A fine Wednesday to you all!  I must beg your pardon for my surly demeanor this morning.  Mr. Patrick’s holiday started early and ended late yesterday (we don’t believe in saints down here, but we sure do believe in Dr. Jameson, Rev. Guinness, and Sarg. Baileys).  With the Black and Tans and Car Bombs coming hot and heavy for eight hours, Bishop O’Chuggagin’s Pub on 5th Street was feeling more like Baghdad than Dublin, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN!!!!  Unfortunately, as is so often the case, I am now paying for my festive indiscretions with cigarette ravaged lungs, a lost iPhone, and a forehead covered in crudely drawn wieners.  But, such is life.  I mean, I’m not gonna be 10,684 forever, you know?  Might as well live it up while I’m young, right?

More importantly, with the birthday of Taint Patrick behind us, we can begin looking forward to the next big holiday. What’s that? Easter?  Never heard of it.  No, I was talking about March Madness.  We love March Madness here in hell not only for the millions of dreams that are dashed in three short weeks, but also for the damn fine basketball on display.  Also, it’s broadcast on CBS, which means extra hours in the week when they cannot make us watch Two and Half Men.

And yes, I have joined the millions of other overnight basketball experts who have recently crawled out of hibernation to proclaim their predictions with absolute certainty while bereting you for your inferior selections.  The difference between me and Digger Phelps, however, is that I have the power to influence games, whereas he only has the power to make people wish they were watching something else.  While I am restricted from interfering with any games featuring Christians in the starting lineup,  my command over the armies of the underworld is usually enough to place my bracket in the top one or two percent of ESPN Tournament Challenge entrants.  It is not enough to get a 16 seed over a one.  Don’t ask, I’ve tried.

This year, as a favor to the folks at The Talking Mirror, I have agreed to share a few of my tourney tips with the loyal Talking Mirror readers.  TTM’s editors have been kind enough to publish several of my op/ed pieces on their site so I’m more than happy to throw them a bracketology bone.  Also, several of my underlings are on the board at AIG so, lets be honest, I don’t really need the prize money.

So without further ado, here are some things Dukefan666 will be factoring into his bracket this year:

1) As always, I’m picking Duke and Wake Forest to tie and share the championship.  When it’s the Blue Devils versus the Demon Deacons, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite.  I think the real winner in that game is hell.

2) No team with three or more white players has won a basketball game since 1985.  Don’t expect that to change anytime soon, especially if America’s new president has anything to say about it.

3) Everyone’s riding high on Pitt’s Dejuan Blair right now.  It would be a real tragedy for a lot of brackets if he were to get injured in a freak mascot accident in the early minutes of Pittsburgh’s Sweet Sixteen game against Florida State.  Not saying it’s gonna happen, just saying it’d be a real shame…

4) Rick Pitino hasn’t been to Mass since he was twelve.  I have it on good authority that Louisville won’t be making it past the second round.

5) Teams with non-animal mascots upset me and will not be shown favor (with the exception of the aforementioned demonic teams).  Don’t count on the Boilermakers, Sooners, Aggies, Buckeyes, or Akron State Zips to be making any runs.

6) Honestly, is there a less entertaining brand of basketball then the one played in the Big 10? The answer is yes.  It’s called women’s basketball.  I hear the ladies’ tournament is being broadcast on Comedy Central.  Hahahaha!  HA!  That being said, the Big 10 sucks something awful and none of their teams will win anything.  Ever.

7) Dickie V has not had a coherent thought pass through his head in over a decade.  Pick the opposite of whatever he says.  (He ruined Digiorno’s for me, and for that I will never forgive him.)

I was gonna add some more, but this article is getting dangerously close to 700 words, and God has told me in no uncertain terms that anything above 700 is his territory.  So I’m gonna call it quits while I’m still ahead (or at least not as behind as I could be).  Enjoy the tournament as much as your petty, insignificant lives will allow.