march madness

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Hello, friends. It is March, which means the madness is upon us. If you’re new around here, welcome. This is what I do in March. 

Each year, we have a contest and the winner receives a $30 Amazon gift card! It’s a huge deal. The link to enter will be at the bottom of this post. 

But first, the moment you’ve all been waiting for in order to fill out your brackets … my March Madness Bracket Strategy. aka every thought I have while filling out my bracket. 

Here we go!



Kentucky vs. Hampton/Manhattan – Kentucky. This is such a no-brainer. First of all, Kentucky has won, like, every game this year. Second of all, who in the Hamptons/Manhattan is playing basketball? This isn’t the lacrosse tournament. 

[Wait. Why does it say Louisville on the side? And then Columbus below that? Did these teams already win? Oh, maybe this is where they're playing. That must be it.]

Cincinatti vs. Purdue – Purdue. No reason. 

West Virginia vs. Buffalo – West Virginia. They’re rated 5, they’ve been here before. 

Maryland vs. Valparaiso – [Googles Valparaiso.] It’s in Indiana. And it has a fun name, but it’s rated 13 next to Maryland’s 4. Eh, Maryland.

Butler vs. Texas – Butler. I see them here a lot. 

Notre Dame vs. Northeastern – Notre Dame. They’re pretty good at sports in general, I think.

Wichita State vs. Indiana – Wichita. I think Kansas is generally good at basketball. 

Kansas vs. New Mexico – Kansas, see above. 



Wisconson vs. Coastal Caro. – I’m assuming that Caro. stands for Carolina. Wisconsin is rated 1, otherwise I’d totally go with Coastal Caro just because it sounds cool. 

Oregon vs. Oklahoma State – Oregon. [Googles SuperBowl because I was thinking Seattle was in Oregon because I always get those mixed up and I was going to say Oregon was on a roll this year but then realized Seattle didn't even win and it's not in Oregon and therefore all this is pointless, but I'm still going with Oregon.]

Arkansas vs. Wofford – Wofford, I’ve never heard of you. Welcome to the NCAA Tournament. Sorry Arkansas will beat you. 

North Carolina vs. Harvard – Listen, I like Harvard. And they had that whole Cinderella thing a couple of years ago and it was super exciting. But they’re up against North Carolina. They have blue in their school colors. And everyone knows blue = basketball success. Plus, NC is typically good at basketball. So, North Carolina, as much as it pains me. 

Xavier vs. BYU/Ole Miss – Xavier. They’re always in this, so I figure they must be pretty good. 

Baylor vs. Georgia State – Look at you, Baylor. Ranked #3. Way to go. 

VCU vs. Ohio State – I never remember what VCU stands for. [Googles VCU] VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH. We’ll go with them. 

Arizona vs. Texas Southern – Arizona



Villanova vs. Lafayette – Villanova, always. 

North Carolina State vs. LSU – Y’all, I googled NC State and their mascots names are Mr. and Ms. Wuf and something called “Tuffy.” I’m going with LSU

UNI vs. Wyoming – I don’t know what UNI is. Oh, U of Northern Iowa. Iowa has had a good year this year. I’ve actually heard them talked about on Twitter and then Chris Soules is from Iowa and he found love. It’s a great year for them. 

Louisville vs. UC Irvine – Louisville. They won the whole thing a couple of years ago, so they’re probably decent. I mean, all the players have probably graduated, but the coaches are the same maybe?

Providence vs. Boise State/Dayton – Providence because they’re meant to win. (slide whistle)

Oklahoma vs. Albany – Oklahoma because they’re ranked much higher than Albany. 

Michigan State vs. Georgia – Hm. I think Georgia. Just because they’re Southern. 

Virginia vs. Belmont – Sorry, Belmont. It’s gonna be Virginia



Duke vs. North Florida/Robert Morris – Definitely Duke. Sorry, Bobby Morris. 

San Diego State vs. St. John’s – [Googles St John's] St. John’s is in Queens, NYC. On TV, people in NYC are always playing basketball. And then also one of the first results is a quote saying, “St. John’s is great at basketball!” So, there you have it. 

Utah vs. S. F. Austin – What is S.F. Austin? [Googles] Oh, yes. Stephen F. Austin. Going with Utah because of the higher ranking. 

Georgetown vs. Eastern Washington – Georgetown

SMU vs. UCLA – I have to go with UCLA. Well, wait. SMU is ranked higher. Eh, UCLA

Iowa State vs. UAB – Again, it’s a great year for Iowa

Iowa vs. Davidson – How many schools are in Iowa? This is getting ridiculous. Iowa again. 

Gonzaga vs. North Dakota State - Gonzaga, always. It’s so fun to say. 



Kentucky vs. Purdue – Definitely Kentucky. My friends still have their Christmas trees up. It better be worth it. 

West Virginia vs. Maryland – West Virginia, I think. 

Butler vs. Notre Dame – Butler. They’re a basketball school. I mean, they seem to always be in this. 

Wichita State vs. Kansas – The battle of the plains. Kansas

Wisconsin vs. Oregon – Wisconsin, I guess. They’re ranked higher. I have no reason to pick Oregon, so might as well. Also, Wisconsin’s mascot is the Badger and I recently heard about a badger that held an entire hotel hostage, so they’re pretty fierce I guess. 

Arkansas vs. North Carolina – North Carolina (blue).

Xavier vs. Baylor – I want to say Xavier because they’re usually here, but Baylor has also been here and they’re ranked higher. Plus, I always feel a bit of a kinship with Baylor because it was the other Baptist school (aside from Union dearest Union). Baylor.

