Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'm bustin', Jerry. I'm bustin'! 

I don't know why, but March Madness always turns me into loopy George Costanza. So much goodness happens over the next four days. The first and second round of the tourney. I'm working Thursday and Friday. That sucks a big rubbery one.

I don't care if you have no interest in reading this. I just need to get it out of my system and, damn it, this is the absolute best time of the sporting year. Period.

Something I've known for a while that has only been reaffirmed over the past few days: when it comes to college basketball, about 95% of the population (including most sportscasters) don't have a clue. This really hit home while watching the CBS Bracket Selection special on Sunday and having to endure both Jim Nantz and Billy Packer flaunt their ignorance on national television while they insulted the chairman of the NCAA selection committee, Craig Littlepage. Nantz and Packer were upset that so many "mid-majors" (or rather, teams not from major conferences) were included when selecting the field. "So many" = 8. Out of 34 at-large bids. Umm... Yeah... The only legitimate gripe from a major basketball program comes from Cincinnati, who really should be hooping it up tomorrow instead of Air Force. But there are no other compelling cases. So skewering Littlepage for including the George Mason's and Utah State's of the tourney seems a bit stupid, especially when citing history as the reason for your anger. Billy the imp Packer kept spouting about how the ACC had performed incredibly well over the last five years compared to the Missouri Valley. Yeah, he's right, but that's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with this season. Nor does conference affiliation matter when discussing NCAA resumes on a team-by-team basis. So to Jim Nantz and Billy Packer, two people whose job it is to understand such things and follow more than just the Big Ten and SEC teams they broadcast games for, I say this: you're both royal morons. Get fucked.

Conversely, there had better be a place reserved in heaven for Bill Simmons, his mom, and his wife. For anyone filling out a bracket or looking for a laugh, enjoy this. Some sublime excerpts on the reasoning for some of their selections:

I didn't even know Air Force had sports teams. Have they always had sports teams?"

"There's no way in hell I can pick Oral Roberts [laughing] ... is that really the name of their school? ... Wait, why would they call that school Oral Roberts? You never answered me. Is that someone's name?"

I don't like school names that are named after a person so I can't pick George Mason or Murray State, although I did pick George Washington, but at least he's a real person.

Ah yes. Well, as for me, I believe the following will unfold during this tournament.:

1. Arizona loses in the first round to Wisconsin, putting a merciful end to an underachieving season.
2. I think the toughest game to pick in the first round is Indiana vs San Diego St. I'm taking the Hoosiers, but Mike Davis' stint as IU coach ends in the next round against Gonzaga.
3. There is at least one 5-12 upset just about every year (not in 2000). This year, it's Kent State over Pittsburgh.
4. If any 2-seed is losing in the first round, it's Tennessee. But they won't lose in the first round. They'll lose in the second to Wichita State. The Shockers will be the MVC's best performer in this tournament and their only representative in the Sweet 16.
5. There will be one double-digit seed in the Sweet 16 and it will be Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Oklahoma is ripe for a first round upset and I think Florida (should they even escape South Alabama and make it to the second round -- the best chance for a 3-14 upset) is a bit overrated.
6. I don't understand how everyone seems to conveniently be overlooking the way Texas has lost some of it's games against top competition. Hint: they were blown out. Hey, that's a red flag! You want an upset? Longhorns don't make it out of the first weekend. And it won't be NC State that beats them. Hello, Leon Powe (doing his best Danny Manning) and Cal!
7. Everyone expects Memphis to be the first 1-seed to lose. They are probably the weakest of the 1s, but they won't be the first out. Villanova will when they fall to Boston College in the Sweet 16. Boston College is coming out of the Minneapolis region and heading to the Final Four. And they're going to beat 7-seed Georgetown in the Elite Eight to get there.
8. I think Memphis winning it all would be a terrific story and would make an excellent redemption song for Darius Washington (read the end of the Bill Simmons piece for the reference there), but I really think that UCLA has everything clicking at the right time and have all the pieces necessary to beat Gonzaga and Memphis en route to the Final Four. Actually, to me, UCLA's biggest roadblock is a possible second round game with Marquette. Overcome that and Ben Howland will be able to work some Westwood magic now that he has close to his full compliment of players, including a terrific backcourt and depth on the bench. Both key to tournament runs.
9. I think the Washington D.C. regional, seeds 1-6, is by far the toughest bracket. Possible 2nd round matchups include North Carolina/Michigan State and Illinois/Washington. Dude! Those are Final Four-worthy games! Doesn't matter, though. None of them can stop UConn.
10. I like Iowa to make enough noise to make it to the elite eight out in the Atlanta region. But they're not athletic enough to top Duke (assuming the Dukies get past a potential tough matchup in LSU). Fuck Duke.
11. BC vs UConn and Duke vs UCLA in the Final Four. UConn knocks off Duke in the title game. Why? Because like last year's North Carolina championship team Connecticut is the best team in the country, as well as the most talented.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?