Behind the 8-ball after one week

Josh Koehn

This idea of pitting myself against the ladies of the Dispatch,
aka The Elite Eight, in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament office
pool was a catch-22 from the start.
This idea of pitting myself against the ladies of the Dispatch, aka The Elite Eight, in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament office pool was a catch-22 from the start.

If I lost, my pride would be wounded and my confidence shaken. There was even the possibility of becoming a social outcast – unruly children would laugh and throw stones at me as I walked the streets of Gilroy. Parents with children would quickly escort them to the other side of the street to avoid any bad luck somehow passing from my presence. (Okay, it probably wouldn’t be that bad, but embarrassing nonetheless.)

If I won, I would be that guy. You know who I’m talking about.

He may be the know-it-all in your office that blathers about the upcoming NFL draft and what the Niners should do, or maybe he’s an uncle that doesn’t know when to shut up in front of significant other you’ve just introduced him to.

Some of you might even think I would be the kind of guy who tries to make fun of a group of innocent women, who said they knew nothing about basketball (although I’m beginning to question that), just for a chance to gloat in print about his basketball knowledge.

Well, my friends, this experiment took all of four days of games to prove that my basketball knowledge is not as vast as I thought, and, quite frankly, is irrelevant when compared to the innocent and unblemished minds of my fellow co-workers.

Or to put it another way, these women have ripped my heart out and there are still two more weeks left of this godforsaken tournament.

The only gloats in this office will be coming from the ladies’ side.

If a teacher was grading my bracket, they’d have to break out the Magic Markers for each color of the rainbow. Here is an abbreviated list of my follies: Arizona in the elite eight (yeesh!), Georgetown in the Final Four (I really wanted to pick Davidson, honest) and Pittsburgh in the Final Four (just another reason to dislike Ben Roethlisberger, however unrelated the two may be).

I currently sit in a tie for fifth place with a very nice lady named Kelly Sinon. This is somewhat ominous of my chances of winning considering Kelly had Duke beating Georgetown in the finals, as well as Notre Dame making the Final Four. All three have been eliminated, as I will be soon.

The ladies I trail are Luz Cervantes (never filled out a bracket before last week), Andi Joseph (never filled out a bracket before last week and made a point of writing, “I hate basketball” on her sheet), Nora Jones (never filled out a bracket before last week and needed me to return it to her because she left a couple Sweet 16 fields blank the Monday before the tourney) and Hillary Rush (never filled out a bracket and sort of gave me the “that guy” look when I asked if she wanted to be a part of this terrible, terrible experiment).

According to our scoring system – which gives one point for a first-round win, two points for a second-round win and on and on until six points is awarded for getting the championship team correct – I would need UCLA to beat Tennessee in the final, Stanford to make the final Four and Memphis and Kansas to get lost on the way to their Sweet 16 games.

Even then, my chances are grim.

In a week or so I might move closer to the camp that says the tourney is too unpredictable to come close to picking the games right, but for now I’m hurting. Only a small glimmer of hope remains. It’s not much, but I haven’t given up completely.

For now, if you see me on the street, please save your stones.

Current Standings:

1. Hillary Rush – 46 points

2. Nora Jones – 45 points

3. Andi Joseph – 43 points

4. Luz Cervantes – 40 points

5. Josh Koehn – 39 points

6. Kelly Sinon – 39 points

7. Miriam Quehl – 37 points

8. Christine McGinty – 34 points

9. Sara Suddes – 27 points