VCU vs. Arizona – Hm, Arizona is ranked higher. Guess we’ll go with that.

Villanova vs. LSU – Villanova. It’s fun to say.

UNI vs. Louisville – I’m going with Louisville.

Providence vs. Oklahoma – I guess Oklahoma.

Georgia vs. Virginia – I think I have to go with Virginia. They’re ranked #2 and Georgia was already an upset to win the last round.

Duke vs. St. John’s – St. John’s, I like your story (that I made up), but I’m going to have to go with Duke.

Utah vs. Georgetown – Georgetown. They’re kind of known for basketball and I’m taking it as a sign that a commercial for Seinfeld was on while I was making this selection. #Costanza 

UCLA vs. Iowa State – Iowa State. Someone on Twitter seemed pretty sure they’d win this one. 

Iowa vs. Gonzaga – That same person was sure Iowa would win this one, but I’m going with Gonzaga because I like it. 



Kentucky vs. West Virginia – Still Kentucky

Butler vs. Kansas – Kansas because they have blue uniforms and they often win. 

Wisconsin vs. North Carolina – North Carolina

Baylor vs. Arkansas – You know what? Baylor

Villanova vs. Louisville – Hm, I think Villanova. Because Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century, would probably say it as an exclamation. 

Oklahoma vs. Virginia – Virginia, I guess. No real reason. 

Duke vs. Georgetown – Duke. Blue, from North Carolina (North Carolina is good at basketball). 

Iowa State vs. Gonzaga – I’m going with Iowa State. Just because of the fantastic year they’re having, according to at least one person on Twitter and The Bachelor franchise. 



Kentucky vs. Kansas – I have to go with Kentucky, here. 

North Carolina vs. Baylor – North Carolina

Villanova vs. Virginia – I think Villanova

Duke vs. Iowa State – Duke, because they’re always good. No matter what kind of year Iowa is having. 



Kentucky vs. North Carolina – Kentucky

Villanova vs. Duke – I think Villanova


WINNER: Kentucky


Now, you can’t copy my strategy exactly, though I know it will be tempting. You’ll have to get your own strategy. Feel free to base it loosely on mine. That’s why I do this. To help you. 

To enter to win the $30 Amazon gift card, sign up through ESPN and join my group. The password is elizabeth. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. May the odds be ever in your favor. And other clichés.



2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket

NCAA 2014

Hey guys. It’s March, which means March Madness, which means that the NCAA division has a basketball tournament and people get mad about it and it’s in March.

It also means that it’s time for my Annual March Madness Tournament Bracket Challenge (trademark pending). You, yes YOU, could win a $30 gift card (email) to Amazon! [Not a billion dollars, but you have a much better chance at winning this one.] Details are at the bottom of this post (Kinda like how they put milk at the back of the store. I at least want you to have to scroll all the way through my ramblings strategy.).

But you may be saying, “Elizabeth, I know nothing about basketball. How can I possibly fill out a bracket? How will I know which teams to pick? What is a good strategy for filling one out? How do you shoot a layup?” Look, I can’t answer all of your questions. But here’s the deal: anyone can fill out a bracket. You never know what’s going to happen, other than you can pretty much guarantee at least one upset.

You can employ strategy in filling out your bracket, like you could look up stats and do math and stuff. Or you could just pick your favorite teams. You could pick your favorite animal mascots, or your favorite colors. Or you can make up your own strategy. You do you.

Because usually everyone is all, “Tell me, how do YOU fill out your bracket? You know so much about sports! You must be great at it!” I always provide my strategy here on the blog. I’m here to serve.

Here we go:

Round 1-SOUTH
Florida vs. UA/MSMary. I don’t know who Ms. Mary is, but she’s not going to win. The parts of my twitter feed I actually read during Selection Sunday tell me Florida is pretty good this year.

Colorado vs. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh. I feel like they’ve been here before. And Colorado can now smoke marijuana, so I’m sure that’s affecting their game. Right? [I know nothing about the effects of marijuana.]

VCU vs. SF Austin. Why is San Francisco in Austin? Also…VCU. I have to look this one up every time. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY: file it away. [Googles "SF Austin"] Stephen F. Austin State University. What does the F stand for, you think? Franklin? [Googles "What does the F in Stephen F Austin stand for?"] Fuller, you guys. It’s Fuller. Eh. VCU is rated 5 and S. Fuller A. is a 12. And it’s their first year, I think. I THINK.

UCLA vs. Tulsa. UCLA, no contest.

Ohio State vs. Dayton. Ohio State is a big football school, and they aren’t like SEC football schools (who aren’t also necessarily basketball schools), so I’ll go with it. Also, they went to like the Final Four or something once when I was in college. Since the players alternate every year, I’m sure their past is a good way to measure their future. Maybe they have a good coach?

Syracuse vs. W. Michigan. Syracuse. They’re here every year, folks.

New Mexico vs. Stanford. Look at you, Stanford. First Harvard runs away with the tournament last year and now you’re here, too. I’ll give you this round. Smart people, FTW. [Did you know that Stanford isn't technically an Ivy League school, but it has been called the "21st Century Harvard"? Looking good for this year's tournament, then, guys. Looking good.]

Kansas vs. E. Kentucky. Kansas. Always and forever. At least, you know, in the first round.


Virginia vs. Coastal Car. Huh? Oh, I bet Carolina. It has a coast. Or they both do. Which one is this? It doesn’t matter. Virginia.

