There's no need to fear -Underdog is here.
That line from a long-forgotten cartoon likely will apply this week as March Madness will see more than its share of upsets.
Those of us who have followed the NCAA men's basketball tournament for years understand that just because the committee gives one team a higher seed than its opponent doesn't necessarily mean its going to win, or for that matter even is the better team.
Sure, we all know who the powerhouse teams are. Any team seeded in the top four of a regional has a chance to go all the way. Any team seeded from 13 to 16 has little chance of advancing past the opening round, yet alone making it to the Sweet 16.
Never has a No. 16 seed beaten a No. 1 in the opening round.
Nor has a No. 15 seed ever advanced to the Sweet 16, so don't think about trying to buck such long-term trends when filling out your brackets.
Most of our focus in seeking bracket busters should be in the range of the 5 through 12 seeds.
But I do have one outlandish first-round upset. All season long, I've been quite unimpressed with Georgetown, who I feel is overrated. The Hoyas, a No. 3 seed, will meet No. 14 Belmont in the opening round. As soon as a I saw the matchup, I liked Belmont. And it turns out that pick is not so outlandish as the Hoyas were installed as just a 4-point favorite. Then again, Belmont was a sexy first-round pick last year and that didn't work out so well.
As for the games involving the local teams, I'm going to sound like a homer (there's a surprise).
Obviously, Ohio State should roll over 17-point underdog Loyola of Maryland. In fact, it is the No. 2 seed Buckeyes -not top-seeded Syracuse -who is the favorite to win the East Regional title (Ohio State is 7-to-5, Syracuse is 5-to-2).
West Virginia, meanwhile, was a 1-point underdog in its game against Gonzaga when the first lines hit the board in Las Vegas.
It took just minutes for those wagering to pound the Mountaineers, who quickly became a 1-point favorite.
As much as WVU has been frustrating to watch this season, this looks like a good matchup, especially playing in nearby Pittsburgh, which amounts to a home game.
The local team with the toughest draw is Ohio, as the Bobcats were made a 6-point underdog against John Beilein's Michigan team. Anyone who watched OU defeat Akron for the MAC title couldn't help but be impressed.
While it's hard to call an upset, it's certainly possible, especially given Michigan's 22-point loss to Ohio State. Maybe the Bobcats can borrow OSU's water bottles.
My best piece of advice for filling out brackets? Go with your gut. Pick who you like, not who some talking head on TV or newspaper columnist likes. Most of all, have fun.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org