Max likes Louisville.
Really, that’s all you need to know.
He also picks Kansas, New Mexico and North Carolina State to go to the Final Four.
And that should be all you need to know as you prepare for Spring Break for Adults and fill out your NCAA bracket. Because Max knows.
You should know that Max is a cat. Not just a cool cat, but actually a real cat. Max, which is short for The Max Factor, is the 9-year-old gray former stray adopted six years ago by our own main American-Statesman bracketeer Kevin Lyttle — actually, Kevin says Max adopted him — and Max knows his stuff. He cleaned up in our office pool last year, having the best entry of 35 experts. No kidding.
Now Max and I part ways this season, but then we have slightly different systems. He had a preference for all things feline and fowl since, well, he’s a cat and he chases birds like Ted Cruz does liberals. That’s why his Final Four includes the Cardinals and Jayhawks. That he also put the Wolfpack and the Lobos in there speaks to his objectivity, because he absolutely detests dogs.
Max did pick Kentucky to win it all last year, but so did I. So what does that tell you? I picked the Wildcats because of Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and John Calipari’s all-NBA roster, and Max picked ’em because, yeah, they’re Cats.
Not to be catty, but I go with talent. He goes with tabbies.
I go with guards. He goes with felines and fowl, and he has plenty to choose with 10 Tigers, Wildcats, Panthers and such, and eight birdmen like the Bluejays and Golden Eagles.
I go with defense. He goes with offense because he likes to run down rabbits. (He also picked the 13th-seeded Jackrabbits of South Dakota State to stun fourth-seeded Michigan.)
I’m taking Georgetown to win it all because it meets all my prerequisites for a champion. It’s tested because the Hoyas play in the Big East, the nation’s best conference — not the Big Ten or the Mountain West, no matter what the RPI says. Georgetown has a superstar in Otto Porter. It has a terrific coach in John Thompson III (remember, it’s a good year for IIIs, with Robert Griffin III, although he didn’t go all the way, either). The Hoyas allow just 56 points a game, which keeps them in every game.
I don’t feel as strongly about my champion as I did a year ago when a blind squirrel — or a cat — could have picked Kentucky. I considered Miami, but I have the Hurricanes bowing out against Indiana, which just might be destiny’s team. It won’t surprise me if the Hoosiers cut down the nets.
The other half of my bracket has me even more uneasy because I couldn’t pull the trigger on St. Louis and reluctantly picked soft Duke to get to the Final Four. I know Louisville is the popular pick, but its guards can go crazy at times, and the Midwest Region is loaded with dangerous teams. I think at least four, if not five, teams can advance out of that region.
The West is there for the taking, by far the easiest of the four. That’s why I think Gonzaga can finally put it all together. We know the Zags are the only team to win two conferences this year, the West Coast and the Big 12. I’ll be rooting for Kansas State, and I think the Wildcats have a shot with a strong defense and a good 3-point shooting club, just like Iowa State, uh, minus the defense. That said, I have the Cyclones taking out the Irish.
My upsets are 12th-seeded Ole Miss over stodgy Wisconsin and 11th-seeded Belmont over Arizona. Wanted to take a flier on Montana, but I look for Syracuse’s length and zone to prevail.
If the NCAA affair follows the form of the regular season, this should be the craziest, most upside-down tournament ever. In other words, very few if any No. 1 seeds should see Atlanta in April. No fewer than seven teams occupied the No. 1 spot in the polls. But no way we see a 16 seed knock off Indiana or Louisville. It will happen eventually. After all, didn’t we see Northern Illinois play in a BCS bowl? Or was it Northern Iowa?
Max, however, lives on the edge with an eight seed and a three seed making the Final Four.
You’ll be glad to know that Max didn’t go all Charlie Sheen on us and accept a spot on Dancing with the Stars. He did splurge, spending his 2012 winnings on Fancy Feasts liver treats and catnip toys.
But Max did go with a bird in the hand instead of two in the mouth and is betting his whole litter box on the Louisville Cardinals. Personally, I’d copy Max’s bracket.
BOHLS, GOLDEN CHAT
Join columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden for their weekly chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday on statesman.com/bevo beat.