A Scorned Foodie Picks The NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga

Every year I catch the fever that is called March Madness. I watch the selection show, scour the Internet and eaves drop on conversations around the water cooler, all to inform my NCAA tourney brackets.

Every year I sit back and watch as somebody else surpasses me in braketology and ask myself where it all went wrong.  Maybe I’m just not suited for predicting college basketball games in March.

Every year I hear that the person who won the pool picked their brackets based on team mascot or team colors or some other extraneous criteria. Then I feel even worse. How could somebody who knows nothing about the sport beat me?

A picture of a lightbulb is often used to repr...

I have an Idea!

This year will be different. I’ve decided to use a unique selection process to choose my brackets. I thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion –

Why not choose the teams based on their food pedigree. That sounds so ridiculous it just may work.

So here’s the criteria I used:

Teams that are in regions that have a strong food culture supersede a team from an area that is a culinary wasteland.

  • Is there a strong farming community that thrives on sustainable, artisan foods?
  • Do they make all natural, handmade foods in the region?
  • Is there a strong restaurant scene near the school?
  • Is the area known for a specific food that is unique and delicious?

My Picks

By using these new criteria, I worked through my bracket and came to the following final four teams:

BBQ ribsMidwest – From a food standpoint, probably the weakest collection of schools. However, there are a few standouts, including St. Louis, Oregon, Memphis and Duke.  Based on their BBQ and whiskey, I’m giving this region to Memphis (6), though Oregon is a close second.

Category:Stub-Class Cheeses articlesWest – This is a tough region. You have Southern University, Wisconsin and Gonzaga from parts of the country that feature great food. These three are all legitimate choices, but because cheese is one of my favorite foods, I’m going to have to choose Wisconsin (5).

A female Atlantic Blue Crab (Callinectes sapid...

South – I wouldn’t say this region features the obvious areas one would associate with a thriving food scene, but there are a few to note. North Carolina, UCLA, San Diego State and Georgetown are the best. I’ll have to pick Georgetown (2) because DC has such a great restaurant scene, it’s close to Maryland which has some of the best seafood on the east coast and not far from the pig farms in Virginia. Hard to argue with that one.

Deutsch: Bratwürste.

East – There are a number of contenders in this region. You have Cal in northern California, Marquette in Milwaukee, University of Miami, and Pacific (offering northern Oregon produce, hops for beer and wine grapes). So my heart says Pacific, but Cal is also a major consideration being close to farms, cheese makers and of course, Napa. This is too close to call and any of these teams could be a legitimate choice, but I have to go with Marquette (3) since it is in Milwaukee, which stands for brats, beer and cheese – some of my favorite food vices.

Georgetown Hoyas athletic logo

Of those 4 teams, I’ll have to award the NCAA Championship to…Georgetown (2). It offers great restaurants, fresh seafood and reasonable proximity to a great agriculture scene.

So there you have it. A few expected picks and a few surprises. Maybe I wouldn’t be that far off from these selections by choosing based on basketball ability, but I certainly had more fun in the process.

Have any opinions about my selections, please kindly respond below and let me know what you think.

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2 Comments on “A Scorned Foodie Picks The NCAA Tournament”

  1. John Day says:

    As a proud Louisville graduate, it pains me to see that my school didn’t make the Ken K. Food/School NCAA basketball rankings. I’ll take solace in the fact that we won the tournament, anyway. In reality, Louisville has an astonishingly vibrant restaurant scene–with plenty of locally grown produce and meats. IMHO, bourbon alone should have qualified my Cards for your list. We’ll compare notes prior to the BCS football championships in the Fall. Good luck with your site.

    • aLocalTable says:

      Hi John, thanks for you interest in our blog and your comments about our NCAA Tournament post.

      It’s funny you mention Louisville because I had wanted to include them. Being a bourbon drinker, it could’ve been the obvious choice, but with so many other areas in this country that are producing great foods, it was hard to pick one over the other.

      Hindsight being 20/20, they were the obvious choice and would’ve proved my new bracket-choosing technique correct. I guess you live and learn.

      Anyway, let’s touch base during the college football season because we may be on to something here…


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