I don't know why I keep doing this every year. I consider myself to be reasonably informed about college basketball. I watched nearly every Ohio State game this season, along with multiple other big games every week. I read and write about the sport nearly every day. I have a KenPom subscription, and have exceptionally talented and knowledgeable coworkers whose brains I can pick regularly.
And then, without fail, I fill out a bracket and get mercilessly dunked on by folks who didn't watch any games.
Perhaps the problem is where I'm getting my information and advice. I've already tried the more insider approach for the last few years, and all it's won me is a heaping helping of mockery at family get-togethers because Mr. Internet Sportswriter got last in the family bracket again. So this year, I decided to reach out to somebody new for some innovative, outside the box thinking.
I had my daughter, Penny, make a bracket. She's a toddler.
To be fair, Penny seems like a pretty smart toddler! She can identify most of her body parts, make almost every farm animal sound, and can say "dada" correctly like, eight out of 10 times. She's even watched a few college basketball games with me. It's also entirely possible she's gleaned some new insights on the East region from her repeated readings of "Potty Time for Chickies" or "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." It's worth a shot.
Penny can't really talk yet, so I just asked her to point to her favorite team for each game. When that didn't work, I'd ask which of the mascots is her favorite. I suspect teams whose mascots are "kitties" will probably have an institutional advantage. If she cried, I assumed she meant Purdue.
So, here's what she came up with:
So there you have it! Be sure to pick Cal, Cincinnati, Stephen F. Austin and Dayton to your Final Four.
I promise I did not do any coaching for this Final Four. Just because I'm from Ohio, after all, doesn't mean that I like Dayton or Cincinnati. We barely even consider Cincinnati part of Ohio in our household. An all-Ohio championship game that didn't feature Ohio State would be a nightmare.
This probably isn't the most realistic bracket out there, but wisdom of babes and all that. You probably aren't going to win your pool anyway, so you might as well listen to my kid and take Cal State Bakersfield to the Sweet 16. You never know.