoming staggering odds to defeat the favorite. Don’t believe me? Just look at what the underdogs he led did against the British army!
So, out in the first round on face-down spins are Florida, Pittsburgh, Ohio State (that’s a good thing, right?), Louisville and Michigan, along with 27 other teams including one known, ironically, as George Washington University.
Teams surviving until the Elite Eight are Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, Creighton, St. Joseph’s and surprise, surprise two teams from George’s home state of Virginia: Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Virginia.
The eighth “elite” team, thanks to a couple more face-down spins, is George’s pick to win the title, hoist the trophy, and bask in the applause and adulation of an entire nation.
That team is I’m not kidding North Dakota State. No seriously, I’m not kidding.
Hail the Bison!
Bison, apparently, is the plural of bison, just as deer is the plural of deer.
Anyway, these Bison, who have won 14 of their last 15 games, qualified by winning the Summit League post-season tournament in convincing style: a 60-57 pummeling of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Okay, so now George’s bracket is set and I can move on to filling out my bracket for the office pool. I just need a little help from someone who will give me straight-forward, honest counsel on those eight versus nine matchups.
Does anybody have a penny I can borrow?
Tom Schultz, the Times Observer’s city editor, is a college basketball fan, especially in March.