Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wednesday 03/14 A.M. Quickie:
"Defining Choices" of an NCAA Bracket

Today's Extra-Special Highlight: mash-up NCAA Tournament spectacular! Scroll down below this post for the first half of my Tournament-obsessed email exchange with Peter Bean. Then, check back on Burnt Orange Nation early this afternoon for Part 2! (Yeah, it's long, but what else are you doing today besides similarly obsessing about the brackets?)

On to today's Quickie:

It is the Question(s) of the Day

"How's your Spokane?"
"How's your Sacramento?"
"How's your New Orleans?"
"How's your Buffalo?"
"How's your Lexington?"
"How's your Columbus?"
"How's your Chicago?"
"How's your Winston-Salem?"

With less than a day before the Tournament begins, everything is focused on the brackets. YOUR brackets. Your friends' brackets. The experts' brackets. Maybe even my brackets.

Yesterday, my picks were unveiled to a Wall Street Journal Online audience. (Did you see them? Here's a link.)

My Final Four: Florida over UCLA. Georgetown over Texas A&M. Florida over Georgetown in the title game, in a classic Heart-over-Head pick that will ultimately be my downfall. The foursome is hardly novel: Katz, Wilbon, Thamel, Steinberg and who knows how many others share the same group. If that's not the kiss of death, I don't know what is.

Biggest Risk, Round 1:
VCU over Duke
Winthrop over Notre Dame
Biggest Risk, Round 2:
Georgia Tech over Wisconsin
VCU over Pitt
Creighton over Memphis
Biggest Risk, Sweet 16:
Georgia Tech over Oregon
Southern Illinois over Kansas
Texas over UNC
Biggest Risk, Elite Eight:
Texas A&M over Ohio State
Georgetown over UNC

Other than that, I'm fairly conventional.

So I've put my pool fortunes behind five "Defining Choices":

(1) A VCU team I'm picking mostly because they're opening with Duke and I'm suckered in by the "this year's George Mason" question (when I should be focusing on the oft-cited Quickie foundation of the "regress-to-the-mean" principle).

(2) A Georgia Tech team I'm picking mostly because I had them in the Final Four in my PRESEASON picks.

(3) I've got So. Ill. over Kansas because I believe what I saw from KU last March over what I saw from them last weekend.

(4) I've got Texas over UNC because I've drunk the Durant Kool-Aid.

(5) And I'm behind Georgetown and Texas A&M beating Texas (or UNC) and Ohio State, respectively, because I believe in the power of holding a grudge from how the previous season's Tournament ended.

There you have it: Five defining choices that will make (or, more likely, break) my bracket.

So: What were YOUR bracket's Defining Choices?

DON'T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR THE "DAILY QUICKIE READERS" GROUP OF THE ESPN.COM TOURNAMENT CHALLENGE! (And don't forget to scroll down for the Shanoff-BurntOrangeNation mash-up, Part 1!)

Play-In Game: Niagara advances! OK, who had the Purple team advancing in their office pool? (Trick question! Your pool didn't COUNT the Play-In Game! But if, like me, you picked Niagara, give yourself a symbolic extra point – and consider it good mojo for the games that "count.")

By the Wednesday before the NCAA Tournament, the rest of the sports world is either temporarily irrelevant or simply ignored. Still...

NBA: Bernie Bickerstaff is headed out as coach of the Bobcats, per Michael Jordan's edict. So: Who will MJ pick to replace him? A few guesses: (1) Billy Donovan, (2) Doug Collins, (3) Larry Brown, (4) Anyone else with UNC ties, (5) Um... Leonard Hamilton?

MLB: Sammy Sosa racks up two more hits. Hilarious. You HAVE to root for him, don't you?

File-it-away Quote of the Day: "I want to 100 percent stay in New York. Period." – A-Rod.

NFL: This Lance Briggs thing – are you with him or would you rather have him STFU? Seems to me that slapping him with the "Franchise" tag is within the Bears' rights, whether he likes it or not. Play the one year, then walk away, if he feels so strongly about it.


(And don't forget to scroll down and keep reading for the Shanoff-BurntOrangeNation mash-up, Part 1!)

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

Sure, the Bears have that right. And Briggs has the right to sit on his ass. He seems willing to pay the consequences of that.

