Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March Madness

Spring is here and March Madness is in full swing. Sixty-five bellicose nations were selected and seeded by the UN&CIA and we’re already down to the Sweet Sixteen.

No big surprises in the Mideast regionals. Number one seed the United States won its bracket and is almost a sure bet to advance to the Final Four. Six years ago, they demolished small school rival Afghanistan in the opening round and two years later they appeared to do the same to Arab League longshot Iraq.

Other survivors in the Mideast include longtime hawks Iran and Syria. Overlooked once again was tiny regional powerhouse Israel who is sitting out the tournament for the thirtieth straight year.

The Far East seedings caught everyone by surprise. With the Pac 10 traditionally dominated by such giants as China and Japan, plucky North Korea garnered the number one slot. Despite its economic troubles and recent suspension, the Krazy Kingdom impressed the selection committee with its million man army and its capability for unpredictable outside shooting.

Historically, the Western European regional included some of the best match-ups. But most of the once powerful NATO Alliance have let their offensive game slip in the face of U.S. domination. Not surprisingly, the United Kingdom has advanced while former rivals France and Germany bowed out early.

The Eastern European regional traditionally was a lock for perennial Iron Curtain Conference champion Russia. But with the reorganization of that conference, Russia, although still seeded number one, no longer poses a serious threat to make the Final Four.

Some fans are looking to the Subcontinent regional for what could be the most explosive match-up of the year. Longtime rivals India and Pakistan were seeded one-two and will likely face off in the Asian final. Both possess the long bomb and are not averse to perimeter shooting.

In the end, all eyes will be on the U.S. who were the early pick to breeze through the Mideast region in their quest for world domination on the "Road to Armageddon." But victory, of course, is never guaranteed and every year there are one or two upsets. Longtime fans will remember that the U.S. itself once fell to little known Far East competitor Vietnam and they may face the same fate against the "Fightin’ Muslims" from Iraq.

However the tournament unfolds, fans can watch around-the-clock television coverage. It’s expected to last for as many weeks, months or years as it takes. Check your local listings.

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