A Scorned Foodie Picks The NCAA TournamentPosted: March 21, 2013
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?
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?
By using these new criteria, I worked through my bracket and came to the following final four teams:
Midwest – 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.
West – 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).
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.
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.
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.