Luke Graham: Losing to 3rd-grade students |

Luke Graham: Losing to 3rd-grade students

Luke Graham

Luke Graham

— Even Rebecca Nicholson's third-grade class could understand what is going on with Colorado basketball right now.

In our third year of the bracket challenge — me against them in a vaunted no-holds-barred showdown — there was something very obvious about their brackets.

The third-graders had Colorado and Colorado State advancing to the Final Four. Forget everything else.

Isn't it great when college basketball matters again in this great state? It's been awhile since a major Division I sports program mattered in this state.

But what the Rams and Buffs did this year finally brought a little pride to Colorado. Let's just hope that Colorado State can keep coach Tim Miles and that Colorado can lock down Tad Boyle for a while.

If these coaches stay, the Rams and Buffs could be top 25 programs next year. And this pride and bedlam people feel?

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That's March Madness.

It's just so much nicer when Colorado schools are taking part.

Now to the real point. I've beaten Mrs. Nicholson's class the past two years, and I've felt pretty darn good about it.

But judging by early returns this year, and we're to the Sweet 16 at this point, I'm losing. Handily.

Of course that could all change.

I have Kentucky beating North Carolina — like everyone else in the nation — while the third-graders have North Carolina beating Colorado State.

Through two rounds, I'm down 51-31 on a scoring system of one point for every right pick in the round of 64 and two points for every right one in the round of 32.

The way Mrs. Nicholson's class made its picks wasn't all that different than most people.

Except the third-graders spent time doing research. They scoured President Barack Obama's bracket. They watched video. They picked based on uniforms (they didn't have Baylor's look going far) and mascots. Otto the Orange from Syracuse was a big hit.

They even wore their allegiance on their shoulders.

Through it all, here is the best exchange.

"Duke, I've heard they make it to the finals," Mallory Thomas said.

To which North Carolina fan Jack Pittman — in a "beat Duke" shirt — replied, "Duke, they never win."

As the tournament heads into its final couple of weekends, it's fun to remember what it's like to have Colorado basketball matter again.

It's also fun to beat a bunch of third-graders, unless of course Jack and his Tar Heels get their way.

Then getting beat at my own profession won't be so much fun.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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