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March Madness is here: John U. Bacon confident in his pick for national champion

John Beilein (left), Tom Izzo (right)
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you’re a fan of college basketball, there’s nothing better than March Madness, the massive 68-team single-elimination tournament that determines the national champion. It begins on Wednesday and captivates the sports world for the next three weeks. And thanks to millions of dollars being poured into office pools each year, it captivates a lot more than just sports fans who are filling out their brackets in an attempt to predict the winners.

However, if you’re a fan of daytime TV or productivity in an office environment, then this might not be your favorite time of year.

Today, John U. Bacon stopped by the Michigan Radio studios, where no one would ever think to use the “boss button.” You know, the feature that allows you to switch from watching live NCAA tournament video to a generic document with the push of a button, just in case news director Vincent Duffy happens to walk by. 

Bacon began his weekly visit on Stateside by joining the social media outrage from Sunday night over CBS's decision to expand the tournament’s “Selection Show” from one to two hours.

“All it was was dragging out the whole thing until you could find out if your team is in or not and what the brackets look like,” said Bacon. “When you treat your fans like customers long enough, sooner or later, they treat your product like a product. I know … thousands, maybe millions of folks who turned off, so fed up with the obvious insulting, cynical tactics of stretching this thing out. It was absurd. It was laughable.”

After Michigan upset number-one seed Indiana on a Kameron Chatman buzzer beater in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament (see below), that proved to be all the Wolverines needed to get into the big dance. John Beilein’s team, which has fought through losing two of its best players to injury, earned a spot in one of the play-in games. The team will face Tulsa on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

“They’re in the tournament. To Michigan, that’s all that matters,” said Bacon. “The odds are they will beat Tulsa, I think. And beyond that, who knows?” 

If the Wolverines are able to get past Tulsa, they would have to hop a plane to Brooklyn to face a well-rested Notre Dame the next day.

The big talk among Michigan State fans is how a team that finished 29-5, was ranked No. 2 in the country (according to the AP Poll), and won the Big Ten tournament, failed to get one of the competition’s four No. 1 seeds.

“This to me is absurd,” said Bacon. “As far as who you’re going to play, where you’re going to play them, it makes no difference whatsoever, really. On top of that, you get a nice little chip on your shoulder, which I’m sure that [head coach Tom] Izzo will use to great effect. Right now, I’m betting on Michigan State to win this thing.”

Izzo has reached seven final fours in his career, but has just the 2000 national championship to show for it. Is this the year that the sure-fire hall of fame coach gets number two?

Listen to the full interview below to hear more about March Madness and Bacon’s best advice on what to do with your money when it comes to your office pool.

Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to Michigan Radio after nearly two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media.
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