Memphis vs. G Wash. G Wash was totally the first POTUS’ rapper name. Memphis. #StateLoyalty

Cincinnati vs. Harvard. This is difficult, because Harvard is rated so far below Cincy, but Harvard went so far last year. Also, I have a Harvard Tshirt. We’re going to hope for the upset again. Harvard.

Michigan State vs. Delaware. Michigan State.

UNC vs. Providence. UNC, definitely. But you guys, the puns the sports people-writer-announcer guys will be able to make if Providence wins. It’s almost like it’s meant to be!

Iowa State vs. NC Central. I feel like there are a lot of teams on here I haven’t heard of. Iowa State. 

Connecticut vs. St. Joe’s. Is it for real St. Joe’s or is ESPN taking liberties with a Saint’s name here? Just curious. Connecticut. 

Villanova vs. Milwaukee. Villanova, and not just because I didn’t know how to spell Milwaukee without looking.


Arizona vs. Weber State. Weber–where even is that? Utah. Also, their color is purple. Arizona. 

Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State. Fun thing I learned last year: Gonzaga “always” “chokes” during the NCAA tournament. Not sure what kind of stage-mom coach they have over there pressuring them so much. I’ll still go for them this round. You guys need to KEEP CALM AND PLAY BASKETBALL.

Oklahoma vs. ND State. OKLAHOMA! 

[I was singing that last part in my head...not sure if that was made clear by the caps I wanted to verify. Musicals+Basketball. Not a lot of blogs offer this, you guys.]

San Diego State vs. NM State. Both of those places are so pretty. Y’all need to get outside! Don’t be in a gym all day. San Diego. Only because they’re rated higher. That’s the only reason.

Baylor vs. Nebraska. Baylor. 

Creighton vs. Louisiana. Creighton. Mostly because I just like their name. I know literally nothing else about that school.

Oregon vs. BYU. Oregon. It rains a lot there. Basketball is a good way to escape that. Wait, that’s Seattle that has a lot of rain. Hm. maybe BYU then because WHY NOT?

Wisconsin vs. American. You guys, did we get this confused with the Olympics? All these teams are American. What is going on? Wisconsin, because it just makes more sense.

Almost finished….with the first round. The rest will be easier.

MIDWEST (What, no North?)

Wichita State vs. Cal Poly/TX So. All of those sound made-up. But Wichita State.

Kentucky vs. Kansas State. If my twitter feed/friend Katie has taught me anything this season, it is that the Harrison twins were a disappointment and KY has not been doing so well. They ALMOST beat the Gators the other day and it was like a huge deal that they even came close. Or something like that. I was mostly skipping over those tweets. Nevertheless, they’re in one higher seed (am I using this terminology right?) than KS, so we’ll go with Kentucky. For this round.

St. Louis vs. NC State/Xavier. I need to know who wins that game before I can place my vote. [Googles "Xavier"] Yeah, see, North Carolina is good at basketball. Xavier is from Ohio. I guess they’re also pretty good. We’ll go with option B here.

Louisville vs. Manhattan. Is that Manhattan like in NYC? WHAT. Yeah, it is. One of the first results on Google was “Manhattan matchup is nightmare for coach.” No joke. Louisville won last year. Poor Manhattan. I’m all for upsets, but I highly doubt that one.

UMass vs. Iowa/Tenn. This is ridiculous. I guess UMass because I have literally heard nothing but prayer requests about UT’s team this year. And who even knows about Iowa. Who. even. knows?

Duke vs. Mercer. Duke may be a “football school” now and in the SEC (right? [googles] how can Google be so inconclusive on this? It’s a simple question. Someone just let me know in the comments.), but I think they’re also still a basketball school. Plus, their color is blue.

[If you’re new here. It’s a fact theory of mine that all blue schools are good at basketball. Think about it.]

Texas vs. Arizona State. Texas, because Texas.

Michigan vs. Wofford. Wofford sounds like a Muppet name. Oh, hey. It’s a small school in SC. Well, congratulations guys on making it this far. I’m sorry Michigan will beat you in the first round.

[VERY disappointed Vandy isn't here.]


Sweet Sixteen-SOUTH

Florida vs. Pittsburgh. Florida.


Ohio State vs. Syracuse. Syracuse based solely on the fact that I like saying their name better.

Kansas vs. Stanford. Kansas. Blue uniforms. Plus they’re usually pretty good. USUALLY.

[Sidenote: who is teaching these bracket-makers geography? Seriously. Stanford? UCLA? Pittsburgh? In the South? Don't think so.]


Virginia vs. Memphis. You know what? Memphis. #StateLoyalty eh…just noticed Virginia is a 1 seed. (is it seed or seat? Now I’m doubting everything.) Oh, what the heck. Memphis.

Harvard vs. Michigan State. Sorry, Harvard. Can’t have too many upsets per region per round. #Strategy. Michigan State.

UNC vs. Iowa State. Listen. I saw this picture on twitter of some Iowa State player with blood where his eye should be. I don’t know if maybe his eye was there, too, but there was a lot of blood. A LOT OF BLOOD. I don’t know if he was an important player or not, but I know this: you need both eyes working for proper depth perception. You know what requires depth perception? Throwing a basketball into a net that’s several feet away. Also, catching a flying sphere as it’s hurdled toward you. I’m going to have to go with UNC on this. Bonus: Blue.

Connecticut vs. Villanova. Villanova. It’s fun to say + they’re usually pretty good.


Arizona vs. Gonzaga. Arizona. Gonzaga “always” “chokes.”

Oklahoma vs. San Diego State. Oklahoma. [okay, I sang it that time, too.]

