March Madness. To many people, this is the holiday season of sports. Three weeks of matchups, brackets and, inevitably, upsets. While many Albion College students are either basking in their meticulously-picked brackets or grieving over their busted ones, many Albion College figures are doing the same. One of these figures is our own president, Dr. Mauri Ditzler. I reached out to President Ditzler to find out who is making it through to his own Final Four, and he has graciously provided his own region-by-region “bracketology.”
Virginia over Iowa State: In 1979 I traveled to Ames, Iowa, in a snowstorm to interview for my first faculty position. The response to my seminar was as icy as the weather. On the other hand, my visits to the beautiful campus in Charlottesville have always been a joy. So I’ll pick UVA over ISU.
Gonzaga over Syracuse. I have never been to Gonzaga, but after spending 15 years at Holy Cross, (eliminated last weekend) I will transfer my loyalty to another fine Jesuit institution.
Virginia over Gonzaga in the finals. When it comes down to Thomas Jefferson’s University versus the one named after Aloysius Gonzaga, I’m predicting a win for Virginia. I’ve never met anyone named Aloysius who can hit a three pointer against a pressure defense.
Indiana over North Carolina. I have cheered for IU since long before Bobby Knight came on the scene. And I have cheered against North Carolina since suffering through Rick Ford and the four corners offense. But I know it will be difficult for Indiana. Every referee is a Tar Heel fan — otherwise, how would UNC ever beat Duke. And it’s a bad omen that the sky is Carolina blue.
Notre Dame over Wisconsin. The Fighting Irish will wear their Hickory Huskers uniforms and make it an all Indiana final game.
Indiana over Notre Dame. I can’t pick against a team whose point guard has the same first name as Boo Boo Bear’s friend. Yogi Ferrell and his band of Hoosiers will make it to the Final Four.
Kansas over Maryland. I have cheered against Maryland in both the ACC and the Big Ten, so I am happy to take the one seed over the five.
Villanova over Miami. In honor of the legacy of the Albion Public Schools and their mascot, I am backing the Wildcats from Villanova.
Villanova over Kansas for a trip to the Final Four. Wildcats have longer claws and sharper teeth than Jayhawks.
Texas A&M over Oklahoma. After discovering that they can score 14 points in 30 seconds with a press, A&M will pick up all over the court for the entire 2,400 seconds. Simple math predicts they will produce 1,120 points. Oklahoma will not be able to match the barrage.
Duke over Oregon. When I arrived at Duke in 1975, the Blue Devils couldn’t beat anyone in the ACC nor could they come close to filling the Indoor Stadium. I worked many cross-word puzzles in half-empty stands. But fortunes changed, and by the time I left, I had become a Cameron Crazy. So I will make the crazy call of Duke upsetting the Ducks.
In the finals, Texas A&M will be exhausted after putting up so many shots in their thousand-point victory over Oklahoma. Duke will advance to the Final Four.