Lynch: Desperation on both ends of bracket

03/21/2012 11:54 PM

03/22/2012 12:22 AM

Jason Boesch could use a win.

The basketball season wasn't particularly kind to the Atwater boys coach as his young team experienced its share of struggles.

Even the co-ed soccer team he plays on with Falcons head football coach Bob Valladao hasn't enjoyed a lot of success on the pitch. Heck, I've personally scored three goals against them in the last year.

His history in the Sun-Star Coaches Bracket Challenge hasn't gone any better. Boesch finished on the bottom half in 2011 with 48 points. That's pretty much how the contest has gone for him, that is until now.

Boesch sent in his bracket right away and then faxed in an amended one right before the start of the tournament.

Attached was a message not suitable for print, but the gist was his losing days were over.

"I told Shawn Jansen I was tired of this losing stuff and I needed to get focused," Boesch said with a laugh. "Historically I usually do one bracket where I just go with my gut, and then you go online and read what the experts think and make little changes."

Boesch's brackets were subtly different, but the changes he did make have have been huge in a tight competition.

He removed his original upset of Belmont advancing to the Sweet 16 and went with North Carolina State instead. The moves got Boesch four extra points and have him tied with Pacheco football coach David Snapp for the lead with 46 points.

Le Grand's Raul Alvarez is just off the pace with 44, while I and a group a group of five others remain in striking distance at 42.

"You can tell everyone that it's all over and that I've got things all wrapped up," Boesch said.

If things go his way in the Sweet 16, that may be true. With almost the entire field submitting identical Final Fours, title games and champions, the only real way to distinguish ones self will be with who advances to the Elite 8.

Boesch can only lose ground with Vanderbilt out of the tournament. Snapp can surge ahead with a Wisconsin win. But if Syracuse should happen to come out of that portion of the bracket, things will be wide open for the rest of the field.

As the old Wide World of Sports intro taught us, there's no thrill of victory without an agony of defeat.

I endured that bitter taste a year ago as only GV assistant Jerry Stillahn prevented me from a last-place finish. And right now that distinction entirely to my fellow writer Shawn Jansen, who is limping along with 31 points.

For years my counterpart has used this column to point out people blindly sticking with their schools has proved their undoing.

GV coach Matt Thissen and his love of Duke are usually the punchline, but this year Jansen has fallen into his own trap.

Spending the year pulling for his Alma mater of San Diego State, Jansen has watched a lot of Mountain West basketball. Becoming slightly enamored with those teams, Jansen had two advancing to the Sweet 16.

It's cost him dearly, and I for one couldn't be happier for the guy.

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via e-mail at slynch@mercedsun-star.com.

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