The NCAA tournament tips off this week with 68 teams competing for a championship. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: I think everything should be decided by brackets. Which movie should we watch tonight? Line up a bracket of eight DVDs on the floor. What should we have for dinner? Empty out the fridge and set up 16 ingredients on the counter. Life would be more fun that way.
Styf: The real winner here is CBS, and gambling in general. People will watch and people will talk mind-numbingly about their brackets over the next week. My eyes will glaze over it every time, like when you just wrote 68 teams. I was around a team that had a Tuesday “first round” game two years ago. They didn’t win and their coach (Pat Knight) has been fired since. It was a big game, but no one really considers a team in it until they play Thursday or Friday.
Musick: Pat Knight ... bad guy? He has to be a bad guy, right?
Styf: Not biting on that. He was nothing but open and gracious with us. He was candid, he wanted the best for his players, got nothing but respect for him despite his team’s failure to win, even with Don Mattingly’s kid (Preston) and a guard from Madison, Wis., named Nimrod on the roster. Back to this year’s tournament, I guess we can’t have any bets on whether my school (Michigan State) beats yours (Illinois), right?
Musick: So Pat Knight is a good guy? Is that official? Anyway, you can hang out with Mateen Cleaves and the rest of the Flintstones, but I have the best of both worlds this month. Because my Fighting Illini are Final Four contenders (cough-NIT-cough), while my hometown Saint Louis Billikens once again have proved that they can compete with the big-kid schools. By the way, do we know if Tom Izzo is back with Sparty? Or is he still in McHenry?
Styf: I’ll just ignore that, and tell you I’m the guy who won’t be filling out a bracket this year. Can’t remember the last time I did. I won’t win Warren Buffett’s money, and I won’t be glued to four days of games. Heck, I’ll probably be at home watching Blue’s Clues with my kids instead. It’s not a moral stand, it’s just that I don’t want to become that guy. I take it too seriously when I have something, anything, at stake. And that doesn’t look good on me.
Musick: Time for a Blue’s Clues tournament, then. I’ve got Blue as the clear-cut No. 1 seed vs. Magenta, the No. 16 seed. I’m also really looking forward to No. 8 seed Mrs. Pepper taking on No. 9 seed Mr. Salt. Your thoughts?
Styf: I’ve got Mailbox, always a winner in my book. But I also have Steve beating Joe. I’m surprised that wasn’t the 1 vs. 16 matchup. My favorite part of each year is rooting for the 16s, which I wouldn’t do in that case. I was the kid who called in sick the first Thursday and Friday every year in school. After about five years, my mom finally caught on. But it didn’t stop. Eventually, by my senior year, I was able to check myself out of school. Those were the days ...
Musick: It’s never too late to jump back on the NCAA tournament bandwagon. Pat Knight is driving. (He needed a job.)