The NCAA men’s basketball tournament brackets were released yesterday thus is time for my annual rite of spring: losing money in the office pool. This year I know even less about the teams, but the good news is that the field is more unpredictable than ever. So let’s just go by something I actually know a little about. Behold, the Detroit Tigers bracket! Hey, it can’t possibly be worse than picking teams by mascots or uniform colors or by who Digger Phelps likes.
ROUND ONE (No, we aren’t dealing with that play-in round bullpoo)
(1) Louisville (29-5)
(16) NC A&T (19-16)/Liberty (15-20)
Ever heard of a Louisville Slugger? Duh. Cardinals advance.
(8) Colorado State (25-8)
(9) Missouri (23-10)
Max Scherzer is a Missouri alum. No brainer.
(5) Oklahoma State (24-8)
(12) Oregon (26-8)
Andy Oliver and Robbie Weinhardt both went to OSU. So, OSU then? Sure, I suppose.
(4) Saint Louis (27-6)
(13) New Mexico State (24-10)
After 2006 any Tigers bracket may not have a team from Saint Louis. New Mexico State wins.
(6) Memphis (30-4)
(11) Mid Tenn (28-5)/St. Mary’s (27-6)
The Tigers hold an Elvis night at Comerica every year. Memphis moves on.
(3) Michigan State (25-8)
(14) Valparaiso (26-7)
The Tigers play in the state of Michigan and Michigan State plays in the state of Michigan. Michigan State wins.
(7) Creighton (27-7)
(10) Cincinnati (22-11)
Creighton’s mascot is the Blue Jays.We can’t have that. Plus Lance “Bull” Durham, Tigers minor leaguer and son of Leon “Bull” Durham, went to Cincinnati. Bearcats advance.
(2) Duke (27-5)
(15) Albany (24-10)
Ryan Jackson was a first basemen who went to Duke and played for the Tigers in 2001 and 2002. As a Tiger he hit .218. Ok, not impressive but good enough to move past freakin’ Albany.
(1) Gonzaga (31-2)
(16) Southern University (23-9)
“On September 14, 1910, Dave Skeels became the first Gonzaga player to appear in the major leagues when he pitched in a game for the Detroit Tigers.” Thanks Wikipedia, good enough for me.
(8) Pittsburgh (24-8)
(9) Wichita State (26-8)
Andy Dirks played for Wichita State. Despite our coaching staff’s previous links to the Steel City, Just A Ballplayer muscles the Shockers past Pitt.
(5) Wisconsin (23-11)
(12) Ole Miss (26-8)
Zach Kirksey, Tigers prospect, is a an Ole Miss alum. Good enough? Sure.
(4) Kansas State (27-7)
(13) Boise St. (21-10)/La Salle (21-9)
Kansas State alum Elden Auker, legendary submarine-style pitcher for the Tigers, once struck out Babe Ruth. Good enough for me. KSU moves on.
(6) Arizona (25-7)
(11) Belmont (26-6)
Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry came out of the University of Arizona. Belmont advances by default.
(3) New Mexico (29-5)
(14) Harvard (19-9)
Harvard people are smart. Thinking only hurts the team. New Mexico wins.
(7) Notre Dame (25-9)
(10) Iowa State (22-11)
Mike Myers, a submarine pitcher who played for the Tigers between 1995 and 1997, went to Iowa State. However Notre Dame produced Aileen Villarreal who is a Tigers media relations staff member and curator of the @TigresdeDetroit twitter account. Tie breaker? The ND head football coach shares a last name with Donnie Kelly. The Irish advance.
(2) Ohio State (26-7)
(15) Iona (20-13)
Ohio State doesn’t have many friends in Michigan. To add to the disdain the school produced current Indian Nick Swisher. But can Iona really knock off the BigTen tournament champs? Get this… Don Kelly’s sister Ashlee was a standout basketball player in college. After spending three years as head women’s basketball coach at Mercy College, she was named assistant coach at, you guessed it, Iona College. UPSET TIME!!! Iona advances from the power of the Kelly family.
(1) Kansas (29-5)
(16) Western Kentucky (20-15)
Western Kentucky is the alma mater of Wade Gaynor, a Tigers prospect who got a (one) at bat this spring. However any state that housed the birth of Andy Dirks gets to move past the first round. Kansas moves on.
