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Friday (3/18) Bluster
Scoop Jackson, 5:11 a.m. ET: I always make notes on my bracket. Self-imposed Post-its. By Alabama I had the word "young." By the Alabama/UW-M game I had scribbled "upset." I had circled it. I do this so that when the team I DIDN'T pick goes on to win I feel better about myself. Knowing that I knew, you know? So I "knew" 'Bama was going down, I just didn't write it down. So who's the idiot?

And Pitt ... ? All I can say is next time I see Carl Krauser at Rucker, I got words for him. I would say he owes me money, BIG $$$, because I had them Panthers in the Elite 8 (check Slam magazine for the truth), but that would be illegal outside of Vegas. So, I can't incriminate myself here in print.

They say 11-5 is good. I say one more day like yesterday and I may get moved to Page 4.

Patrick Hruby, 10:15 a.m. ET: Nevada Pale Ale took out Texas, but Fairleigh-Dickinson Amber Boch couldn't stop Illinois. No matter. I still believe in Old Dominion Lager and, of course, George Washington -- like fellow founder/patriot Sam Adams, Washington could have been a heck of a brewer, if he wasn't busy farming hemp. The NCAA needs to allow beer sales.

Kieran Darcy, 10:17 a.m. ET: 11-5. Feels like I go 11-5 every opening day of the tournament. It's not as bad as 10-6, or (gasp) 9-7. But, well, it ain't great. Especially when my Quakers got smoked by BC by 20 ... although props to Penn for making a run to start the second half to make things interesting.

Speaking of my squads though, one of them is riding quite a win streak. Shout out to the Regis Raiders of Manhattan for winning the New York State Catholic "B" Championship. They go for the Federation title in Glens Falls this weekend. Good luck fellas.

Anyway ... I was at a black tie Irish-American function last night (who would've guessed I'd be Irish with that name?), so I only caught the late games last night. But I did manage to sneak down to the hotel bar where the dinner was being held at one point ... and to my chagrin, it looked the Tourney was teetering out of control. Chattanoga leading Wake ... Utah State over Arizona ... Winthrop in front of Gonzaga. Holy cow!

Only a couple hours later did I find out all three favorites ended up on top. Normally I'd be all about upsets ... but damn, did I need those.

Today will be a better day ... I think ...

Patrick Hruby, 10:20 a.m. ET: Can't believe Montana lost to Washington. I mean, former NBA journeystiff Larry Krystowiak HAS to be the tallest coach in the field. Scientific studies show that tall men earn more, have more children and are considered "significantly more attractive" by the opposite sex. The 1982 book "Too Tall, Too Small" even reports that in the 21 presidential elections from 1904 to 1984, the taller candidate won 80 percent of the time. The upshot? Montana must really stink. And so much for trusting science. Next time, I'll consult a snake-handler before making my picks.

Patrick Hruby, 10:30 a.m. ET: UTEP should have won. How can you bet against a coach named "Doc?" Too bad this wasn't yet another televised poker tournament, or worse yet, "Tilt." Kapow. And is Oklahoma really a better vacation destination than Niagra? Ask yourself this: where would you rather honeymoon?

Just noticed that I'm in the bottom two percent, nationally, on ESPN's Tournament Challenge. Yet oddly enough, I'm only 20 points behind Simmons, and 30 points behind almost everyone else. I don't know who should be more ashamed.

Jeff Merron, 10:51 a.m. ET: I'd be speechless if I wasn't getting paid to be speechful. My dear old Blue Slate is holding up quite well, thank you, tied for second, in the rarefied hoops-picks company of Skip Bayless and Scoop Jackson.

I'm going to enjoy it while I can, which is for just a few more hours. Today will have to be the biggest upset day in NCAA tourney history for the lefty slab to maintain its position: LA-Lafayette has to beat Lousiville (No. 13 vs. No. 4), Bucknell must win, Vermont must win, Ohio must win.

It's going to be a long, long afternoon. And two of my Elite Eight -- Niagara and UCLA -- are already toast.

But here are my real, thoughtful picks for upsets today: The Rajun Cajuns. They're tough, and Tiras Wade, who I've never heard of before this morning, is now my man.

I'm also looking for GW's T.J. Thompson to rip the cords from trey-ville in an upset over the Yellow Jackets. Has to happen if the Colonials are going to make it to the Final Four ... Which, unfortunately, my "method" led me to predict.