Ok, I’m ready to start watching this tournament. What did I miss? Actually, I know what is going on, it just hasn’t really settled in my mind and therefore I haven’t done my usual amount of yammering on about it on this blog. The first two rounds were pretty good. Lots of close games, upsets, some funny blowouts, and as expected all my pools are kitty litter (Quick 3-PT Pool update coming later). I guess the only way you aren’t in love with the 2011 tourney is if your team already took a walk or if you happen to like the Big East as an entity. The over/under for Big East wins in this tourney was around 14. By my count they have a measly seven with two teams left standing? Deep conference, but not a dominant conference. There is a difference there.
As great as the opening week is, and I do admit that nothing matches it for sheer volume of games and the fact that it guarantees excitement, a lot of first week story lines die on the vine. Cinderellas for example. Is one really going to come out of this Southwest region? And, what defines a Cinderella? I’d love to see a team take it all the way out. We got so close last year, I’d like to see one of these lesser seeds finish the job. Along with that, I’ve got 8 specific Sweet-16 wishes. One for each game. Feel free to add your own…
1. No Mention of the 2001 NCAA Championship Game. The Duke/Arizona match-up hits home for me. My last decent pool was in ’01 when I tabbed a highly talented, but not too bandwagon-ish Arizona to win it all. Only person in the whole pool that had them. Then, in my opinion, the referees handed Duke the game. I don’t want any reminders of that, and a nice Duke loss would be sweet.
2. Quick exit for San Diego State. I didn’t get to see Temple hang tough for 2 OTs against San Diego State. I would have liked to hitch my wandering fandom up to a local team this year, but no such luck. Why is San Diego State no good? Well, they are too high a seed to really be a sleeper. So, they are in this limbo of being a highly seeded school with no history. Don’t like it.
3. Jimmer Overload. Caution, the bracket is opening up for Jimmer. Just kidding. Jimmer creates his own openings. I know a Gator fan who loves Jimmer so I’m not sure which side he will choose in this one, but I’m ready to see Florida go home. I know the only thing that came of my “observations” was that I had a typo in there, but I’m serious about that Donovan mohawk thing. And, are the BYU people saying this sweet sixteen appearance is karma for doing the right thing by kicking Davies off the team?
4. Wisconsin moves on. I don’t think anyone feels great about how Butler advanced. Everyone predicted this portion of the bracket would blow up, and it did to some extent, and now it could just turn into a war of attrition. If that’s the case, give me the Badgers. Wisconsin has taken a lot of heat, and deservedly so, for their 33 point outburst against Penn State. But, the more I think about it, the more endearing that becomes in an ugly puppy kind of way. My 8th grade team scored in the 30s all the time and I loved that squad.
5. VCU continues to screw everything up. They weren’t supposed to be in. Then we justified it by saying the teams on the bubble don’t decide the tournament anyway. Well, now VCU is in the sweet sixteen and they’ve beaten a #6 and #3 seed from 2 of the best conferences in the country. What did we think of Purdue’s coach claiming VCU could beat anyone in the country on a neutral court? I mean there’s being gracious and then there’s just a total pile of BS. I’m not in any hurry to see VCU in the Final Four, but Florida State doesn’t do much for me either. Worst game on the slate.
6. Some respect for Richmond. The Spiders have done more in their history than any other double-digit seed I can think of, and for some reason they get very little respect. Every year people get that special feeling their drawers for teams like Gonzaga or Butler, but Richmond never gets mentioned until after they do something. DOUBLE STANDARD! They have no shot against Kansas, but still.
7. A Challenge for Ohio State. Have they looked the best? Certainly they haven’t been tested, but like I said, you are only as good as your last game and maybe against Kentucky we’ll see what the Buckeyes really have. I read a statement before the tournament started that said if it wasn’t for two absolutely heroic performances OSU would be undefeated and they certainly deserved the overall #1 seed. I thought that was very interesting, agreed with it, and then didn’t pick Ohio State to win in any of my pools. In hindsight, that’s very telling.
8. A good Al McGuire highlights package. McGuire coached Marquette back in the day, he was a legend at CBS, and he probably deserves a shout out every year. This seems as good a time as any with his old team playing UNC. Both teams coming off tough games and they are probably lucky to have the time to regroup a little bit. I do have to admit though, part of me wants to see UNC and OSU play for the trip to the Final Four. It would be the best game played in Newark…possibly ever.
We had 26 entries this year. That’s up from last year, and not all of that is due to repeat customers. I think one more person might be reading the blog this year than there was at this time last year. That’s the kind of growth you can only find in a savings account. The Top-6 are as follows:
- Only watch 4 gus johnson–48 points. Only watch for Gus Johnson’s smile? Need more info.
- JPS–47 points. Picked Pitt to win so everyone wave to him on the way down the board.
- 2010 Winnter it had to be Q–46 points. Currently dead last in the modesty pool.
- Shank-a-potamus–45 points. Isn’t it, Shank-O-potamus. I’ve never seen a hippapotamus.
- Slop Jocks–44 points. Months after DA Fantasy debuted and I still have no idea what Slop Jocks means.
- Burnsie’s Basement Champ–44 points. Currently 2nd to DAL in the modesty pool.
I’m not going to get into all the scenarios. Isn’t it just more fun to think everyone still has a chance? I think so. And to the people out front, I am a little impressed. Not the easiest year to pick games and we’ve got some pretty good scores up there. Well played. I was rooting for Jack Tors of Porn on the Cob, but apparently that was not meant to be. Good luck to everyone again starting Thursday.