(8) North Carolina (24-10)
(9) Villanova (20-13)
Luke Putkonen is a Tar Heel. Villanova has no chance.
(5) Virginia Commonwealth (26-8)
(12) Akron (26-6)
Brandon Inge is an iconic Tiger and a VCU grad. Even Inge haters have to admit VCU is the more Tigers pick. Rams in a no doubter.
(4) Michigan (26-7)
(13) South Dakota State (25-9)
If Michigan only produced Bill Freehan, former Tigers All-Star and Golden Glove catcher, that wouldn’t be enough. The fact that our bullpen catcher Jeff Kunkel is a Wolverine makes this a no brainer.
(6) UCLA (25-9)
(11) Minnesota (20-12)
UCLA gave us Jackie Robinson. Minnesota gave us the Twins. Bruins win.
(3) Florida (26-7)
(14) Northwestern State (23-8)
Tigers make their spring home in Florida and play in the Grapefruit League. This saves me a google search. Gators win.
(7) San Diego State (22-10)
(10) Oklahoma (20-11)
Even though Tigers prospects Jamie Johnson and Jordan John are Sooners, Mr. Quintin Berry comes from San Diego State. Quintin and the Aztecs steal this one in a tight battle.
(2) Georgetown (25-6)
(15) Florida Gulf Coast (24-10)
George Kell was terrific with the bat and the mic. Georgetown advances.
(1) Indiana (27-6)
(16) LIU Bkn (20-13)/JMU (20-14)
Steve Carter, Tigers assistant athletic trainer, is a Hoosier. Good enough for me.
(8) NC State (24-10)
(9) Temple (23-9)
Bobby Higginson went to Temple. Rogo would kill me if they didn’t advance.
(5) UNLV (25-9)
(12) California (20-11)
UNLV produced Cecil Fielder who produced Prince Fielder. Cal produced Brennen Boesch. Cal is released from the tournament.
(4) Syracuse (26-9)
(13) Montana (25-6)
Orange is one of our colors. Montana isn’t exactly a baseball hotbed. Syracuse moves on.
(6) Butler (26-8)
(11) Bucknell (28-5)
Billy Butler is a pain in our ass. Thomas A. Thompson, a member of the Bucknell Sports Hall of Fame, pitched for the Tigers. The Bisons advance in an upset.
(3) Marquette (23-8)
(14) Davidson (26-7)
Kurt Mensching’s dog Donner lives in Marquette. That’s enough to power them past Davidson who no longer owns the Pistons anyway.
(7) Illinois (22-12)
(10) Colorado (21-11)
Gene Lamont, Casey Crosby, and Curtis Granderson were born in Illinois. Does that overcome the shame of the state being the home of the White Sox? I suppose because the Buffaloes have nothing going for them. Illini advance.
(2) Miami (FL) (27-6)
(15) Pacific (22-12)
I’m sure Nick Castellanos has his hometown team and school of choice (if he hadn’t signed with the Tigers) penciled to get past Pacific. We will pencil them in too.
(1) Louisville vs (8) Missouri
Did you know that Shannon Hogan is also a Missouri alum? The Tigers belt Louisville and advance.
(5) Oklahoma State vs (13) New Mexico State
Rod Allen Jr. played at Oklahoma State for a while. I see ya, little fella! Cowboys move on.
(6) Memphis vs (3) Michigan State
Kirk Gibson played for MSU. This might be enough to advance a couple more rounds.
(10) Cincinnati vs (2) Duke
Duke Sims is the Tigers co-recordholder for the most triples in a league championship series (1).
(1) Gonzaga vs (9) Wichita State
Did we establish that Andy Dirks is a Shocker? Wichita makes Gonzaga their bitchita and moves on.
(12) Ole Miss vs (4) Kansas State
Tigers director of scouting David Chadd played for K-State. So did Tigers prospect Jason King. They beat up the Tigers’ Ole Miss minor leaguers Zach Kirksey and Matt Crouse to advance.
(11) Belmont vs (3) New Mexico
Guys, The University of New Mexico is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. AlAl powers the Lobos and kisses Blemont goodbye.