Baylor vs. Creighton. Here are some facts I googled about Creighton: It’s a private, Jesuit university in Nebraska. Now that I type all of that, I remember looking it up last year. Because I compared them to the Pope, who is also Jesuit, though not from Nebraska. #FunFacts Creighton.

BYU vs. Wisconsin. Wisconsin. Because I saw something about Wisconsin mentioned in a positive way…or maybe it was Wichita…something W.


Wichita St. vs. Kentucky. See above note on something positive about something W. Also, those Harrisons, amirite? Wichita. 

NC St/Xavier vs. Louisville. Louisville. They won last year.

U Mass vs. Duke. Duke because blue.

Texas vs. Michigan. Texas. No real reason.


Elite Eight [almost done you guys]

Florida vs. VCU. Florida because I just hear they’re really good.

Syracuse vs. Kansas. Gotta go with Kansas here. Because a. they’re seeded higher; b. blue; c. they won me bragging rights one year a long time ago.

Memphis vs. Michigan State. This is an odd thing I have going here. Um, Memphis. 

UNC vs. Villanova. Villanova. Only because they’re seeded higher. Oh, hey. They also have blue. Would you look at that?

Arizona vs. Oklahoma. Arizona. 

Creighton vs. Wisconsin. I think the W I heard about was Wichita. Creighton.

Wichita St. vs. Louisville. Wichita St. 

Duke vs. Texas. Duke. 


Final Four

Wichita State



Florida vs. Wichita State

[At this point, in case you're wondering about my strategy, I just go with my gut. It's complicated.]

Winner: Florida. 

Score [I just arbitrarily pick numbers because I know so much about basketball that it's difficult to crunch those kinds of numbers and algorithms and stats and stuff. Okay, I also googled past game scores.]: 68-45.


There you have it, folks. An air-tight strategy for picking your bracket. You are welcome. 

Now, some people fill out different brackets for each competition they’re entering. I don’t. I would be mad at myself if my bracket in my blog’s tournament did well, but the one I fill out for Warren Buffet gets everything wrong. Plus, when you apply so much strategy, it just gets exhausting to try to do that several times.

Okay, here’s how you enter’s Annual NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge for the $30 Amazon gift email: You go to through this link, or if you’re already on there, the group name is The group password is: elizabeth. Fill out your bracket, submit it, and you’re entered. You have until Thursday, March 20 to make your selections. Easy peasy. Check back here when the tournament ends if you won and I’ll let you know how to collect your prize (I’ll ask for your email address).

Um, so…Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. Go! Fight! Win! 

Friday Five Winner! and some secrets

Thanks to those of you who entered the Friday Five Giveaway! It was fun reading your favorite links…I’d even forgotten some of them.

I typed all the names into and the winner is…

Jim Woods! 

I’ll be emailing you a $25 Starbucks gift card ASAP.

The other thing I wanted to announce yesterday but didn’t get to because of the worst (cavity-free) dentist appointment ever, is that 101 Secrets for Your Twenties is now available to purchase! I will be posting a review here next week, but I wanted to give you a heads-up because so far it’s great and you should own it. I’ve linked to Paul Angone’s (the author) blog many, many times in the Friday Five, so this is somehow sort of related to the Friday Five Giveaway. And here’s the link to buy the book.

Friday Five


According to the permalink, this is the 100th Friday Five! [Not including special editions.] I probably should have planned ahead and did something special. Maybe I will. STAY TUNED.

One good thing is this was an excellent week for the internet. So, as a part of this VERY SPECIAL 100th EPISODE, we will have bonus links. Try to contain your excitement.

1. First, this BuzzFeed article proving what I have said all along, Tea Is Better Than Coffee.

2. Is He Enough? was something I needed to hear/read.

3. I cannot even imagine how long this stop-motion video took. Also, how did they do the part where [spoiler alert (not really)] he falls out of the sky? I need to know.

4. Speaking of Instagram, here’s an interesting article about the Instagram Video and the Death of Fantasy. Thoughts?

5. Here’s a site that uses some sort of algorithm (science, am I right?) to figure out which show you need to watch next. If you haven’t watched Parks & Rec yet, let me recommend it. Also, check out these classic children’s books re-imagined with Parks & Rec characters.

Bonus Links:

a. I really liked this short and sweet post by Jon Acuff–Oh, You’re a Christian.

b. Ever wonder if you would be able to pass the citizenship test? Now you can find out if you are smart enough. I passed. Did you?

Now, for a Special Bonus Bonus for the 100th Episode of Friday Five! 

Thank y’all for reading all these, for telling your friends, for retweeting the links, etc. I often laugh at the fact that this is the most popular part of my blog, but I love sharing cool stuff and I love that y’all seem to love it.

As a thank you for enduring 100 of these and sharing, retweeting, telling people, etc., I’m going to do a little giveaway. Comment below with your favorite Friday Five find ever and I’ll randomly pick a winner on Monday, July 1 to win a $25 gift card to Starbucks. I feel this is appropriate because Starbucks is an integral part of so many of my Fridays. You can comment on this post whenever, but your chances of winning the gift card will end Sunday, June 30, at 11:55 CST.

The Winner and Other Thoughts from the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Hey guys.

I am here to announce that…..


Jeff Kelly won the bracket challenge and $25 Amazon gift card!

Jeff is a real-life friend/coworker/fake roommate/trivia teammate of mine. Originally, he asked to make a speech, but declined when I took him seriously.

Thanks to everyone who played this year! It was very close.

I learned a few things this year. Apparently, while Gonzaga is usually rated high, they “always” “choke” “during tournaments.” Harvard proved you can be smart and athletic. Florida Gulf Coast was not the ocean. People can get horrifically injured just jumping in the air. Kentucky people (Kentuckians?) are crazy about basketball. Like, literally, erratic behavior.

