The MAE-AB (may ab)Guide to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Coaching in Sweaters is a No-No

Coaching in Sweaters is a No-No

Now here's a stylish Coach

Now here’s a stylish Coach


This guide or method if you will to viewing the Madness that comes in March by way of NCAA Basketball you’ll find nowhere else. It’s a nonsensical approach that has nothing to do with brackets, basketball acumen or gut feelings. Instead, the MAE-AB method gives the viewer specific points of observation, much like a scavenger hunt, that makes B-ball watching enjoyable for everyone from the College Hoops Fanatic (guilty) to the poor soul who’s forced to watch with a loved one. What makes the MAE-AB method even more remarkable is that it provides all the tools you’ll need to determine without a doubt which team should win each and every game! As a testimonial, I’ve used this method for years and have NEVER been unable to conclude who should win ….it works I tell you!

I don’t usually keep score, but since you’re new to this method you may want to try out the unusual scorekeeping associated the MAE-AB Method. Each team starts out with 50 X’s and 50 O’s. A team cannot earn any additional X’s or O’s, but they can surely lose them. X’s are worth double the amount of an 0. Let’s get to the X’s and O’s shall we?-

Most Important Observation Point: The Coach

You’ve got to get on this one right away, preferably before the game begins.

Attire: Any Head Coach worth his paycheck wears a coat and tie to games. The most-snazziest of dressers incorporate their school colors in subtle ways, perhaps in the tie or suspenders. Entire suits in the school colors can be distracting especially if those colors aren’t black, navy or gray. For instance, Roy Williams of UNC should be docked an X or two….Carolina Blue Plaid just goes too far. Jim Larranaga at Miami knows how to dress for his coaching duties and if fact easily made the transition from George Mason to Miami in terms of incorporating school color in his ensemble. Observation of the Coat and Tie Coach doesn’t stop at the beginning of the game. You have to pay close attention to when the coat actually comes off. Is at the beginning of the game? When the game gets close? Does he make it to half time? Is it back on in the 2nd half? So many things to consider and luckily you can dock Xs/Os however you see fit. I personally like it when the Coach makes a statement like calling a timeout and then dramatically taking the coat off and maybe even loosens the tie. If the game isn’t close, I say just keep your clothing on. Sweaters in school color should never be worn as game attire and if done so, Xs/Os should be docked at the fullest extent possible in accordance with the non-existent rules. The worst ever is an entire coaching staff in the same sweater…Ugh. Bright Red is appallin  and Orange is just plain disgusting. Sweat Suits should be reserved for practice only (WV) and any coach caught wearing one to his game should forfeit all his teams’s Xs/Os. Way to go Coach!

Name: I realize D-1 Coaches aren’t the same as Hollywood celebrities who change their names for professional reasons. Some Coaches were given names that lend themselves perfectly to their chosen profession. Listen carefully to the Coaches name and how it looks in print. Listen, too, how the announcers treat the name. One of the best active Coach’s name out there is VCU’s Shaka Smart. Oh my, what a great name (good coach too IMHO). Interesting fact, Shaka was named after a Zulu Warrior according to Wikipedia. The great Dean Smith had a perfect first name as a Coach at an Academic Institution. He surely was the “Dean” of College Basketball and what better way to honor his name than the construction of the “Dean Dome”. Fortunately for the MAE-AB Method, some weren’t lucky enough to be given good Coaching names. Names you might consider as poor Coach’s names participating in the Tournament this year are Thad Matta (yes, I do like to pick on OSU), Tony Bennett (I think we all know who comes to mind first) and Bryce Drew (it sounds like the beginning of a sentence). Feel free to decide for yourself what makes a good Coaching name and what doesn’t…just make sure to dock X’s and O’s accordingly.

Second Most Important Observation Point: The Mascot

The Mascot is truly telling of which team should win a basketball game. So many things need to be considered for this observation point. The name obviously, but just important is presentation and representation. My rule of order for Mascot domination is based in preference applied science (trademark pending). Typically a ferocious cat is going to kill a domesticated dog, yet something tells me a silly looking lion won’t have a chance against the Butler Bulldog. Likewise, an animal mascot should eat a plant mascot alive. For instance, any self- respecting Ram should eat a Buckeye for dinner (oops, what happened last night VCU?). Heroic Human-form Mascots should always trump a Satanic Mascot. That’s why a Cavalier should always beat a Devil, unless of course that Devil is Blue…you get the picture? Decide for yourself where bugs, fish, weather phenomenon, and non-descript objects fall when docking X’s/O’s. Throughout the game, observe the mascot whenever possible (I swear some stations spend so much time on the players you hardly see the mascot at all!). Things to consider for X/O dockage is pleasing appearance, dancing ability, the ability to annoy opponent fans and most important the tendency to irritate the mascot’s own fans.

Third and Final Observation Point: The Players and their Uniforms

First and foremost, if a player acts like a smart-ass you dock X/O’s big-time. It doesn’t matter how the announcers might describe an incident, whether fouls are assessed or how the Coach reacts. YOU are in charge here, YOU make the call. While the ridicule of the player’s personal appearance is out of bounds (for the MAE-AB Method only), heavy ridicule of the uniform and warm-up is encouraged. You have to wonder how some of the uniform selections are made and when it was determined okay to dress like a highlighter. Reduce Xs/Os as you wish just try to keep tattoo placement and hairstyle out of it.

By now you probably have a good idea who should win. If by some chance the other team comes out victorious, don’t get upset. You didn’t get it wrong, YOU GOT ROBBED!

The only way to tie this into my blog is to point out that the MAE-AB Method of NCAA Basketball viewing is experienced best while sipping an adult beverage. This evening my beverage of choice is a Dirty Martini followed by Red Wine with my Filet Mignon with Brandy Shallot Sauce. Keep it up Spartans!