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The Saul Phillips Unauthorized Billion-Dollar MAC Bracket Pool*

Your first question probably is: Who the heck is Saul Phillips?

He’s the men’s basketball coach at Ohio University. We like him. Why? He’s a great talker. We’re prejudiced in favor of coaches who give us good quotes.

Saul said this about the Mid-American Conference men’s basketball tournament, which starts Monday:

“I see it as absolutely insanity about to ensue. If any of you guys have seen any trends let me know, because it’s been night after night 100 percent mayhem. . . . I don’t know how many people fill out brackets for the MAC conference tournament, but the odds of getting that one right are almost zero.”

With the University at Buffalo claiming the No. 2 seed in the tourney, we’re taking Phillips up on his suggestion. Disclaimer: Saul has absolutely nothing to do with this contest, other than the fact we’re hijacking his quotes, which is why it’s unauthorized.

A billion dollars? That’s a reference to Warren Buffett. We like him. Why? He owns our paper, and we’re glad to have a job (although we wouldn’t mind a pay raise). And he hasn’t sold us out to some chain, like Gannett.

Buffett got a ton of publicity last March by offering $1 billion to anyone who could correctly pick every game of the 68-team NCAA Tournament. Please. It’s like saying predict how many grains of sand are on Venice Beach. Nobody even got through the first round.

This contest is less preposterous, but there’s one hitch (hence, the asterisk). The $1 billion can’t be paid out until the day I am worth $1 billion. When a typo in some Saudi prince’s will allows me to inherit $1 billion, I promise to give it to you.

But it’s still a con game. You’re all suckers. There’s no way you’re going to pick every game of the MAC Tournament.

Should anyone beat the odds, there’s an interim prize until the cash can be delivered. If you pick every game, before the tournament starts, I will bestow the title “Swami of the MAC” upon you in a blog post. Write your picks in the comments section or email them with your name and hometown to


Monday, March 9

First Round

Game 1: No. 5 Bowling Green vs. No. 12 Ball State.

Game 2: No. 8 Eastern Michigan vs. No. 9 Miami.

Game 3: No. 6 Western Michigan vs. No. 11 Ohio.

Game 4: No. 7 Akron vs. No. 10 Northern Illinois.

Wednesday, March 11

Second Round

Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner.

Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner.

Thursday, March 12

Third Round

Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. No. 4 Toledo.

Game 8: Winner Game 6 vs. No. 3 Kent State.

Friday, March 13


Game 9: Game 7 Winner vs. No. 1 Central Michigan.

Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. No. 2 Buffalo.

Saturday, March 14

MAC Championship

Game 11: Championship Game.

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