As much as I’d love to live blog Selection Sunday, that isn’t going to happen. As everyone knows the first couple hours after the brackets come out are for personal reflection only. You have to sit down and coax your Final Four out of the darkness. Later tonight I will probably check in with the world-renowned, “Gut Reactions,” to the bracket. We’ll all marvel at how easy Duke’s path to the Final Four is and everyone will regurgitate Belmont as their double-digit seed sleeper. In case anyone out there isn’t patient enough to wait until tomorrow morning to get things underway, the 2nd Annual, 3 Putt Territory Stragglers Only NCAA Pool can be found right here:
Apparently, CBS is a little fascist with their brackets? Anyway, there were some issues, I gather. It was impossible for me to tell, because I was the group “manager”. Anyway, if you were trying to sign up and couldn’t, I apologize. I’m switching it to Yahoo. It seems easier to sign up for, just anecdotally. Since no one successfully signed up for the other one, I don’t think it’s too a big a deal. Hopefully. Anyway, the link now takes you to Yahoo. The necessary information is:
Group Name: Three Putt Territory
*Click on Join A Group and Enter the Above Info.
For now, all you need to know about the pool is that I am not limiting entries. CBS limits your entries per username, but if you want to sit around all day creating usernames and brackets…go right ahead. I’ll be filling out just one bracket, because that’s all I will need–especially since I can enter and change my picks at will. I’ll let the winner pick their prize. You send me an establishment that I can access and I’ll send you a nice gift card. The amount of the gift card will depend as always on sponsor donations and my success at the world famous Sarasota Kennel Club.
Ok, My Gut Reactions…Here’s the Bracket By the Way if You Happen to Live in a Van Down by The River.
1. I joked about Duke having the easiest bracket, but this year the field is so wide open it is hard to say for sure which number 1 seed fared the best. Duke, certainly did all right, but you could also make the case that Pitt landed in a pretty soft spot. If you believe in the power of the Big East then Kansas has a tough road with ND as their #2 and Louisville and Georgetown also lurking. For the #1 overall seed, OSU didn’t get any favors, in my opinion.
2. Speaking of the Big East, the conference is in what is at least its 2nd year as the unquestioned super power. Last year you might remember people picking up to 3 Big East teams to make the Final Four. Well, there is no doubt that the Big East is a deep conference, but to really make noise you need to be top-heavy as well. I think whether or not the Big East’s top seeds can make good on the conference’s rep and advance at least to the Elite Eight is a good story line.
3. My emotions for the snubs are all over the map. My rational side says Colorado and Virginia Tech weren’t going to win the tournament, and so in the big picture we shouldn’t be worried about them getting excluded. But, I’m not a big believer in patronizing the mid-majors just because it makes you feel democratic. That doesn’t make much sense either. The bottom line is for the individual schools and their fans this hurts a great deal, but come next weekend no one will be talking about Colorado anymore. This might of have been one of the worst jobs in recent memory by the committee, but the most deserving team will still be standing at the end.
4. I think my favorite 1st round match-up is Wisconsin/Belmont. If you haven’t already been inundated with Belmont talk, you’ll hear a lot about them before this 1st round game. I expect they’ll be one of the most popular double-digit seeds picked to win outright. The game against the Badgers is a wicked contrast in style. Belmont scores 80 points a game. In Wisconsin’s last game there were 69 total points. Granted that was an extreme case, but still, it will be a great test for Belmont and their shooters to see if they can deal with Wisconsin slowing it down. I actually think it’s not a great draw for the Bruins. They’d be better against a team that doesn’t lock it down on defense.
5. Not sure about the NBA guys from TNT doing the analysis. It’s great more games will be on, and obviously they need to bring in people to broadcast them, but I’m not sure how into the tournament Charles and company are. I think they are trying, but so many guys out there love college basketball, live and breathe it, it’s hard for them to step in from doing NBA games all year and measure up. You can always hope Charles does or says something outrageous to keep it interesting, but in the end I’m already at my limit for Kenny “the Jet” Smith.
All right, that’s all for now, everyone remember to sign up for the pool. Just follow that link above. Hopefully that is working. I mean, do you want to compete against 30 million people trying to win a measly 10 grand on ESPN, or do you want to do this one where you actually have a shot? It’s a numbers game. We’ll be back all week with tourney chatter and some absolute mortal locks coming Thursday morning.