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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 68.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Paper
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Bracket bedlam

The people in my life who don't share my obsession with high school and college sports chuckle at the term March Madness. They think it's a lot of marketing hype built around a convenient alliteration. Ha!

Consider this weekend's predicament: On Friday, the Madison-area hoops universe moves to Beloit Memorial High School for the sectional semifinals, with Madison Memorial playing West at 6 p.m. followed by La Follette vs. Middleton at 8.

Nirvana, right? But the Badgers tip off in the Big Ten tournament at 5 p.m. against either arch-nemesis Michigan State or Northwestern. That means carting an earpiece into the Memorial gym, a notoriously loud venue.

Saturday doesn't get any easier, with the Big Ten semifinals demanding attention in the afternoon and the boys sectional final in Beloit at 7 p.m. Also at 7, the Badger women's hockey team plays Harvard at the Kohl Center in round one of the NCAA tournament.

Add to all that the need to keep an eye on Winona, Minn., where NCAA Division II regional basketball action takes place on Saturday and Sunday, featuring the top-ranked and La Follette-fueled Winona State Warriors.

Then, next week, the NCAA men's basketball tournament begins, the state boys tournament takes over the Kohl Center, and, assuming they beat Harvard, the Badger women travel to the NCAA Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y.

To take some of the edge off, I hope to find time to read a brilliant new book by Mark Reiter, Richard Sandomir and Nigel Holmes called The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything.

Using the same kind of tournament-style brackets that are now spread across my dining room table, the book seeks to solve "the deep-rooted paradoxes of everyday life." Brackets determine the best Elvis Costello song, jock film and candy bar. The book begins, appropriately, with a bracket for March Madness Moments.

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