After the afternoon sessions, it was setting up to be the most boring first round in NCAA tourney history and then, Bucknell and Vermont happened. I can’t say I’m shocked about the Vermont victory, as I thought Syracuse would lose in the second round, but Kansas losing just down the road in Oklahoma City was surprising. Before I go on, let me reprint a paragraph from my tourney preview that I posted at the start of the week.
“Letís get down to the brackets. Number 1 rule we know is to take a 12 seed over a 5, but the only 12 I see having a chance is Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Actually, I think the match-ups will be more competitive in the 13 versus 4 games, as I think Syracuse/Vermont, Boston College/Penn, and Florida/Ohio will be closer than expected. Normally, I always have a SEC team picked to go to the final 4, but as I mentioned in my preview at the start of the season, this is a down year, so donít look for any of them in the Elite 8. I donít see good things for the Pac-10, as these teams have little experience against physical play, which tends to rule tourney games.”
Hey, that’s good stuff. Of course, I’m sitting at 23 out of 32 right, so my genius only goes so far. And yeah, the Pac-10 still can vindicate itself, if Arizona and Washington can win a couple more games, but Stanford and UCLA lost badly playing lower seeds. The SEC has been brutal and I think Kentucky has a really tough match-up, because the RCA Dome is a hard place to shoot 3’s. Whoever shoots the least 3’s in this game is my prediction to win the game. ”
Make sure to catch ESPN’s College Game Day Scoreboard, as the show is great. Chris Fowler is the best sports show host in the business and Steve Lavin has become a great analyst in his rookie season. Rick Majerus is awkward and started slowly this year, but on a panel, he really offers some great insight into coaching strategy. I have even come to love his pronounciation of O-fense. Another fun thing about him is that you never know when he’s going to insinuate how he will be pleasuring himself later to Ashley Judd. Even Digger Phelps has been better this year, as the young guys like Lavin and especially Doug Gottlieb, have seemed to make him more honest and critical in his points.
The two games that were of high quality from start to finish were Louisville/Louisiana-Lafayette and Michigan State/Old Dominion. Both of the losing teams would have taken out a lot of other higher seeds with their performance, but the two favorites played just well-enough to survive. Note to Old Dominion’s coach. Great gameplan, but go a little lighter on the Just for Men Mustache coloring. Even Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez would back me on this one.
The Villanova/New Mexico contest was brutal to watch. The Wildcats shot 28% from the field and 27% from 3, while the Lobos topped them from the field with 29%, but shot 16% from behind the line. When shooting is this bad, CBS should be forced to cut from this game and go to anything else, including even The Tony Danza Show. I think the good citizens of New Mexico and Pennsylvania would agree.
Finally, let’s give a shout out to The Juice Blog’s Yahoo tourney pick leader, Sky’s Pick Set. So far he has only picked 3 losers. Texas, Syracuse, and Kansas. Great work, so far, but the real points are accumulated in the 3rd or 4th round. Of course, if you had Kansas or Syracuse in the final four. Well, it’s time for Fantasy Baseball season.