It's the same story every few years: Previously little-known school makes deep run in NCAA tournament, and prospective student applications boom. Since intercollegiate athletics exist primarily as a marketing tool -- what, you think rich alums get pumped up to donate because some genius professor won a Nobel Prize? -- why not pick your brackets accordingly, and pit school marketing slogans (or, in a pinch, school mottoes) against each other?
The rules are simple: Forceful, inspirational slogans that could pull double-duty on a locker room whiteboard and/or as the title of a Rick Pitino book are good. Slogans that cross into mushy, maddeningly vague presidential campaign territory are bad. Slogans that are totally ridiculous -- Drake University may be many things, but "Gateway to the Globe" is stretching it -- are one-and-done.
PAGE 2'S FOOLPROOF METHODS FOR PICKING YOUR BRACKET
On Friday, we promised to help you win your NCAA pool. Here are our nine foolproof methods.
The 10th -- straight chalk -- will be figured into the Page 2 group bracket as a control variable.
Stay tuned to Page 2 throughout the NCAA tournament to see how our brackets stack up.
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Easiest region to pick: West. UCLA's slogan -- "Here. Now. UCLA." -- is the strongest in the field. Only "Survive. Advance. UCLA." would be better.
Toughest region to pick: East. Winthrop ("Truth with liberty"), North Carolina ("Light and liberty") and Indiana ("Light and truth") present tricky variations on a theme. And that's without mentioning American ("God and country").
Easiest pick (single game): Georgetown def. UMBC. On one hand, G'town's "Both into one" motto could double as a Spice Girls single ("And one!" would make us more excited); on the other, UMBC's "An Honors University in Maryland" is as uninspired as they come. An honors university? In Maryland? Thanks for clearing that up.
Toughest pick (single game): Drake versus Western Kentucky. The previously mentioned Gateway to the Globe against an "American university with international reach." Toss-up. Also, Memphis versus UT-Arlington. Memphis' "Dreamers, thinkers, doers" against UT-Arlington's "Be a maverick" practically previews an Obama-McCain presidential matchup. In both cases, your guess is as good as ours.
Biggest upset (in entire bracket): Cornell def. Stanford. Put it this way: Stanford's painfully lame motto -- "The wind of freedom blows" -- gets the last word exactly right.
First-round flop: UNLV. The namesake school of a city built on cheesy branding -- a city with the greatest civic marketing tag line in recorded human history -- doesn't even have a slogan! Pfft. What happens in Vegas doesn't make it past the first round.
Sleeper school: Arkansas. "A nationally competitive student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world." Read carefully, and notice who is getting served: the entire freaking planet. B2K would be proud.
Final Four shocker: Washington State. "World class. Face to face." As we've said before: If that's not a formula for defensive success, we don't know what is.
Buy stock in: UConn ("Oak, strength"); George Mason ("A habit of excellence"); Xavier ("The power of X"); Texas ("What starts here changes the world"); USC ("Let whoever earns the palm bear it" -- school motto, or what Yul Brenner said before bum-rushing Charlton Heston's people out of Egypt?)
Sell stock in: Arizona ("Arizona's first university" -- um, wouldn't you rather be the best?); Gonzaga ("Develop your total self" -- exactly the sort of self-actualization mumbo-jumbo that makes the Baby Boomers so annoyingly self-indulgent; Oral Roberts ("It's about you @ ORU" -- no mention of team, and besides, using an "at" sign = epic fail).
Obvious pick we still like anyway: Kansas. Pick against the school's menacing, near-apocalyptic, "All Along the Watchtower" lost lyrics motto -- "I will see this great vision in which the bush does not burn" -- at your peril.
1 North Carolina def. 16 Coppin State
9 Arkansas def. 8 Indiana
12 George Mason def 5 Notre Dame
4 Washington State def. 13 Winthrop
11 Saint Joseph's def. 6 Oklahoma
3 Louisville def. 14 Boise State
10 South Alabama def. 7 Butler
2 Tennessee def. 15 American
9 Arkansas def. 1 North Carolina
4 Washington State def. 12 George Mason
3 Louisville def. 11 Saint Joseph's
2 Tennessee def. 10 South Alabama
Round of 16
4 Washington State def. 9 Arkansas
2 Tennessee def. 3 Louisville
4 Washington State def. 2 Tennessee
1 Kansas def. 16 Portland State
9 Kent State def. 8 UNLV
5 Clemson def. 12 Villanova
4 Vanderbilt def. 13 Siena
6 USC def. 11 Kansas State
3 Wisconsin def. 14 Cal State Fullerton
10 Davidson def. 7 Gonzaga
2 Georgetown def. 15 UMBC
1 Kansas def. 9 Kent State
4 Vanderbilt def. 5 Clemson
6 USC def. 3 Wisconsin
2 Georgetown def. 10 Davidson
Round of 16
1 Kansas def. 4 Vanderbilt
6 USC def. 2 Georgetown
1 Kansas def. 6 USC
1 Memphis def. 16 Texas-Arlington
8 Mississippi State def. 9 Oregon
12 Temple def. 5 Michigan State
4 Pittsburgh def. 13Oral Roberts
8 Marquette def. 11 Kentucky
14 Cornell def. 3 Stanford
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 10 Saint Mary's
2 Texas def. 15 Austin Peay
8 Mississippi State def. 1 Memphis
4 Pittsburgh def. 12 Temple
8 Marquette def. 14 Cornell
2 Texas def. 7 Miami (Fla.)
Round of 16
8 Mississippi State def. 4 Pittsburgh
2 Texas def. 8 Marquette
2 Texas def. 8 Mississippi State
1 UCLA def. 16 Mississippi Valley State
9 Texas A&M def. 8 BYU
5 Drake def. 12 Western Kentucky
4 Connecticut def. 13 San Diego
11 Baylor def. 8 Purdue
3 Xavier def. 14 Georgia
7 West Virginia def. 10 Arizona
2 Duke def. 15 Belmont
1 UCLA def. 9 Texas A&M
4 Connecticut def. 5 Drake
3 Xavier def. 11 Baylor
2 Duke def. 7 West Virginia
Round of 16
1 UCLA def. 4 Connecticut
3 Xavier def. 2 Duke
1 UCLA def. 3 Xavier
1 Kansas def. 4 Washington State
1 UCLA def. 2 Texas
CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 UCLA def. 1 Kansas