Being the proud (arrogant) sportswriter that I am, it was agonizing to sit through the "Pigskin Picks" section of the Back Page in the fall and get used more than a bottle of hairspray at a M"otley Cr"ue concert.
I finished in third place, one pick out of second place and 10 picks behind champion Tim "Rocket Socket" Vacek.
That little cuss of a human being beat me in football, but my day has come. Tim and I are picking the outcome of the men's Sweet 16.
My time has come. I'm taking Tim down to Chinatown.
I officially kicked him out of the Keg Party on Wednesday, and today I'm going to kick his picks where the sun don't shine.
o No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Wisconsin - Midwest
Have you ever watched one of those bunion removal surgeries on The Learning Channel? If so, you have basically watched a Wisconsin game this season or, for that matter, any Badger game over the past decade.
Watching the Boring Badgers is about as exciting as eye surgery and slightly more painful.
But, just to annoy me, they will stay close to title-favorite Kentucky tonight, at least for 20 minutes or so.
Then the Wildcats will do what they have done all season, which is open the second half with an 8-0 or 12-2 run and pull away.
I will miss Wisconsin basketball as much as I miss former UT coach Kevin O'Neill.
At least O'Neill incessantly threw around four-letter words to spice things up a bit. I don't think you're allowed to cuss in Wisconsin.
Kentucky 73, Wisconsin 56
o No. 2 Pittsburgh vs. No. 3 Marquette - Midwest
I've been saying all season how bad Pitt is. I said it was not a matter of if they would crack, but when.
But the Panthers have all the ingredients for a Final Four run, if only they weren't in Kentucky's bracket.
Brandin Knight is a clutch point guard who has played the last two postseasons with nagging knee and ankle injuries. He seems to only get better every time he's hurt.
Julius Page is as athletic as any player in the tournament, and the Panthers have a tough inside game that's good for about one bloody nose per night.
Pitt will show Dwyane Wade, Travis Diener and Co. why the Big East is the most underrated conference in the country.
Stay tuned while Syracuse and UConn follow suit Friday.
Pitt 84, Marquette 77
o No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 5 Notre Dame - West
I still haven't figured out why Notre Dame is still in the tournament. If UNC-Wilmington had just made one of the two layups it blew in the final minute of regulation, I wouldn't have to watch Irish guard Chris Thomas pull a Kelley Washington every time he makes a jumpshot.
As soon as I rant about the Big East, I have to draw the line here.
Arizona by a lot.
Arizona by a whole lot.
Arizona 88, Notre Dame 64
o No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 3 Duke (West)
Arizona has shown it can be beaten. Duke and Kansas have not.
This game will show you how the West will be won.
Kansas' Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison may be the best 1-2 punch in the nation. Keith Langford isn't bad either.
Everything in my head tells me to pick Kansas and, after my "Pigskin Picks" collapse, I'm going with Duke.
Dahntay Jones' decision to become a basketball player (instead of just a human highlight reel) over the past weekend put the Blue Devils over the top in my mind. With the solid point play of Chris Duhon, the two-guard tandem of J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing and the rotation of three adequate big men in the post, Duke looks like it has that old swagger back.
Wise Confucius says, "Don't pick against coach K in March, especially when he's playing choke-prone Kansas." And that deceased philosopher is much smarter than me.
Duke 84, Kansas 81
- Wesley Rucker is assistant sports editor of The Daily Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rucker: 'Vacek's goin' down'
Published: Thu Mar 27, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 04:58 p.m.