ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Monday, March 25, 2013

To Fire or Not to Fire, That is the Question

Do you guys remember last Friday, the second day of this iteration of March Madness, when the 6th-seeded UCLA Bruins, coached by Ben Howland, played the 11th-seeded Minnesota Gophers, coached by Tubby Smith? Did you watch the game either hoping that your favorite team would pull it out, or that whatever semblance of a respectable bracket you had left would remain intact? Well, guess what, that game didn’t matter at all. In fact, that game may have been the least significant game in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Why, you might ask? Well, because, regardless of who won, neither UCLA nor Minnesota was winning the national championship, your bracket is already screwed, and both coaches were going to get fired. On Friday night, the underdog Minnesota won. They followed the victory with a loss to 3rd-seeded Florida, and Tubby Smith promptly got canned. The moral of the story is that no matter the outcome of that round one game against UCLA, Minnesota’s board of directors had already deemed the season a failure, and were determined to give their head coach the pink slip. On the other side, UCLA's loss resulted in the unceremonious firing of Ben Howland. Now, does anybody out there think Howland was going to keep his job if he lost to Florida? Does anybody think UCLA could have beaten Florida? I don't think so. Therefore the predetermined result of this game was that no matter who won, both teams were going to lose in the next round and end up firing their coach.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Region Preview: East

It’s March, meaning it’s that time of year where everyone needs to know what they are talking about when it comes to college basketball. Whether it is at the water cooler, the lunch table, the classroom, or the bar you can’t be that one idiot in your group of friends who gets no respect. That’s why the benevolent writers here at are providing you with region by region previews to make you seem like (insert favorite college basketball analyst here not named Digger Phelps). Obviously, no guarantees in this craziest of seasons, but the more information you have, the better off you'll be. Without further ado, I give you the East.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Region Preview: Midwest

   Bracketology Baby.  You have until Thursday morning to lock in your picks.  To those who just pick based on the hotness of team cheerleaders or the color schemes of uniforms, let me say a few words.  If you were taking the Bar exam on thursday, would you choose answers based on preposterous criteria?  Would you blow off studying to watch re-runs of an old tv show or go on a date with your girlfriend?  Obviously, the answer to these questions is no.  You may need to be anti-social for a few days, but that's okay!  Study up.  Read my analysis, read my stats, and decipher what advice you like and what advice you despise.  Also be sure to check my clear-cut Midwest bracket at the end of the article.  You need to construct the best possible bracket before Thursday.  This is more important than becoming a lawyer.  A perfect bracket is immortality.

  I now present my Region Preview.
      Player to Watch- 

Region Preview: South

     How sweet it is to make a big run in the big dance.  When college basketball is in the spotlight of America, any little known player or team can make them self known.  I wish my team (Cornell) had won the Ivy.  I would have been able to travel with the team like the broadcasters of the miraculous team of 2010 did.  Unfortunately for me, I just get to be a spectator of this years NCAA tournament.  Hopefully in my future years at Cornell I will be able to travel with the team to a NCAA tournament appearance.  My fan-hood now lies with Michigan in this tournament.  Hoping for a big run by the Blue out of the South Region.

And now for my South Region Preview:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Region Preview: West

Just a quick note before we start: My friend has a charitable initiative that he's combining with March Madness. His brother died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as an infant, and he's started something to raise money for research to combat the disease. The website is run by a student group at Duke on their funds, so 100% of the donations go to charity. 50% of donations go to fight SIDS, while the top 5 brackets get to designate a charity for 10% of the donations each. The minimum donation is only $2. Obviously, he really appreciates anybody who participates and spreads the word. If this is something that interests you, please follow this link and help a good cause during this March Madness.

And now for the actual preview...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jake's Declassified March Madness Survival Guide

Before you read this article it is very important to understand one thing, I watch College Basketball. I don't just watch games where two top-10 teams are playing, or Duke vs. Carolina, or watch Sports Center highlights and say, "wow, Doug McDermott on Creighton is totally the best scorer in the nation, his game is so versatile"1 I watch the small conference tournaments, I watch mid-majors play, and I actually enjoy watching two unranked teams playing each other. This has been the case for years, and while it usually insures that I fail miserably at March Madness (I overthink literally every matchup). It does mean that I am qualified to tell you a few things that every bracketeer2 must know, and then let you do the rest.

The Four Best Teams in the Country (Not in Order)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Win the Pool; Swim in the Money

     March Madness.  The best time of the year.  What December is to Christmas, March is to College Basketball.  In fact, I find various eerie similarities between X-Mas and The Big Dance.  First, you got Santa Claus and Joe Lunardi who are both the faces of their respective fields.  Without Santa, little kids would be leaving cookies and carrots out for only reindeer to devour.  Without Joe Lunardi, we would not know which teams would be in the field until Selection Sunday.  This segues me into my next comparison, Christmas Eve and Selection Sunday.  Both holidays (yes I said holidays) give a taste of what is coming.  On Christmas Eve, Santa frantically tries to get gifts to every (Catholic) person's house throughout the world.  On Selection Sunday, Joe Lunardi frantically tries to retrace his steps and figure out how he missed on predicting 1 of the 64 squads.  Both holidays (yes I said holidays) preview what is on the horizon.

The resemblance is uncanny.  Guy on the left is basically the bracketologist with a mustache and beard. 1

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"You Win... or You Die"

I woke up today and watched the trailer for the new season of Game of Thrones a grand total of five times this morning. I swear I only intended to watch it once and move on with my day, but the replay button is just so damn convenient. (Try it. I insist.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Social Media Ramblings

    In the modern world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all that other junk, there is no doubt that people are more connected than ever before.  Does Social Media make the revelation and dissemination of news quicker and more exciting?  Absolutely.  Does Social Media afford for an increase in social interaction, enabling physically separated individuals to maintain camaraderie?  Of Course.  Does Social Media perpetuate social stereotypes and stigmas while also narrowing the borders between different social cliques? Yes, this is true.

    In this piece, I will tackle some of the "most difficult" social-media-based decisions people deal with daily.  To be clear, I will be using the literary technique of hyperbole, breaking down these minuscule decisions by peering into an individual's thought processes.  Although this is meant to be a satire, it can not be denied that people do engage in some of these cognitive processes when making these choices.  Without further ado, I present my top 3 dilemmas.