Of the many reasons I love my wife, this one has to place near the top:
Out of 695 competitors in the Daily Quickie Readers Tournament Challenge group, Mrs. Quickie is tied for 8th overall as we reach the Sweet 16 plateau.
This isn't new:
In 2006, making picks on behalf of our unborn baby, my wife finished in the Top 30 out of more than 10,000 entries in the biggest-public-group-in-the-nation Daily Quickie Readers pool.
Last year, making picks for our then-10-month-old, she finished in the Top 10 out of more than 1,000 entries in the third-biggest-on-ESPN.com Daily Quickie Readers pool.
Now, cynics (and even spouses) might chalk up her success to the simultaneous success of Florida (as everyone who reads this blog knows: HER team), even if you've got to get a lot more picks right than just the eventual champ if you want to finish that high.
Still, this year would be the true test.
As we watched game after game end over the weekend -- and correct pick after correct pick go "green" on her bracket -- I found myself overwhelmed with pride at her bracket brilliance (offsetting my frustration about my own bracket buffoonery).
This four-day stretch between the end of the Round of 32 and the start of the Sweet 16 is likely to be her apex in the DQR group: She lost Georgetown yesterday (although most of us did, too).
Here's the make-or-break decision: She picked Tennessee not just to beat UNC in the East Region finals, but also to beat Kansas in the Final Four (before losing to UCLA for the title). If that happens, she will have earned her spot near the top -- if not at the top -- of the 695.
The biggest thing going against her? Her husband -- among other things, known for his own branded predictions "jinx," -- also has Tennessee advancing to the title game, only to lose to UCLA.
Given how good her picks have been so far, it makes me feel better to know she has that same title-game pairing and result. Given how bad MY picks have been, it might make her feel worse.
Regardless of how she finishes, my wife and I (and now you) know who the REAL March Madness expert is in the Shanoff family.
(P.S.: I just found out that my mom is tied for 2nd place among nearly 90 participants in HER office bracket contest. Seriously: WTF? I'm the wrong "Shanoff" to write about college hoops, obviously.)