Expert Advice For NCAA "Bracketologists"

Faced with the daunting task of squaring off against viewers of The Early Show in the Bracket Challenge, Hannah, Julie, Harry and Russ turned to a guy well known for his bark, Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo, one of the hosts of the "Mike and the Mad Dog Show" on New York City radio station WFAN, for help with their brackets.

Despite an upset-filled 2006 tournament, Russo was able single out two of last year's Final Four.

"Picking winners is hard, but last year I had Florida in the Final Four," Russo said. "I had UCLA in the championship game."

Hannah asked Russo how much loyalty to alma maters should play in filling out brackets.

"Me, I root from my heart. Don't use head, go heart. You want to have fun here. You root for USC (Julie's alma mater), you root for Notre Dame (Hannah's alma mater). That's the way I would handle it," Russo said.

Hannah pointed out that her bracket had Ohio State facing off against Texas A&M in the Elite Eight, but noted that that game would be played in San Antonio.

"Should we pay attention to where games are played?" she asked.

"I like Texas A&M, they're the three-seed. If they win (their first-round game) they (could) play Louisville. Game is in Lexington (Ky.), very tricky," Russo said. "You have to keep an eye on where the games are, no question."


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"Is there a sleeper out there? A George Mason?" Russ asked Russo, referring to the surprise Final Four team of a year ago.

"There's going to be somebody who's a sleeper. One thing the committee did — last year they took a lot of mid-majors, this year they only took six. Last year they took about nine. So there's less room for a mid-major to make a big run than a year ago. Look at Virginia Commonwealth, good team, good guard, plays Duke in the first round — overrated. Watch Virginia Commonwealth, same conference as George Mason, watch them get hot this year."

And when it comes to ways to fill out the bracket, anything goes.

"My lovely wife picked the teams out of the hat, for goodness sakes," Russo said. "She'll win the whole thing!"
  • John Esterbrook

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