Tonight’s NCAA Tournament’s play-in game takes place at the same time “Lost” airs on ABC.
Let’s not work against the unknown. Instead, let’s use its mysterious powers to help you win this year’s office pool.
These numbers–4 8 15 16 23 42–are significant to the storyline in “Lost.” So, we’ll use those numbers to pick the winners in your bracket.
Despite promising answers in the final season, the show’s creators have only revealed about one-fourth of the truth thus far. Following their lead, we’ll only reveal this secret strategy as it applies to one quarter of the bracket: the Midwest Region.
Midwest Region: Round 1
#1 Kansas vs. #16 Lehigh
- Lehigh: 16-seed (-16)
- Lehigh: Has a #4, 15, 23 and 42 on its roster (4+15+23+42=84)
- Lehigh: 84-16=68
- Kansas: #4 is 4th-year G Sherron Collins (4×4=16)
- Kansas: Has a #4, 15 and 23 on its roster (4+15+23=42)
- Seed differential: Kansas (+15)
- Kansas: 16+42+15=73
#8 UNLV vs. #9 Northern Iowa
- UNLV: Has 8 losses (-8)
- UNLV: Has a #15 on its roster (+15)
- UNLV: 15-8=7
- Northern Iowa: Has a #23 on its roster (+23)
- Northern Iowa: Has a Jacob (F Jake Koch), a Ben (assistant coach, Ben Johnson) and a Jacob-Ben combo, of sorts (head coach, Ben Jacobson). Wait, Ben is Jacob’s son?
- Northern Iowa: 23 (Plus, who knows what the Jacob-Ben thing is worth?) Northern Iowa is now officially the island’s dark horse. The smoke monster of the Big Dance, if you will.
Pick: Northern Iowa
#5 Michigan State vs. #12 New Mexico State
- Michigan State: Has 8 losses (-8)
- Michigan State: Has a #15 and a 23 (15+23=38)
- Michigan State: 38-8=30
- New Mexico State: Has a #15 (+15)
- New Mexico State: F Wendell McKines averages 10.8 points per game. (108 is the total of the “Lost” numbers. We’ll call this one +10.8, not +108.)
- New Mexico State: 15+10.8=25.8
Pick: Michigan State
#4 Maryland vs. #13 Houston
- Maryland: 23 wins (+23)
- Maryland: 8 losses (-8)
- Maryland: 23-8=15
- Houston: 15 losses (-15)
- Houston: Has a #23 (+23)
- Houston: 23-15=8
#6 Tennessee vs. #11 San Diego State
- Tennessee: Has 8 losses (-8)
- Tennessee: Has a #4 and 23 (4+23=27)
- Tennessee: 27-8=19
- San Diego State: 8 losses (-8)
- San Diego State: Has a #23 and 42 (23+42=65)
- San Diego State: 65-8=57
Pick: San Diego State
#3 Georgetown vs. #14 Ohio
- Georgetown: 23 wins (+23)
- Georgetown: Has a #4 (+4)
- Georgetown: 23+4=27
- Ohio: Has a #4
- Ohio: F Asown Sayles has 16 assists (+16), but he has 16 turnovers (-16)
- Ohio: 4+16-16=4
#7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Georgia Tech
- Oklahoma State: 10 losses (-10)
- Oklahoma State: Has a #15 and 23 (15+23=38)
- Oklahoma State: 38-10=28
- Georgia Tech: Has a #4 (+4)
- Georgia Tech: 10-seed (-10)
- Georgia Tech: 4-10=-6
Pick: Oklahoma State
#2 Ohio State vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara
- Ohio State: Has a #4, 15 and 23 (4+15+23=42)
- Ohio State: G William Buford has 108 assists (+108)
- Ohio State: 42+108=150
- UC-Santa Barbara: 15-seed (-15)
- UC-Santa Barbara: Has a #4, 15 and 42 (4+15+42=61)
- UC-Santa Barbara: 61-15=46
Pick: Ohio State
Midwest Region: Round 2
#1 Kansas (73) vs. #9 Northern Iowa (23)
Pick: Kansas. So much for Northern Iowa being a dark horse. This is like when the man in black killed Jacob.
#5 Michigan State (30) vs. #4 Maryland (15)
Pick: Michigan State. Anyone notice how the first two losers (Northern Iowa, 23 and Maryland, 15) had “Lost” numbers? Maybe that’s why they lost. Or maybe it’s that the first two winners are coached by guys who’ve won national titles. The mystery remains.
#11 San Diego State (57) vs. #3 Georgetown (27)
Pick: San Diego State. What can I say? San Diego State is a candidate.
#7 Oklahoma State (28) vs. #2 Ohio State (150)
Pick: Ohio State. With that tally of 150, Ohio State is starting to look like the tournament’s Christian Shephard. Not only can this team execute its game plan with the precision of a top surgeon; it can also cheat death.
Midwest Region: Round 3
#1 Kansas (73) vs. #5 Michigan State (30)
Pick: Kansas. Neither men of faith nor men of science can keep from picking KU to go to the Elite Eight.
#11 San Diego State (57) vs. #2 Ohio State (150)
Pick: Ohio State. Through the looking glass, it’s easy to see that Alice in Wonderland trumps Cinderella. Stop looking at me, swan!
Midwest Region: Round 4
#1 Kansas (73) vs. #2 Ohio State (150)
Pick: Ohio State. How did this happen? How does Kansas not make the Final Four? I don’t know. How did the island move? Perhaps this outcome only exists in an alternate reality.
It’s just one of those things we won’t fully comprehend until the end of the season. Maybe not even then.
When Rocky Balboa made his rags-to-riches rise to a title fight against Apollo Creed, did you want Apollo to win?
You did if you’re a KU fan.
Put in perspective, it seems unnatural. Bad, even. Or just plain wrong.
Like pulling for Pontius Pilate in his effort to crucify Christ.
But that’s you, Kansas. For God’s sake, basketball was practically invented at your school. Everyone knows you’re going to win, so we all root against you.
You’re Apollo Creed. You’re Pontius Pilate. You’re–gasp–the New York Yankees.
Hard for you Jayhawk fans who root for the Royals to accept that last one, isn’t it?
(If you’re a KU fan and a Yankees fan, please stop reading now. I’m sorry I interrupted your sex with Satan.)
To the victor belong the spoils.
At what price victory, though? You’re the bad guys.
You didn’t know this? Now might be a good time to ask the person who’s reading this to you to start over.
Seriously, though. It’s a long fall from the high horse. And with you at that elevation, the rest of us can’t possibly expect you to see things like everyone else.
Sure, we’re all jealous. We would love to be the assumed #1. Who wouldn’t want to be the fan of the school that every coach writes into the buyout portion of his contract.
But the rest of us like being the perennial underdogs. We’re used to it. Hard work and struggle are the salt and pepper on the meal of mediocrity–season changers that help us occasionally break through and make miracles happen.
Here’s to you, Jayhawks. If you cut down the nets this year, don’t let the shame of being the bad guys take away from the experience. Hell, Bin Laden still goes to work every day, doesn’t he?