(7) Notre Dame vs (15) Iona
Matt Tuiasosopo, who is fighting for a Tigers roster spot, has a cousin named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who is a big Notre Dame football fan. Moral of the story: choose better cousins. Notre Dame advances because catfishing stories are entertaining and provide good fuel for making jokes on Twitter.
(1) Kansas vs (8) North Carolina
Scott Dywer is the hitting coach for the Tigers’ class A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps. Dwyer’s coaching career began as an assistant coach for two seasons at the University of Kansas. LuPu is only able to get the Tar Heels through one round. Kansas moves on.
(5) Virginia Commonwealth vs (4) Michigan
Wow, Inge vs Michigan. Inge plays for the Pirates now and Ann Arbor is just up the road. Wolverines win.
(6) UCLA vs (3) Florida
Tigers minor leaguer Hudson Randall is a Gator. Tigers have no personnel from UCLA. Gators move on.
(7) San Diego State vs (2) Georgetown
Can sprintin’ Quintin get them another win? When hitting legend Tony Gwinn was his coach, yeah, he can. Aztecs win in an upset.
(1) Indiana vs (8) Temple
Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon was born and raised in Indiana. Bobby Higginson helped the team lose 119 games. Sorry Rogo, Hoosiers move on.
(5) UNLV vs (4) Syracuse
The Syracuse Chiefs used to be the Tigers AAA affiliate. Yay history! Orangemen win.
(11) Bucknell vs. (3) Marquette
Did I mention Donner is from Marquette? Bucknell goes down like a house of cards.
(7) Illinois vs (2) Miami
Castellanos is good for two wins, right? Right. Hurricanes advance.
Missouri vs. Oklahoma St.
Did you know that Missouri’s mascot is the Tigers!? Paws finds some carnal attraction and the Tigers advance!
Michigan State vs Duke
Duke is already on shaky ground. Plus, minor leaguers Jeff Holm and Jonathan Roof as well as Tigers VP of Park Operations Michael Healy are Spartans. They advance.
Wichita St. vs KSU
The battle of Kansas. Which school did Andy Dirks choose? Shocker power! Wichita State moves ahead.
New Mexico vs Notre Dame
Alburqueque’s pitches make a south bend and the city is spelled differently than our boy Al’s last name. Also, Torii Hunter’s son is going to become a Fighting Irish. Notre Dame moves on in a close one!
Kansas vs Michigan
Remember when Bo Schembechler was the Tigers president and got rid of Earnie Harwell? It comes back to bite the Wolverines in the ass. Kansas moves on.
San Diego State vs. Florida
Florida exploits Quintin’s long swing and San Diego State doesn’t make the Elite Eight team. Also, Gators are stalking the Florida residence of the Detroit News Tigers media team. It must be a sign.
Indiana vs. Syracuse
Umm..Tigers Director of Broadcasting Molly Betensley went to Syracuse? You know, the orange just seems more Tigery than the Hoosier red. Syracuse wins.
Marquette vs. Miami
Wait, what’s that you say? Marquette isn’t actually in Marquette, Michigan but it’s in Wisconsin? That’s stupid, they lose.
Missouri vs Michigan State
Who would get the better of a Kirk Gibson vs Max Scherzer battle? I don’t know, but more people reading this post are going to be Spartan fans and I’m going for cheap bonus points. TOUCHDOWN MSU! *in Blaha voice*
Wichita St vs. Notre Dame
Have you seen his Brahma bull neck? St. Patrick’s Day is OVER. ANDY DIRKS AND THE SHOCKERS WIN!
Kansas vs Florida
Kansas is blue and white. Florida is blue and orange. Advantage Florida.
Syracuse vs Miami
Miami was the source of Anibal Sanchez, Miguel Cabrera, and Omar Infante. Miami wins. (The Hurricanes might have more W’s this year than the Marlins)
Wichita State vs. Michigan State
I love Andy Dirks, but Kirk Gibson was a true Tigers great and MSU just seems like a more “Tigers team”. Spartans win.
Florida vs. Miami
Wait a second, wasn’t that Biogenesis outfit connected somehow with the University of Miami? Oh, and Miami alum and Tigers’ minor leaguer Cesar Carrillo was just suspended 100 games. Sorry Hurricanes, you lose.
Florida vs Michigan State
Michigan State produced Chris Vannini who once worked with JASON BECK. MSU in a blow out! (but only because Xavier isn’t in the tournament)