Before Tipoff: Against All Odds

The games haven’t even started yet, and it's already among the most exciting Final Fours in memory. It’s obvious that this will go down in history as one of the most amazing Final Fours even before the tipoff of the first game. Ever since these four became The Four, sports fans' pulse rates haven't gone back to normal. Up until a couple of weeks ago, millions of people wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether VCU was a college or a mobile phone carrier. Similarly, it was only a year ago that the Butler Bulldogs became the nation's underdogs. According to, before this year's tournament started, the likelihood that these four teams would face off in the Finals was 1 in 93,297,507. Even if these guys are off by 10 or 20 million, those are still pretty long odds.

So instead of trying to beat odds like that to make a few bucks, I’ve got a sure thing to share with you. Every February, buy stock in companies like Ticonderoga, Eberhard, and Art Gum, Inc. That's right. Put all your money in eraser companies. That way, you're guaranteed to make money each year when all those people show up at work dubiously shouting, "I had it all the way. Check out my brackets." If you look closely at their brackets on the piece of paper they don't want you to look closely at, you'll see that their real picks were erased. If you bring a forensic team in this year, they'll be able to tell you that his Final Four were actually Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Florida. So the sure way to make money during the NCAA tournament every year is to buy eraser futures.

Every year when I arrive at the Final Four city, I try to get the flavor of the place on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel. One of my observations after arriving in Houston is that it's a good city to get sick in. There seems to be a hospital or medical center on every block. Maybe that's why there are so many gun and weapon stores: people feel that if they accidentally shoot themselves, it’s no big deal. There’s a gun wound specialist just around the corner.

I saw a great billboard on the way to the hotel. It was an ad for a lawyer whose phone number is 713 – WASN'T ME. I'm not kidding. After seeing this, I kept hoping that the next billboard would be from the prosecutor’s office with the phone number 1-800-OH YES IT WAS. Unfortunately, the second billboard didn't pop up. It shouldn't have surprised me. I mean, what are the odds that those two billboards would be on the same street? I can’t do the math and answer that question, but I'm pretty sure the odds of that happening are a lot smaller than the odds of seeing these four teams play this weekend.

Enjoy the Final Four.