Lifeguards enlisted for return to pool


POSTED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One of the good things about the Internet is if you need help with something, you can get it really fast. A few days ago I was wondering what to do with a bunch of asparagus that had somehow found its way into my refrigerator. A few hours after a Facebook post, I'd become the recipient of several recipes for asparagus soup (and a lot of not-as-tasty attempts at humor).

So at first realization I would require assistance in making a successful return to the shark-infested waters of the office pool, I put out the call. On short notice, a half-dozen college basketball junkies applied for the post of Hawaii Bracketologist Supreme (BS). Jim Donovan has his advisory committee to pick a new coach; I have mine to help me fill my sheet.

AS A Star-Bulletin copyboy in the spring of 1982, I was surprised to learn there was no NCAA Tournament pool at Hawaii's best newspaper. So I started one and about 10 people participated. I have no recollection who won the pool, but do remember a great championship final in which North Carolina freshman “;Mike”; Jordan hit the game-winner, and then Georgetown guard Fred Brown passed to Tar Heels star James Worthy by mistake.

In the following years I entered a few pools, but never won—even when I followed college hoops avidly throughout the 1980s and 1990s, even when UH basketball was my beat.

I got tired of being outscored by people who knew as much about basketball as I do about soap operas. So I just quit entering.

But a couple of weeks ago someone told me that a sportswriter who doesn't fill out a bracket is like a food writer who doesn't eat. And if the president has time to do it, I do.

So that's the real reason I got this panel together: I need help.

OUR BRACKETOLOGISTS are Sean Eyman, Matt Furuto and Jenson “;Jet”; Wong. You can learn how they got here and see their picks and analysis throughout the tournament at my Quick Reads blog and sometimes in this column. I'll be milling their expertise before I fill out my bracket today and spreading their wisdom throughout March Madness.

For now, here are some tips from the candidates to become the Joe Lunardi of Hawaii:

Sean picked 15 of 16 games correctly in last year's first day. He's got Wofford over Wisconsin and Washington over Marquette this week. “;Wouldn't get much bigger than this. I invite you to bash me over the head with a baseball bat. There is always a region that has more upsets than the others. I'm going with hell in a hand basket for the East.”;

Matt had Davidson correctly to the Elite Eight in 2008. “;I look closely at how the teams are doing heading in, but not counting the conference tournaments. I look at the last 10 regular-season games.”;

Jet picked George Mason to the Sweet 16 when it made its Final Four run. “;There's almost always a 5-12 upset. The trick is picking the right one.”;

Me? No credentials. But I do know Siena over Hummel-less Purdue is the 401k of this thing: free money, especially in pools that factor in seedings for “;upsets.”;

And I make a mean asparagus soup.