Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bradley, karma ruin my weekend

I thought that this year's NCAA Tournament bracket was kind of a crapshoot. I just had a feeling that many of the teams I picked to go late in the tournament could very possibly go out before the first weekend was over. I went with those picks anyway.

It is safe to say that, now that the first weekend is over, I can throw my bracket away and never look at it again without having to wonder if I won money.

This is undoubtedly the worst bracket I have ever put together. To give you a frame of reference, I was filling out brackets before I learned to tie my shoes.


My bracket was busted worse than the "Saved by the Bell" gang was when they drunkenly ran Lisa Turtle's mother's car into a light pole. And it was only four days into March Madness … but I know why things went so bad.

The reason is something that every reporter loves to have and something that many on message boards around the country wish they had (those that say they do usually get burned when it falls through). You guessed it … inside information.

Not 20 minutes after the Selection Show ended two Sundays ago, I was on the phone with a manager of the Bradley basketball team. My friend Joe has been a manager for the Braves for three years and I had been keeping an eye on that team through the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

But it turned out that the matchup had just been announced and Bradley would be taking on Kansas, another team that I had been following over the weekend. Just an hour before the show, the Jayhawks had beaten Texas to take home the Big XII Conference championship.

After I congratulated Joe, I didn't hesitate to ask him what he thought of that matchup between the Braves and Jayhawks. After all, I am a sports reporter, and that's what I do.

He gave me the answer I knew that I was going to here.

"I like the way we matchup with them," Joe said. "I like our chances."

Sure, I'm talking to a guy that I grew up around, a guy that loved college basketball just as much as I did and a guy that obviously wanted to be optimistic and was excited that his team was going to the Big Dance. Plus, just a few weeks earlier that same Bradley team wasn't even in March Madness discussions and just two days earlier they almost certainly weren't in the tournament.

I gave Joe very little credit for his statement in that conversation. I am a bad friend. I'm guessing he will forgive me, but karma didn't. It's no excuse that karma is a bitch. I felt its wrath.

My predictions for Thursday's games weren't good, but they weren't a disaster. Friday was a different story. Southern Illinois was killed and Michigan State was bounced. If losing a Sweet Sixteen team and a member of your Elite Eight is not enough, Joe's prediction turned out to be right on the money.

Thanks in part to a 21-point outing by Marcellus Somerville, Bradley ousted Kansas 77-73, breaking up my Final Four before the first round had even concluded. If I had just listened to my source on the inside, I may have predicted one of the biggest upsets in this year's bracket.

Not only did the Braves get past Kansas, I watched Sunday as they held Pittsburgh at bay. Boy, am I an idiot.

The worst part is, I hate being left with a feeling of "What if … ?" What if I had listened to Joe, picked Bradley, and not only looked good in that game? Would that have shifted the plates below the earth so that most of the games in my bracket would have fallen my way?

The world will never know.

What I do know, is that as sure as Corey and Topanga were meant for each other, I will from this point on always use my inside information wisely until the day I die.

I called Joe up Monday after things from the weekend had settled down and told him how much I enjoyed watching Somerville and Patrick O'Bryant — probably my favorite player so far this tournament — single-handedly destroy my March, at least in terms of basketball.

Of course I also asked him how he felt the Braves matched up with top-seeded Memphis. Again, he told me that he likes their chances. If he likes their chances, then so do I. In fact, I'm rooting for a Bradley national championship. I'll be rooting for Jim Les and his boys from here on out.

After all, with my basketball bracket in the shape that it's in, I've really only got one thing on my mind anyways: my NCAA hockey bracket.

If your bracket is also busted and you want to get in on Schmoldt's NCAA Hockey Bracket Pool, e-mail him at [email protected].

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