Also, quick apology to those who signed up for the tournament bracket on I’m not even sure how that existed, or how to check it. This is why you should always read the instructions first.

2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket


Y’all. It is time. March Madness is upon us.

I realize I haven’t written as much about sports this year, but please know I continue to have my finger on the pulse of the sports world. And by “have my finger on the pulse of the sports world,” I mean that “I half-listen to conversations involving sports.” Just so we’re clear.

Nonetheless, I enjoy March Madness. Why? Because anyone can play along. Anyone can be successful because these brackets rarely play by the rules. Last year, in particular, crazy things happened with top-ranking teams getting knocked out in the first round. Madness!

This year, just like the past two, I will outline my strategy below. It is a strategy I’ve been honing for years.

More importantly for you, there will also be a link to the bracket challenge at the bottom of this post. The winner of the bracket challenge wins a $25 Amazon gift card! Yes, for real. So, you should enter.


Now, this year, I’m actually filling my bracket out online instead of printing it off. I know. Changing is a risk, but I feel like it needs to be done.

First Round:
vs. a team I’ve never heard of.
Colorado St. vs. Missouri. This is a tough one…they’re ranked right together and I have absolutely no reason to choose one over the other. Missouri.
Oklahoma St. vs. Oregon. Oregon just doesn’t seem like a very sporty state. I’m pretty sure one of my camp friends rooted for Oklahoma St. or maybe Oklahoma U. Anyway, Oklahoma St.
St. Louis vs. New Mexico. I’m just going with my gut/the rankings here.
Memphis vs. MTSU/St. Mary. I’m guessing they just haven’t determined whether it will be MTSU or St. Mary. I don’t know you guys, I’m not a professional. Memphis is usually pretty good, though. + blue uniforms.
Michigan St. vs. Valparaiso. This is hard. Michigan State is ranked third, but I like picking the schools with fun names. And isn’t this Valparaiso’s first time? Eh. (spoiler alert) I’m gonna pick Memphis for the next round anyway, so I’ll give it to Valparaiso.
Creighton vs. Cincinnati. Creighton’s ranked higher.
Duke vs. Albany. No brainer (sorry Duke haters).

vs. Western Kentucky. Kansas and I have a complicated relationship. They either make it or break it for me every year. One year, that was awesome. Other years, the opposite. Still, gotta go with them for this one.
UNC vs. Villanova. North Carolina is good at basketball. #fact. (Google Villanova to make sure it isn’t in North Carolina…nope, Pennsylvania.)
VCU vs. Akron. You guys, I don’t know what VCU is…I think someone got upset about this last year. (looking it up. Yes! I got a comment about it. hahaha) Okay, it’s Virginia Commonwealth University. Also, looks like they won an award this year for their student section. Way to go, VCU! Forgive me for never remembering your name.
Michigan vs. SD State. I think this is the first year in a while that SD State has been in. Good job, guys. I gotta pick Michigan, though.
UCLA vs. Minnesota.
Florida vs. NW State. Florida’s usually pretty good.
San Diego St vs. Oklahoma. My friends recently went to San Diego and they said it’s gorgeous there. Like, all the time. So, why would they be good at basketball, an INDOOR sport? I don’t think they would.
Georgetown vs. Florida Gulf. Florida Gulf? Like, the ocean? You guys, this isn’t beach volleyball.

Gonzaga vs. Southern U. Why isn’t Southern U in the South region? Who makes this stuff up? I need them to figure out how to make a little more sense.
Pittsburgh vs. Wichita State. I don’t care.
Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss. They’re ranked higher.
Kansas State vs. BSU/LaSalle. This is confusing, but I’m going with Kansas State.
Arizona vs. Belmont. Gotta go with the hometown team.
New Mexico vs. Harvard. Sorry, smart people. Your campus is lovely.
Notre Dame vs. Iowa State. I always forget when to pronounce it Notra Dahm and when to pronounce it Noter Dame.
Ohio State vs. Iona. Has Iona been here before? I feel like no.

Indiana vs. LIU-B/JMU. Indiana vs. what?
NC State vs. Temple. I repeat, NC is good at basketball.
UNLV vs. California. Vegas is ranked higher and they usually are.
Syracuse vs. Montana. Syracuse…they’re always in it and I think I overheard someone saying they were good this year.
Butler vs. Bucknell. Butler is usually fairly decent, I think.
Marquette vs. Davidson. Marquette is often good, too.
Illinois vs. Colorado. I don’t really care on this one.
Miami vs. Pacific. It’s like a battle of the oceans. I’m gonna have to go with the Atlantic because it’s the closest ocean. Slash Miami is ranked a lot higher.

Round Two

Louisville vs. Missouri. Louisville. I think I heard they were pretty good.
Oklahoma St. vs. St. Louis. This is tricky. But I’m going to go with St. Louis. It’s just a feeling.
Memphis vs. Valparaiso. Sorry, fancy-named Valparaiso.
Creighton vs. Duke. Duke is really good at basketball, you guys. Like, in general.

Kansas vs. UNC. This is so tough. Ugh, I guess Kansas.
VCU vs. Michigan. Oh, you know what, VCU? I’ll pick you. Why not? I feel like I owe you one for always forgetting your name.
UCLA vs. Florida. Florida. Here’s why. One time, I went to the Final Four festivities (not the actual games. It was a weird Spring Break.) and Florida was one of them. That’s it.
Oklahoma vs. Georgetown. Georgetown is almost always ranked high.

Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh. Gonzaga because Gon-za-ga.
Wisconsin vs. Kansas State. I don’t even care.
Belmont vs. New Mexico. Belmont because ANYONE CAN WIN THIS.
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State. Ohio is ranked higher.

Indiana vs. NC State. I guess Indiana. They’re ranked #1, so it’s hard to pick something else, even if they are a good state at basketball and they do wear blue uniforms (pretty sure).
UNLV vs. Syracuse. Still going with that conversation I maybe overheard correctly.
Butler vs. Marquette. I really like both of these schools, solely based on their names. But Marquette is ranked higher.
Illinois vs. Miami (FL). I guess there is another Miami somewhere that has a basketball team?

Elite Eight
Florida–I debated this one. I know Georgetown is ranked higher and also good at basketball, but sometimes I like to throw it to the underdog just because.
Ohio State
Marquette–I debated here, too. Chose Marquette mostly because they’re there every year and I’m not sure Miami (FL) has been. Maybe the other Miami. I don’t know.

Final Four
You guys, I don’t even know what to do. Is Louisville really good? I feel like they’re not outstanding, but they’re ranked #1. I’m going with Duke.
Kansas, I guess. They’re ranked highest and they always are.
Indiana vs. Marquette. I guess Indiana. That way it’s red vs. blue on both sides. (I’m not happy that it’s come to this, either).

Championship Game

Winner: Gonzaga. Just because, okay?


I know that strategy is a bit complicated. You just do you, though. Sign up for the bracket challenge here (or here for mobile users). The password is elizabeth because I’m completely narcissistic.

You want to sign up because you could win a major award…or a $25 Amazon gift card. But, hey, that’s nice, too.

Review: Community Wins

Community Wins. And I’m not talking about the show, though, really, it should win…something.

I’m talking about Bryan Allain‘s new ebook, Community Wins. I scored an advance copy to review it on Amazon (fancy, I know), and [Spoiler Alert] I gave it five stars.

Community Wins is about building your community. Whether you are a blogger, an artist, a salesman, or a pastor, community matters. People these days are constantly bombarded by marketing. It’s everywhere. But the thing is, we also have the opportunity to create and foster community more than ever. Good brands have realized this. Good people have realized this. And it works. Ergo, Community Wins.

Bryan Allain’s ebook walks readers through what it means to have a community and how to grow one. I love his easy, funny style of writing. He takes something that could be very dry and complicated and makes it interesting and simple. The action steps at the end of each chapter break down the process of fostering community into bite-sized steps. After doing them, the reader will no doubt lead a better community.

I’d recommend Community Wins to pretty much everyone. Whether you are a church leader, a retailer, a writer, or a parent, if you are trying to create and maintain a good community, this ebook is a resource you could use.

Also, I’m giving everyone a free copy until Saturday! And by “I’m giving away” I mean that Bryan Allain is giving the Kindle version his ebook away fo’ free until Saturday, November 3. If you don’t have a Kindle, it’s only $4.99, which is roughly the same price as your specialty coffee/tea drink now that Starbucks gold members no longer get free soy/syrups (not that I’m bitter about it). Here’s the link: Community Wins.


Church Postcards

Last week, we cleaned out the church office work-room. I’m not sure the last time this was cleaned out, but let’s just say the building has existed since the 1960s and we found plenty of antiques. We also found tons of church postcards. You know the ones. The church sends them out for birthdays or to tell you they miss you in Sunday School or to invite you to an event or something. They serve a purpose, and as a kid, I liked getting any kinds of mail, so kudos to the church postcard makers. However, I hope they have updated them since the ones we found. Here are my favorites of the cards we located in the church office (Shout out to Laura McClellan for the post idea):


In the delightfully early-90s category:


In the double-pun category:

In the kind-of-scary-if-you-think-about-it category:

Don’t be like this horse…who will soon drown. Come to church!

In the bad (like bad good, or bad bad? you be the judge) category:

In the Scripture out of context? category:


This next postcard has a special place in my heart. It was the clear front-runner for quite a long time. I will warn you, this may be disturbing to some viewers.

In the once-fun-now-creepy category:

I’ll give you a moment to recover…


in the meantime, try to predict what will be on the front of this card:

We found this card two days later. The picture on the front caused laughter and “why?”s from everyone to which it was shown. It also caused at least one person to ask, “You are posting these somewhere, right?” because I am the social media curator of all work happenings.


So, have you guessed the picture yet?


bet you didn’t guess


Did you?!

A good portion of our day was spent evaluating this picture. The high-five, the Amarillo Bowl, the mustache, the strike, the INTERTWINING high-five fingers, the fact that it’s two grown men.

Guess what! This is also a GIVEAWAY post….sorta. I have a whole bunch of those clown postcards. If you’d like me to send you one, shoot me an email (edhyndman (at) gmail (dot) com). I may end up with some more bowling ones, too, if I get permission to take them home (I probably will). So, if you want one, specify in your email that you’d like the bowling postcard if possible. If not possible, you’ll get the clown.

What do you have to do to WIN one of these postcards? Absolutely nothing. (Well, I mean, besides emailing me.)

oh, hey.

I went to this conference (Killer Tribes) this past weekend where I heard all kinds of really great things about blogging/building a tribe. I met lots of fantastic writers and bloggers. I even handed out my business card a couple of times. Then, I proceeded to not tweet (hardly) or blog for three days afterward. Because I am terrible at networking. And/or building a tribe.

Also because I was off work on Monday and Tuesday (due to power outages. due to renovation) and half a day today, and then I didn’t have internet the last half of today at work. So… there are my excuses.

