Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
4:54 pm EDT
Monday, May 23, 2022

In the Villages: Ways to predict the Final Four

Don’t overthink when you fill out your NCAA Tournament bracket. Instead, have a little fun.

It’s no secret that residents of The Villages are avid sports fans. Spend one afternoon in the country’s largest retirement community and you’ll see golf carts meticulously decorated with paraphernalia of their favorite teams. 

Therefore, I know they have a vested interest in filling out a bracket for this year’s NCAA Tournament, better known as March Madness. I have formulated an entirely new system for making my NCAA Tournament picks by pushing logic aside and introducing fun ways to predict the Final Four.

1| Think fun vacation 

This method allows us to eliminate some traditional heavyweights right off the bat. Few families choose the plains of Kansas, the cornfields of Indiana or the hollers of Kentucky as their ideal getaway destinations. If you’re a fan of surfing and sunshine, UCLA, USC, and Miami are obvious picks. Maybe tall, majestic mountain peaks intrigue you. If so, consider advancing Colorado or Tennessee into the Final Four. For fans who love visiting a city filled with bourbon and blues, it would be criminal not to pick Memphis. And if you cannot stay away from slot machines, then you can take a gamble on UNLV.

2| Go by team nicknames

Cats have nine lives, so picking a team with a feline-related nickname may be wise. You can choose the Tigers, a nickname shared by Auburn, Clemson, Louisiana State, Memphis, and Missouri. Or you can choose the Wildcats of Northwestern, Kentucky, Arizona, and Villanova. Weather lovers might opt for the Miami Hurricanes and Iowa State Cyclones, while bird lovers can pick the Creighton Bluejays and Louisville Cardinals. Some teams have nicknames that sound cool even if you don’t know what they mean: the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, the Saint Louis Billikens, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and, my personal favorite, the University of California at Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

3| Coolest celebrity 

By promoting products and setting different trends, celebrities have a tremendous influence on our society. They might as well influence our NCAA Tournament bracket, too. Celebrity sports fans run the gamut, from beautiful women like Kate Upton (Michigan) and Ashley Judd (Kentucky) to famous singers like Katy Perry (Ole Miss) and Garth Brooks (Oklahoma State) to comedians like Will Ferrell (Southern California) and Larry the Cable Guy (Nebraska). Find out if your favorite celebrity is a college basketball fan and advance that team to the Final Four.

4| Go political

Texas vs. Illinois. Florida vs. California. Georgia vs. Washington. Arkansas vs. Minnesota. What do these matchups have in common? They pit teams from red states against teams from blue states. Yes, some people look at everything through a political lens. If you cannot stand those backward conservatives or smug, uppity liberals, then this may be the method for you.

There you have it. I hope this new methodology proves successful. But remember, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are on par with scoring a date with Kate Upton or figuring out what a Banana Slug is.

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