The NCAA men's basketball tournament tipped off Tuesday with its version of French bread rolls presented before you've had a chance to glance at the restaurant menu.
We've come to call it the "play-in" round, where the likes of a North Carolina A&T team that has lost 16 games plays Liberty University, which has lost 20. Except the NCAA prefers a more formal term than a "play-in" round. The NCAA prefers "first round."
It's a bit confusing because we know the real first round doesn't begin until Thursday morning. We know this, too: It's unlikely any of the eight teams slotted for the play-in round will make it beyond the third round, or the second round, or wherever it is that the LIU-Brooklyn vs. James Madison winner has to take on Indiana.
READ: Big Al on the Sooners' and Cowboys' chances (http://bit.ly/Y1mcdj)
So who wins when all is said and done, and there's nothing left to say or do? Let's start with who won't.
Arizona and New Mexico won't win, but if the border-state rivals take care of business Thursday in the second round (which is really the first round), they could collide this weekend in the third round (which is really the second round).
Colorado, which has referred to itself in sports information media guides as "the Harvard of the West," won't win.
Harvard won't win, either, because the student-athletes put books before basketball at the, uh, "Colorado of the East."
Mississippi won't win, but I wouldn't tell that to streak-shooting, crowd-baiting guard Marshall Henderson. If you haven't seen Henderson -- Ole Miss' Rebel With A Cause -- think of Jimmer Fredette, rewired with the edge of Eminem.
Indiana won't win because Hoosiers coach Tom Crean is the brother-in-law of opposing Super Bowl coaches John and Jim Harbaugh, and life is too short to have to tolerate another chapter of the Harbaugh Family Chronicles.
Kansas State won't win because the Wildcats wear purple, and the only purple-peopled NCAA champion -- Holy Cross, in 1948 -- prevailed over a mere eight-team field.
Wisconsin won't win, and former Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson will hold himself accountable for not advising basketball coach Bo Ryan to emphasize the fact that separation is in preparation.
North Carolina State also won't win, and former Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson will hold himself accountable for that, too.
Belmont and Iona won't win, but it sounds like a kind of cute 75th anniversary couple, no?
Iowa State, Wichita State, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico State, Northwestern State, San Diego State and South Dakota State won't win. Just a gut feeling, a State of mind.
Temple and Akron won't win, but before the Owls and Zips are shown the exit, they're due a consolation prize: Most Original Nicknames of the 2013 field.
Southern won't win because the Jaguars will be hard-pressed to keep the score respectable before the first timeout against Gonzaga. Who will have the most fun watching the Zags blow out the Jags? The wags.
Notre Dame won't win, but those lime-green jerseys -- introduced a few years ago by the Seahawks, who went one-and-done with them -- are here to stay, along with the lime-green shorts and lime-green socks and lime-green shoes. What's the matter with kids today?
Duke won't win, and it doesn't matter. The national TV exposure this obscure school gains from a tournament appearance can't be overestimated. Keep an eye on Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski -- you could see more of him down the road. Just remember who told you first.
North Carolina won't win, but the fact the Tar Heels finally have qualified for the tournament, along with their neighbors from Duke, has the makings of a potential rivalry. Again, just remember who told you first.
Oregon won't win, and just typing those words gives me so much pleasure. I'll type them again: Oregon won't win.
Pittsburgh won't win. Typing those words also gives me pleasure, though not quite the pleasure of typing "Oregon won't win."
Cincinnati won't win, but when I type that, the thrill is gone.
Missouri won't win, sustaining a trend all too familiar to this Mizzou alum. The Tigers, whose relocation from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference silenced a century-long rivalry with Kansas, never have appeared in a Final Four.
Kansas won't win. The thrill is back.
Valparaiso won't win because it got stuck with Michigan State in its opener, and Michigan State won't win because it got stuck in a killer East bracket with Louisville.
Florida and Miami won't win, but don't be surprised if the Gators and Hurricanes collide in a semifinal showdown for Sunshine State bragging rights.
Georgetown, Saint Louis, Marquette and Creighton won't win, because the Jesuits -- on something of a roll after the papal election -- are saying all their prayers for Gonzaga.