How to go deep in your pool

Once again, in his role as public servant, Mr. Flip advises you on how to fill out your NCAA tournament bracket, making you the envy of everyone in your office pool. (As opposed to a regular pool, where Mr. Flip's appearance elicits not envy, but pity for Mrs. Flip.)

* Cornell: Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann are alumni, but Mr. Flip wouldn't expect them to attend the same NCAA tournament viewing party. Such bad vibes have to carry over to the Big Red, eliminating it in the first round.


* North Carolina: This season, Tyler Hansbrough is no longer the greatest thing since sliced bread. It seems he's only the greatest thing since pita bread, which means the Tar Heels should be able to pocket a run to the Elite Eight.

* Oklahoma: It's Blake Griffin who's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Enjoy him in the Final Four before he turns into Marcus Fizer.


* Binghamton: Until Gruber University qualifies, this school will hold the distinction of being the only team named after a McHale's Navy character to make the NCAA tournament. But win a game? As the captain would say, "Wha, wha, wha?"

* Connecticut: Put the Huskies down to go all the way. Why? Because then, at the championship post-game news conference, someone can ask coach Jim Calhoun about how much of a bonus he got for winning a national title.

* DeVry: What? Didn't make it? But this school is on television all the time.

* Siena: It's almost the same as Sienna, as in Sienna Miller, and she's gorgeous. So put Siena down for a first-round upset.

* Cleveland State: Cleveland is a city, not a state. Bounced in the opener for a poorly conceived name.

* Robert Morris and Stephen F. Austin: Talk about your one-man teams!

Fowl play

Japan's Hanshin Tigers have endured the KFC curse, and it has nothing to do with that certain feeling in your stomach when you've eaten one too many thighs.


In 1985, fans of the team celebrating a title took a statue of Colonel Sanders from outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet and tossed it into a river. The statue couldn't be found, and the Tigers haven't won a championship since.

However, divers working in the river recently came upon the Colonel, and now that he's back, KFC wants to see whether he can help the Chicago Cubs, who have been cursed even longer. The company wrote to the Cubs, saying:

"We - at Kentucky Fried Chicken - want to help. We are working desperately with our Japanese colleagues to bring the curse-breaking Colonel Sanders statue to your field by Opening Day. While we can't promise the statue will snap curses of billy goats, black cats or even a foul-ball-interfering fan, we figure it can't hurt."

Though the team apparently has no plans to take KFC up on its offer, the ever-helpful People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals decided to weigh in. According to a PETA news release:

"We hope that you'll do the right thing for animals - and the Cubs - and tell KFC to take its Colonel Sanders statue and jump into that Japanese river," PETA director Dan Shannon wrote. "If one irritated goat could cause a decades-long curse, just imagine what billions of angry chickens could do."

For one thing, they would probably make quite a racket singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."


Compiled from news service and Web reports by Mr. Flip, who would assume KFC makes the PETA people feel extra crispy.