An IBM supercomputer named Watson went "machino a mano" on Jeopardy this past week and did pretty well deciphering the subtleties and nuances of human language.
What they didn't show on TV was a warm-up session in which Watson was asked to predict the 16 region basketball champions that will make up the 94th PNC/KHSAA Boys' State Tournament.
Watson's 15-trillion byte memory and 2,880 processor cores could generate only a four-word response:
"That does not compute."
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Welcome to my world.
I can offer 16 bite-size nuggets of info, along with my region picks, as the tournament time arrives.
1 Have the basketball gods pre-ordained another 10th Region finals between three-time defending champ Mason County and Clark County? If so, imagine a jam-packed Mason County Fieldhouse on March 7.
2 This is the 50th anniversary of Ashland's last state title, so it would be appropriate if this year's Ashland Blazer bunch could give the 1961 Tomcats, who'll be in town for a reunion, somebody to cheer for.
3 The donnybrook that will be the 7th Region Tournament will be preceded by a first-round district elimination game between No. 2 Ballard and No. 5 Trinity. Think the Shamrocks remember the 69-48 beat-down administered by Ballard in the Louisville Invitational Tournament?
4 If I had a vote for Mr. Basketball, it would go to DeVante Parker of Ballard. Forget the notion that he's a football guy, a big-time wide receiver who's signed with Louisville. He's a big-time basketball player, too.
5 A Sweet Sixteen quarterfinal shootout between Pike Central's Hobo McCoy (31 ppg) and Elliott County's Timmy Knipp (28 ppg) would be fun.
6 According to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Rabbit. That should be a good omen for the Somerset Briar Jumpers, but with a 9-19 record, they'll need to pull a rabbit out of their hat in the post-season.
7 If Bowling Green and Warren Central get hung up and psyched out about each other, Glasgow could sneak into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1977.
8 Be honest. When Scott County graduated All-State players Chad Jackson, Ge-Lawn Guyn and Dakotah Euton last year, did you really think they might be the team to beat in the 11th Region this season?
9 I wouldn't mind watching Christian County point guard Anthony Hickey strut his stuff in Rupp Arena again.
10 Trying to remember whether any coach has reached the Sweet Sixteen in consecutive years with different schools. Jason Booher, who guided Shelby Valley to the state title last March, has a 9th Region contender at Holmes this year.
11 Central came close to winning state titles in football and basketball in the same school year in 2008-09, but fell to Holmes in double overtime in the Sweet Sixteen finals. Could the Yellowjackets get another shot at double championships? After winning a football title last fall, they're a 6th Region contender in basketball. And given the 6th Region's favorable state tournament draw into the lower bracket, who knows?
12 Tates Creek, a traditionally strong program over the last 45 years, amazingly has been to the Sweet Sixteen just once — in 1991. Its defense could get it back to Rupp this post-season.
13 Of the high-profile players who transferred into Kentucky this season, Chris Freeman of Muhlenberg County has the best chance to get to Rupp Arena. Freeman moved from Texas to play for his uncle, Reggie Warford, coach of the defending 3rd Region champ Muhlenberg North.
14 South Oldham, which opened in 1989, has never been to the Sweet Sixteen, but it's favored to win the 8th Region this year.
15 Bullitt East might be the best team you know nothing about. The Chargers have good size, good guard play and could be 6th Region champs.
16 You ain't just whistlin' Dixie (Heights) if you pick the Colonels to win the 9th Region for the first time since Eisenhower was in the White House.