But something important did happen in my absence. The NCAA tournament concluded, as did my NCAA tournament bracket contest (funny how that worked out). And the winner is…..

Brett McIntosh!

Congrats to Brett and to Kentucky! Email me with your email address and I’ll send you that gift card. Thanks everyone for playing!

I’ll try to get back to writing stuff soon.

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket

It is that time of year, y’all. Time for March Madness. I know from the crazy success this post had last year that many of you are waiting to learn my strategy before filling out your own brackets.

Do not worry. I am here to share my secrets once again. Also, new this year, you will have the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card if you play along. So that’s exciting. More on that at the bottom of the page.

A little disclaimer before we get started. I am going into this slightly more informed than I was last year. I kind of know who the best teams are in the SEC. Because I live here. And because, as stated last year, Vandy is my team.

Like last year, I’ll be typing my thoughts as I fill out the bracket, because it helps to really get inside the head of a professional as much as possible when trying to copy their strategy. I understand. I am here to help. Here we go:

I printed my bracket off CBS Sports and boy, is this writing tiny! I can read it if I squint a little, though, so we’re good.

Round 2:

Kentucky vs. Round 1 #1, whatever the heck that means. Kentucky. They won 24 games in a row before Vandy beat them, so I think they got this.

Iowa State vs. Connecticut. Connecticut. No reason, just a hunch. Also, I think that maybe their uniforms are blue. Blue teams are generally better at basketball. That is a fact most sports commentators won’t tell you.

Wichita State vs. VCU. I’m not sure who VCU is but their a seed 12 (am I using that terminology correctly? Just go with it) team and Wichita St. is 5. Plus, what else do they have to do in Kansas in the winter besides play basketball? Answer: nothing. (Wichita is in Kansas, right? [google search wichita.] Yes, it is. Thanks, mom, for those geography lessons. Finally, they’re coming in handy.) Wichita State, it is.

Indiana vs. New Mexico State. New Mexico is new to the tournament this year. So, way to go, guys! That’s quite an accomplishment. Please know that if you’ve made it this far, you’re already a winner. Also, I’m picking Indiana.

UNLV vs. Colorado. UNLV is Las Vegas, right? Wait, people live in Vegas? Besides CSI and casino staff? Hm. UNLV is seed 6, Colorado is seen 11. Going with UNLV.

Baylor vs. S. Dakota St. Baylor.

Notre Dame vs. Xavier. Too bad. I always like picking Xavier because of their fun name. But I’m pretty sure Notre Dame is better. I don’t know why or how I would know that, but I’m pretty sure it’s true.

Duke vs. Lehigh. Lehigh? huh? Duke. duh.


Michigan State vs. Long Island. Like the whole Island? I didn’t know we could enter as a geographical location. Michigan State.

Memphis vs. St. Louis. Good idea, NCAA. Put two of the most dangerous cities in the US together for a basketball game. That’s gonna end well. I’m going with Memphis. Why? Home state, blue uniforms, I hear they’re good.

New Mexico vs. Long Beach State. Wait, is this the New Mexico that’s new this year? I don’t know. Twitter didn’t specify. I’ll pick New Mexico. We all know basketball isn’t a beach sport. I’ll pick you in the sand volleyball bracket, LBS.

Louisville vs. Davidson. Louisville. Kentucky, as a state, is pretty good at basketball. And horse riding.

Murray State vs. Colorado State. Murray State (see above. [they are in KY, right? (google: yes.)]).

Marquette vs. Round 1 #2. Marquette. Two reasons: they’re Seed 3 and it will make it easier if I just go with them, since they’re already on the bracket.

Florida vs. Virginia. (Full disclosure: I read that “Florida. Flo-Rida. Florida.”) Going with Florida.

Missouri vs. Norfolk State. Norfolk State? Where is that? Sounds like an Appalachian school. (google: yep, Virginia.) Missouri. Nothing against Appalachia. I love Appalachia.


Syracuse vs. NC-Asheville. I think Syracuse is usually pretty good.

Kansas State vs. Southern Mississippi. hm. I don’t really know about either of these. Kansas State is ranked one higher. I’ll go with them.

Vanderbilt vs. Harvard. Two smart teams. Definitely Vanderbilt, though. Go ‘Dores! Y’all, they beat Kentucky! We’re really excited about it in Nashville.

Wisconsin vs. Montana. Two states with little to do in the winter. Well, Wisconsin has the Mall of America…no, I think that’s Minnesota. I get those two confused. It doesn’t really matter. I’m going with Wisconsin.

Cincinnati vs. Texas. Normally, I’d go with Texas. But I guess football is really more their thing (FNL). And I remember Cincinnati being pretty good at basketball, I think.

Florida State vs. St. Bonavent. Saint Who? or does that stand for State? State Bonavent? I don’t even know where that is. Florida State.

Gonzaga vs. West Virginia. Gon-za-ga (<the way I always say it) for the win. Interesting names move teams up in my bracket.

Ohio State vs. Loyola (Md.). They had to put the state in there because no one’s heard of it, I guess. (google: loyola.) Nevermind, there are about 10 Loyola schools. Also, CBS, state abbreviations are two capital letters, no period. Ohio State for sure.


North Carolina vs. Round 1 #3. North Carolina, hands down.

Creighton vs. Alabama. Okay, so I had no idea that Creighton even existed. It’s ranked higher than Alabama. Also, I read on facebook that Alabama isn’t very good at basketball, but I don’t know if that was a dig at someone just after a game or if it’s a fact. I suppose Creighton. Sorry, Bama.

