With all the talk of Elite Eights, Final Fours and bracket mania coming to men's college golf in 2009, it seems appropriate to revive something I explored last year when I was struggling with my picks for the men's NCAA basketball tournament. (Not that anyone else cares, but this year my picks are going much better in the infamous 13th annual Johnny Quest Memorial NCAA Candy Bar Poll.) With men's hoops down to 16 teams, could we predict how the rest of tournament would go based on how good their men's golf teams at these schools are?
The premise is a little outlandish, perhaps, but is it any more preposterous than somebody picking games based on their favorite colors? Or those who simply flip a coin for each game? A year ago, this system had USC winning the men's hoops championship, not Florida, although it did successful have the Gators and UCLA get to the Final Four.
Just to remember the ground rules: I go through this year's brackets from the Sweet 16 on, picking each of the remaining games based strictly on how schools' golf teams have done head-to-head in tournaments they've played against each other to see if this might be my new method to March Madness. In the event of ties, or the fact the teams haven't faced each other, I'll use their overall win-loss records on the season (versus all opponents), the better percentage advancing.
The Tar Heels tied for first at the Bank of Tennessee at The Ridge (lost a scorecard playoff for the title)but have three top-five finishes in seven starts with an overall record of 55-37-3 (.595).
The Cougars tied for first at the Cuthbert Cup this spring (lost a scorecard playoff for the title) but have just two top-five finishes in eight starts with an overall record of 34-66-1 (.342).
Winner: North Carolina
The Cardinals have one win (UNGC-Bridgestone) and six top-five finishes in eight starts with an overall record of 78-35-3 (.685).
North Carolina vs. Tennessee__
The Tar Heels and Volunteers have been in the same field in two events this season (Bank of Tennessee at The Ridges, Schenkel E-Z-Go). UNC finished T-1 and 10th, respectively, while Tennessee was T-5 and fourth, leaving the two teams tied head-to-head at 1-1. Using overall winning percentages to break the tie the winner is ...
The Jayhawks have not won this season and have only one top-five finishes in nine starts with an overall record of 29-93-3 (.244).
The Wildcats have not won this season and have only one top-five finish in nine starts with an overall record of 25-106-3 (.198).
The Badgers have not won this season but have two top-five finishes in seven starts with an overall record of 64-28-4 (.688).
The Wildcats have not won this season and have not had a top-five finish in six starts, posting an overall record of 16-75-3 (.186).
Kansas vs. Wisconsin
The Jayhawks and Badgers have played in one tournament together, the Prestige at PGA West in October (Kansas finished 16th; Wisconsin finished sixth).
The Tigers have one win (Charleston Southern Spring Invitational) and five top-five finishes with an overall record of 59-41-4 (.587).
The Spartans have one win (Notre Dame Gridiron Classic) and three top-five finishes in six starts with an overall record of 44-27-1 (.618).
Winner: Michigan State
The Longhorns and Cardinal both played in the Olympia Fields Illini Invitational (UT: second; Stanford: fifth) and the Isleworth Invitational (Stanford: ninth; UT: T-14).
Texas has three top-five finishes in 10 starts and an overall record of 66-52-3 (.558); Stanford has one win (UH-Hilo Invitational) and five top-fives in seven starts with an overall record of 64-17 (.790).
Michigan State vs. Stanford__
There's a little Intrigue here, with former Stanford assistant coach Sam Puryear now the head coach at MSU. Since the schools haven't played in the same event, the winning percentages determine the ...
The Hilltoppers have one win (Cobb-Ferrell Mean Green Classic) but it's their lone top-five finish. Their overall record is 40-40 (.500).
Xavier vs. West Virginia
The Musketeers have no wins and two top-five finishes with an overall record of 43-56-2 (.436).
The Mountaineers don't have a varsity men's golf team.
UCLA vs. Xavier__
The two schools haven't played in the same event this year, so the winning percentage gives the victory to ...
Tennessee vs. Wisconsin__
The Volunteers and Badgers haven't squared off this season. The Volunteers' .791 winning percentage beats the Badgers' .688.
Stanford vs. UCLA
These Pac-10 rivals, interestingly, have played in just one common events: the CordeValle Collegiate. There, the Bruins won the team title by 11 strokes over the runner-up Cardinal.
Tennessee vs. UCLA__
The battle for the national title is a good one with the Volunteers and Bruins have played in three tournaments together:
Callaway Match Play: UCLA wins; Tennessee is fifth
Ping/Arizona Invitational: Tennessee wins; UCLA is third
John Hayt Collegiate Invitational: UCLA is second; Tennessee is T-3
And there you have it â¿¿ you heard it here first â¿¿ the winner of the 2007 NCAA men's basketball tournament will be the UCLA Bruins.
Thanks of course to their golf team.