1. Duke 's Coach K will yell at the refs. His demeanor will be intimidating. And, alas, he will lead his Dukies to the Elite 8. Americans from sea to shining sea will not be pleased about this.
2. Butler will beat Bucknell in its first game--because they're Butler. They will advance to at least the Sweet 16--because they're Butler. They have marveled us in March Madness several times before such as two runs in recent years to the championship game on Monday night. Coach Brad Stevens gets his team to play severely tenacious team defense. They showed how feisty they could be in the national title game against Duke. Whatever he's doing--and I can't figure it out--it's effective. Any team they play will find it tough to score.
3. Belmont will make at least six three point shots in its opening game. I know nothing about them but hear they can really launch the pill. If they win their first game, they will be featured among the lead stories on Sports Center's late shift with anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verrett. Some guy who leads that team to victory, no doubt someone whom 99.99999999999999999999 percent of Americans have never heard of, will enter our collective consciences. That person will be a fleeting flirtation, however, because Belmont will get ousted in its second game. Still, the Belmont fling will have been pretty nice while it lasted.
4. Millions of Americans will not watch the segment when President Obama fills out his brackets because we've seen that movie before several times over two presidential terms. When he fills them out, he will pick the favorites and therefore won't make the endeavor noteworthy. No upset picks, no conflict, no story.
5. Marshall Henderson, the wild and whacky shooting guard from Ole' Miss., will ole' miss at least ten shots in his opening game and shoot below 33 percent from the field. With all the national TV exposure he has received in the past few weeks for his on-court, three-finger eye gesture and downright quirky and slightly disconcerting personality, the opposing team will make it a point to defend him closely. A key part of their game plan will be squelching his production to ensure he doesn't make an even bigger name for himself. His team will lose and we may not hear from him for several months, at least not in a basketball context. Wouldn't surprise me, though, if he showed up in some other newsworthy context.
6. There will be at least 25 Allstate commercials with that guy who falls and breaks everything. The commercials will not get any funnier or more interesting as long as he is in them being destructive. In millions of American living rooms there will be quick and casual conversations about whether the commercials are a nuisance, entertaining, or stupid. Some will raise the point that the series of Geico commercials released a few years ago, based on the "I have good news and bad news" themes, were much more clever and effective. They outdid Allstate's mind-numbing and head-banging, which are akin to a poor man's "Rambo" sequel. American will decide they don't care enough about insurance to analyze the ads any further.
7. Doug Gottlieb and Seth Davis, CBS's one-two punch of March Madness analysts, will disagree regularly in their assessments of tournament action. America will become increasingly uncomfortable and turned off by their strained and incompatible personalities and slightly vitriolic disagreements. By the Elite Eight round, Gottlieb will become borderline strident while Davis will maintain his calm demeanor he learned from his Duke days. By the title game on the upcoming Monday night in April, America will decide they don't really like watching either of them especially together. Acrimony doesn't sell when all people really want to do is watch buzzer beaters and underdogs rise up.
8. Seventy-three percent of the time will be spent watching commercials and twenty-seven percent watching basketball. There will occasions when we will get six commercials then come back for one minute of action and then back to four more commercials. I will go to the kitchen during fifty-two percent of those commercials hunting for something to eat. On some of these treks I'll contemplate driving to Buffalo Wild Wings for a take-out order.
9. Nate Wolters of South Dakota State will lead his team to an upset over Michigan in the first game. He will score at least 20 points and hand out nine assists. CBS will do a feature on him showing a vistas of the South Dakota State open terrain before they dive into shots of his high school gym.
10. Win or lose, Marquette coach Buzz Williams will say something poignant during his post-game press conference. The content of his remarks will drift beyond what actually happened in the game to something more meaningful, a life lesson of some kind. Constantly in search of the meaning life, I will guzzle his Kool-Aid as I have the past several years. Buzz will make me feel consoled that watching all the March Madness will have been a worthwhile expenditure of a few hundred hours.