Temple vs. Round 1 #4. Temple. They’re in it every year, so they must be fairly good. Right? I mean, players are only there for 4 years, but I suppose a team’s excellence also depends a lot on the coaching. No clue if it’s the same guy as it has been.

Michigan vs. Ohio. Michigan. They’re ranked higher and I once had a roommate who was a passionate Michigan (football) fan.

San Diego State vs. NC State. hmm..didn’t we already have NC State? nope. That was NC Asheville. Is Duke in NC? It’s probably irrelevant. I’ll go with San Diego State.

Georgetown vs. Belmont. Now this is a dilemma. Belmont is ranked way below Georgetown. But they’re the home team, the smaller school, the underdogs. However, I’m pretty sure Georgetown is good at basketball. I guess I’ll have to go with them.

St. Mary’s vs. Purdue. Purdue. Why? St. Mary is a girl (I can say that because I am a girl. And also a Christian. I’m not sure that matters, but I thought I’d mention it). Purdue is typically in this bracket. So, even though St. Mary’s is ranked higher, I’m going for Purdue.

Kansas vs. Detroit. Kansas. Kansas, let’s have a little talk. You have completely, totally messed up my bracket for the last two years. Don’t do it again. Okay? Okay.

Round 3:
SOUTH (P.S. this geography is seriously messed up.)

KY vs. Connecticut. 24. Games. In. A. Row. Kentucky.

Wichita State vs. Indiana. Indiana. Mainly because Wichita State seems so obscure. (insert hipster joke here)

UNLV vs. Baylor. Baylor because I feel like we have something in common since I went to Union and they’re sort of similar. Or maybe not. Whatever.

Notre Dame vs. Duke. Duke. Because 1. Blue 2. They’re everyone’s enemy who is a basketball fan (There have been some passionate discussions here in the office involving Duke. Not that I paid attention to the details, I just heard “Duke” and that level of volume that alludes to high emotional states.). 3. They’re famous for basketball.


Michigan State vs. Memphis. Memphis…Grizzlies? No, that’s the pro team. Right? Are they the tigers? Memphis Tigers? I don’t know. I pick them to win anyway.

New Mexico vs. Louisville. Louisville only because they’re ranked one higher. And the whole Kentucky-is-good-at-basketball theory.

Murray St. vs. Marquette. This is a toughie, because I’m going against what I just said about Kentucky. However, Marquette is a name that’s tossed around often during March Madness. I’m assuming that’s because they’re good and not because their players are constantly getting arrested or something.

Florida vs. Missouri. Florida. Because they’re a big school and they’re good at football. And because one year I went to Atlanta for the final four and they were still in it. I don’t remember who won, but they were in the final four.


Syracuse vs. Kansas St. Syracuse is ranked higher.

Vanderbilt vs. Wisconsin. Vanderbilt. Wisconsin is ranked slightly higher, but I don’t care. Vanderbilt beat Kentucky and that’s all that matters right now.

Cincinatti vs. Florida State. Cincinatti. Oh, wait. Florida State is ranked higher….decisions, decisions. Cincinatti. Why the heck not?

Gonzaga vs. Ohio State. hmm….I like Gonzaga…’s name. But I’m going to have to go with Ohio State.


North Carolina vs. Creighton. North Carolina. Blue uniforms. From North Carolina (it’s like Kentucky).

Temple vs. Michigan. Gut says Temple….checking the rankings…it’s one below, we’ll go with Temple.

San Diego State vs. Georgetown. Georgetown, guys. San Diego, y’all have a really nice zoo, I hear. (bright side?)

Purdue vs. Kansas. Kansas, I swear, if you mess this up…..I will do absolutely nothing.

Regional Semifinals:


Kentucky vs. Indiana. Have y’all been paying attention? Kentucky.

Baylor vs. Duke. Again, Duke.


Memphis vs. Louisville. …checking rankings…Louisville, I guess…no, Memphis. Because anyone can win this. Remember last year’s crazy tournament?

Marquette vs. Florida. Florida (see story about final four above).


Syracuse vs. Vanderbilt. Gotta go with Vanderbilt.

Cincinatti vs. Ohio State. Ohio State.


North Carolina vs. Temple. North Carolina, y’all.

Georgetown vs. Kansas. I’m going with Georgetown because I’m bitter about Kansas messing everything up two years in a row (oh, you picked up on that?).

Wait, I’m confused. There aren’t enough brackets here or something. Oh, nevermind. I wrote it inside the box instead of on the line. We’re good now.

Regional Finals:

Kentucky vs. Duke….Kentucky.

Ohio State vs. Vanderbilt….Vanderbilt.

Memphis vs. FloridaFlorida.

North Carolina vs. GeorgetownNorth Carolina.

National Semifinals:

Wait…this should be the Championship. Perhaps all these are labelled wrong? No, nevermind. Sorry.

Vanderbilt vs. North Carolina….North Carolina (sorry Vandy. I’m still a fan!)

Kentucky vs. Florida….Kentucky.



So there you have it. You can see my bracket completed at CBS Sports where I have set up a bracket group for this blog.

That’s where the winning a $25 Amazon gift card comes in. If you want to enter your bracket into the competition, follow this link: The group name is and the password to enter is naminganimals. You have until Thursday at 11am Eastern Time to set up your bracket. This is a fun group, no judgement, so just pick teams at random if you want. You probably have a chance of winning, no matter how ill informed you are. Example: last year’s bracket challenge.

*This blog is in no way endorsed or affiliated with CBS Sports. I just already had a username set up with them. CBS Sports, if you want to hire me to write entertaining columns like this one, my email address can be found on the About Me page. :-)