Closing in on the end of the first quarter of 2023 and bracketology

Mark DeLap
Posted 2/28/23

Weekly column by Mark DeLap

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Closing in on the end of the first quarter of 2023 and bracketology


I Sit at my desk tonight with the wind howling like the big bad wolf blowing down piglet houses. It feels as if I am in the arctic writing my memoirs in a faraway cabin in the dead of winter. You know it’s bad when the water in the toilet looks like a wave pool.

  1. Let’s review here in the first quarter of 2023. The new year came in, the ball dropped and with it, so did the snow and the wind. So far this year we’ve had the second snowiest winter on record in Wyoming and we are still in February with our spring dumpings to come. Yeah I know. It’ll be a greener spring.

If we have a dumping like we did a few years ago, it almost has to be some kind of a world record. We are in that wonderful time of year. We really are only 20 days away from spring, which means literally nothing in Wyoming as the girl’s softball team can still be seen at that time wearing their winter snow boots, winter coats and fur-lined gloves instead of batting gloves.

Oh, and we look ahead to the traditional Wheatland Winter Invitational track meet where it snows in the morning and everyone gets sunburned in the afternoon. THAT should really be the first day of spring although I don’t think we can find any politicians to lobby for it.

In 12 days we come out of our ranchero hovels to spend more time outside after work as we “spring ahead” and lose an hour of sleep but gain a summer of added daylight.

We didn’t quite get to March this year to continue Guernsey-Sunrise basketball as last weekend the 22-23 basketball seasons both ended in bitter defeats at the regional 1A tournament up in Buffalo. The journey was a learning experience for both teams with first year coaches and new systems. Looking at that first game and watching the last game, they were not the same teams they started with.

So much improvement, so many things they were doing at the end of the season that they didn’t even realize when they first stepped on that court last November. And watching that last boys game against Hulett, I am convinced that they didn’t lose, but just ran out of time.

Which brings us to developing a March Madness NCAA bracket on the same day as we set the clocks ahead. I know right? Madness. The first round starts with the pretenders and the Cinderellas who begin March 14 and then the actual 64-team tournament begins March 16 and runs through April 1. No joke.

In years past, my bracket was usually in the toilet by March 19, but this year is going to be different. Yes, I know that I say that every year, but St. Patrick’s Day lands on that first weekend and… I… have… a plan.

I have my final four picked and I have science to back it up. Weird science.

I started noticing teams in the now top 25 and see some real solid dark horses. I began divining the luck of the Irish. I looked for teams associated with St. Patrick.

So. That being said, there is of course, Northwestern. It’s just north of Chicago. Chicago. The St. Patrick’s Day capital of the world where they begin celebrating St. Patrick’s month this week Wednesday and go all month long.  That’s got to be my first pick for the Irish gods to be looking at.

Next are the two “no brainers” assuming the saints all hang out together in heaven.  We have two colleges that are named after saints! Madness. I know, right?? St. Mary’s is currently in the No. 15 spot in The Associated Press top 25 and No. 1 in every saint’s heart. I mean, on any given day – the mother of Jesus. Genuflect. Then we have a heavy hitter in patron saint, St. Xavier. OK we’re cookin’ with gas now.

And then for that all elusive fourth team. And here’s my rationale. Since Notre Dame and the Leprechauns did not, nor will they get a bid, I had to go with Purdue.

“Why Purdue?” you may ask. And it’s true Purdue is only two hours from Chicago, but no. Is it that Purdue sits at 5:00 from Chicago? Good guess, and you’re getting warmer assuming that it’s 5:00 somewhere.

The Purdue…. BOILERMAKERS. Which is what everybody drinks in Chicago as they drop the “Dubliner Irish Whiskey” into the green beer.  I don’t even think I could have asked for a stronger sign.

That being said. Northwestern vs Purdue. No contest. Purdue.  Against – St. Mary’s because, well, you know… the BVM trumps a saint any day.  So. St. Mary’s against Purdue in the finals and since the Irish argument is just too powerful, I am predicting Purdue as the 2023 NCAA National Champion.

Follow the science. It’s better than my grandmother who was a saint in her own right and picked the winner based on the best looking uniforms. She was a seamstress and she HAD a system. Her name was Mary (as in, St. Mary) and she almost never lost.

And with the NCAA final game we come to close out the first quarter of 2023 and we shall then reflect on the second quarter. Stay tuned and keep your shovels handy.