Don: In the South regional, I love the 5-12 matchup between Microsoft and Cuba. One still a state-run monopoly, the other a monopoly still running from the states.
Bill: You know, Don, some people questioned whether Microsoft should be here at all, since they don’t have an army. But remember, they spend more money on defence than almost any nation in the tournament.
Don: That’s right, Bill, and you have to favour them in this matchup. After all, Microsoft knows how to apply pressure, and they did lead their conference in steals.
Bill: That’s still in the courts, Don.
Don: Sorry, “alleged steals.” And speaking of stealing, what about Zimbabwe as a No. 15 seed?
Bill: With its repressive army, it’s hard to believe this African power was ranked that far down.
Don: Well, the coach is an asshole, Bill.
Bill: True, but if they can stick together, the Zimbabweans could pull off a stunner against Deutschland, where we understand the army plans to strictly adhere to the German work week.
Don: You can’t win fighting 4.6 hours a day, Bill, not with four 30-minute breaks thrown in.
Bill: Let’s look at Iraq now. Their 3-seed might surprise some, considering their recent 1-1-1 record. But remember, the U.N. selection committee looks at strength of schedule, and while the Iraqis beat lowly Kuwait, they tied a tough Iran squad, and their lone loss was against the top-ranked U.S. Of course, Iraq took a drubbing in that one.
Don: Yet they didn’t actually lose.
Bill: Right you are, Don. The U.S. quit at half-time. Damned strange. Anyway, Iraq’s first-round opponent, Norway, will certainly be the underdog. Iraq have quite a few weapons in the arsenal.
Don: That’s unverified Bill.
Bill: Right again. Still, they’re as dangerous on paper as they were in ’91. And an interesting second round possibility would be Iraq versus the No. 6 seed, Syria. Strange that a Muslim country would be set up to fight Iraq instead of a Western nation and yes I know America paid the U.N. the most money, Bill.
Don: Can’t see either side getting through to the Elite Eight, but what about Spain?
Bill: The Spaniards are definitely the sleeper in this group.
Don: Why a sleeper, Bill? The recent mini-invasion by the British navy toughened them up a bit?
Bill: No, their game against Australia is scheduled for just after lunch.
Don: Right. That puts the Aussies through to face Microsoft. It’ll come down to managers in this one, with the wily Bill Gates up against… oh dear, John Howard.
Don: Exactly. Redmond in a romp.
Bill: Well, there will always be Crocodile Hunter on cable. So to sum up, we like India, Iraq, and Microsoft in this group, with Microsoft taking it all, if not immediately, then possibly later in court.
South Region Prediction: Microsoft