Arbitrary courage. That is what I am renaming the luck it takes to win a NCAA pool. Calling it luck sounds a little crass, a little disrespectful, but I think arbitrary courage about captures the essence. Because, it isn’t all taking risks. You have to arbitrarily pick the right teams to take your chances with. As I watched the scoreboard tonight I first thought to myself, “Grossy, you have no heart. You liked Arizona, for whatever reason, but when it came down to it you didn’t even have the stones to put them in the regional final.” If I had trusted my instincts a little more, I could have possibly been sitting pretty. But, then I look to the other side of the bracket. I see Pitt’s blown up region. Everyone saw that coming, but you had to peg the right team. I waffled between K-State and Wisconsin. You see, there I take my chance and it misses. The result, probably more painful than picking chalk. So, if you end up winning your pool, I won’t come out and say you got lucky, but in my heart that is what I’m thinking. I just dressed it up for you a bit.
So, after Duke’s loss and SD State’s mild “by seeding only” upset do we think Kansas and Ohio State should be worried? How about North Carolina? I’m trying to think of one thing to latch onto to make some sense of these games. About the only thing I can come up with is that the superstar players are still holding their own for the most part. Before the tip tonight I heard Jim Calhoun talking about how Kemba Walker has been the best player in each of their last seven games and when you have the best player you always have a shot to win. Walker went for 36 against San Diego State. Derrick Williams had 32 and 13 boards against Duke. Jimmer had 32 in a loss, but he shot it poorly so maybe we can write that one off? Wisconsin and Butler? Not sure they have stars.
What does this mean for Friday? Well, probably not a whole lot. I’m not sure there is a team as singularly focused as Connecticut, Arizona and BYU are on their stars. There are certainly big names taking the floor on Friday (Sullinger, Morris, Lighty), but Ohio State and Kansas both boast some pretty good depth and balance. This is probably what led so many people to pick them to meet in the final, but that’s all the more reason to expect one of them to fall. Is there another sick individual effort out there that will steal a game? Is Brandon Knight capable of something like that? Kentucky will need someone to be heroic. But, the story with these NCAA tournament games is you usually sound much brighter talking about them after they happen. So, let’s just wait and see.
Tantalizing 12 Pool Update:
- Only Watch for Gus Johnson– 56 points. (The Odds On Kansas Favorite)
- Shank-a-potamus– 53 points (Clubhouse Leader with OSU–could get back-doored)
- Slop Jocks– 52 points (only 1 Final Four Team Left)
- JPS– 51 points (Still Has Pitt winning it all)
- 2010 Winner it Had to be Q– 50 points (Should be Rooting Against UConn)