A few things about the NCAA tournament, which this year is being attended (and handled nicely, thank you very much) by my Indiana Hoosiers, who have finally returned to the dance after a lengthy recruiting scandal in which the school hired a coach who was previously involved in a recruiting scandal and then came to Indiana and engaged in — this was weird — a recruiting scandal, a development which caused everybody in Indiana to gasp.

A few things about the NCAA tournament, which this year is being attended (and handled nicely, thank you very much) by my Indiana Hoosiers, who have finally returned to the dance after a lengthy recruiting scandal in which the school hired a coach who was previously involved in a recruiting scandal and then came to Indiana and engaged in — this was weird — a recruiting scandal, a development which caused everybody in Indiana to gasp. 


When this recruiting scandal happened, Indiana — which, interesting story, had spent most of the previous few decades being coached by an overweight cartoon character with a spotty history of winning championships and not-choking people — lost everyone who ever played for them and spent many, many years losing basketball games to schools that exist only online, such as the University of Phoenix and some people who met on FarmVille. So this is kind of a big deal, and please excuse my singing of the IU fight song, which is actually a new song, as we lost our original one in a recruiting scandal.


1. Hey, guys! Guys in the office! Listen, I'm gonna be sitting at my desk this morning, just hanging around doing some work and drinkin' me some coffee, so is there any way you could hit me up with some talk about how your bracket is doing? Really doing? I don't mean just stats and wins and losses — those are boring and bourgeois NUMBERS, devoid of LIFE and FEELING and FEELINGS OF SELF-ASSIGNED SUPERIORITY. No, no, I want to know how you did it, how you picked nearly 2/3 of your games right, what you were *thinking* EACH TIME. 


To what historical evidence did you refer in selecting Missouri? How close were you to picking Norfolk State and/or Lehigh? Pretty close? I bet you were pretty close. Oh, and when you're done, could you talk smack about it? Behave proudly, as though you just achieved a personal goal not related to writing things down? Could you put it on Facebook? Oh my God yes! Put it on Facebook! PUT IT ALL ON FACEBOOK! Share with the world how you are barely connected to a thing that other people are doing!


I'm starting to demand too much, so last thing, but if there's any way you could deliver all this with an inflated sense of self-importance, something that indicates that the largely arbitrary and wholly accidental act of writing names of colleges on a thing you printed off of CBS's website makes you some sort of sport oracle, like accidentally going miles out on a limb to pick a 10 seed instead of a 7 indicates not a monstrously boring snap judgment about 12 guys you will never ever meet in your life but something amazing, something literally worth gloating other grown men about. That would rock. I'll be here all day. If you get a chance this afternoon, I'd love to hear about your fantasy baseball draft. Oh, and then we can talk about everyone at school thinks my kid is really smart!


2. A flagrant foul is assessed for unnecessary and/or excessive contact. 


A Flagrant Foul 1 penalty is assessed for unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.


A Flagrant Foul 2 penalty is assessed for unnecessary, excessive and unsportsmanlike contact committed by a player against an opponent. The offender is ejected immediately. 


A Flagrant Foul 3 is assessed for unnecessary, excessive and unsportsmanlike contact, coupled with a player standing over his opponent, engaging in a brief Irish dance and shouting, "MY WHAT A LOVELY TEA PARTY, SALLY!" The offender is ejected and asked to write his opponent a thoughtful note.


A Flagrant Foul 4 is assessed for unnecessary, excessive and unsportsmanlike conduct with a folding chair or a sock (puppet or otherwise) full of thumbtacks. The offender is ejected and banned until such time as he meets Mankind in the Hell in the Cell matchup in SummerSlam IN THE STEEL CAGE.


A Flagrant Foul 5 is assessed when a player punches an opponent in the face, then smokes a cigar and says, "Now that's what I call a close encounter."


A Flagrant Foul 6 is basically a 2 with a 4 and you're wearing a pretty sundress.


A Flagrant Foul 7 is when the official can't figure out if he means 1 or 2, or if the offender had malice in his heart or not, or if he was just going for the ball or if he was trying to tase some dude, and so he starts inventing weirdly specific classes of basketball-related jerkiness. Most fouls? Probably 7s. 


Jeff Vrabel once played a pickup game at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. He scored 4 points and committed 25 turnovers. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com and/or followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.