Rant off the bat...
Well, how's your bracket looking?
I can admit that mine isn't in such great shape, but I'm holding steady at around 75 percent. I got 10 of 16 teams still alive, and more importantly, only two of my Elite Eight teams has been eliminated (damn you Xavier and Louisville!).
So, how is this a rant? Well, it's a lame one, but a rant nonetheless.
Dozens of web sites have tourney contests that offer a prize of $1,000,000, but that prize doesn't go to the winner. No, the prize only goes to the winner if that person picks every game correct.
I know it has been done, but trying to pick all 63 games is near-impossible. For example, who had Butler and Auburn both still alive? What havoc would have been wreaked had Blake Stepp's banker against Arizona dropped?
The odds on picking all the games right are astronomical, yet people still go for it every year. Think about it. If you picked all the favorites through to the Sweet 16, then worried about matchups, you'd probably win more pools than you'd lose. But you know that won't happen, so you try to pick upsets hoping to win $1,000,000. I'm here to tell you this: play lotto. Your odds are better.
• The surprise of the NCAA Tournament thus far, aside from Butler and Auburn, has been the solid analysis of Kareem Abdul-Jabber. The former Laker and UCLA star was added to CBS's lineup for this year's tourney, and has more than held his own, despite a lack of previous announcing experience. In fact, the only time he seems to be nervous is when the other announcers insist on bringing up his tournament experiences. Still, he manages to give the credit to his teammates and John Wooden, just another in the good decisions he makes on the air.
• It's only three days until the biggest day in digital television: the debut of ESPN HD. Sure, the FCC ruling to force broadcast networks to have a digital signal by 2005 was important, but consumers have always needed a reason to go digital beyond "Friends." ESPN HD is that reason. Millions of sports fans will shell out the thousands of dollars necessary to watch baseball, basketball and football in high-def. Now, does someone want to lend me, oh, let's say, five large?
Open Mouth, Insert Foot
• The first winner of SportsBytes' weekly "Open Mouth, Insert Foot Award" goes to Martha Burk. Now, I've never agreed with Ms. Burk's (and I'm almost certain she's a Ms., not a Mrs. If she is a Mrs., her husband needs to shut her up ASAP) stance on female membership at Augusta. But saying that CBS agreeing to air The Masters' offends the women fighting in Iraq is just dumb. Equating her cause to the cause of women who struggled for years to fight alongside men is perhaps the supreme stretch. I'm sure the women fighting in Iraq are sitting there thinking "I'm being shot at on a daily basis, but I think the biggest problem in the world is the lack of women members at Augusta National." Yeah, that's it.
eBay Item of the Week
• A 65" Hitachi HDTV with free shipping. Features include 16x9 aspect ratio and DVI input. Buy it now price of $3,099.99. Ends March 30, 3:29 p.m. PST.
• With the NHL playoffs about to start, I'm going to get all hockey out of the way right now. I'm picking the Red Wings to repeat. Now, I promise, no more hockey for quite some time.