I think Ohio State will have far more trouble with Xavier/BYU than with A&M (should both teams get there).

Sosa could cure cancer, send religious nuts to antartica, and open that jar of peanut butter that always gets stuck and I still wouldn't like him. His 'i don't know English' routine made all Caribbean Latinos (of which I am one) look bad. so fuck that juicebag.

This Tournament is sure to mess up a lot of brackets. Too many teams seem to be close, talent-wise if not seeding-wise.

Mega said...

WOW not even I, an SIU homer, has the Salukis over the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16. But that would kick major amounts of ass if it happens.

Drexel lost in the first round of the NIT. Raise your hand if you're one of those people (myself included) that was bitching about them not making the tournament.

Brian in Oxford said...

Period. Period? Suddenly A-Rod is channeling Rafael Palmeiro?

Speak for yourself on the play-in game, Dan, I'm tied with a bunch of folks with an early 3-0 lead for getting Niagara right. (Eventual winning score is around 350)

My make-or-break picks are Louisville over OSU in the elite eight, and Duke over UCLA in the sweet sixteen.

CMFost said...

OK, So here is a question for everyone courtesy of Mike and Mike. Are you a one sheet or a multiple sheet person? Do you have your one sheet of integrity or do you like to have multiple options at winning the cash?

chitown italian said...

Briggs needs to quit being a baby.

I am going to email his ass everyday until he shuts up!

CMFost said...

Couple of big ones for me - ODU beating Butler and Maryland in the First 2 rounds, Oregon going to the final 4,

Danielle said...

I don't know what to do about the sheets. I usually have different ones for different pools. I really don't know what to do this year.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

I have 1.5 sheets. .5 meaning I flipped a coin between Georgetown and Texas. I have G'Town winning it all in one bracket and Texas winning it all in the other bracket...with every other pick the same. I have a hard time filling out 1...let alone 5.

Question for all...I unfortunately have to work tomorrow and Friday and do not have access to any TVs. What is the best place to get scores that are updated on the minute? ESPN insider?

TBender said...

Briggs can sit. His loss. It's not like he's NOT getting paid (or can work on a new deal that kicks in for 2008).

I agree about GT being dangerous (next year they should be REALLY good). Wisconsin cannot like that draw.

How to be beat Texas: Don't let Abrams or Augustin beat you. Let Durant have his 50 and 20.

SIU (and A&M for that matter - they play the same type of game) has to get some offense to make a run...I just hope the Illini upset VT so SIU can destroy them.

Ricks said...

Jason, sign up at this link to watch all the ncaa games on your computer. Yay for getting paid to watch basketball! (I don't know how to make a sweet link, sorry)

CMFost said...

Rev - is the best for the NCCA and with MMOD you can actually watch games from your computer. I know that what I am going to be doing while I am at work Thursday and Friday.

Unknown said...


ricks beat me to it.

MMOD is aewsome. I used and abused that in college last year. This year sring break is this week so I'm good.

CMFost said...

Rick here is that link

Unknown said...

I heard two guys here at work talking in the background about what teams they were going to pick. When I listened closer I had no idea what they were talking about. Seems some guy came up with a pool for the CRICKET world cup!
I need to explain that I am an engineer and we have a large number of people with Pakistani or Indian heritage here who follow cricket. Unbelievable.

Brian in Oxford said...

Yeah, but like the soccer world cup, the cricket world cup will start round-robin before determining real brackets, so you can't really play it out all the way from the beginning like you can with the NCAAs.

Unknown said...

Politics in the NCAA Selection committee.

I found this paragraph from an article by Mike Waters in the Post Standard the best explanation of why some bubble teams got in and why some got out - shear pure and unadulterated politics.

"Of the 10 committee members, six were from mid-major or low-major conferences. The remaining four represented the Pac-10 (which had bubble team Stanford get in), the Big Ten (which had bubble teams Purdue and Illinois get in), the Southeastern (which had bubble team Arkansas get in) and the Atlantic Coast (which had bubble team Georgia Tech get in).

The Big East and the Big 12 were alone among the power conferences without a representative in the room. Syracuse and Kansas State were among the most notable snubs."

Natsfan74 said...

My random upset pick -- Duke to the Final 4. Really, I don't even think it's that much of a stretch. IF* they beat VCU (biggest IF in my bracket), then the rest of their run goes through Pittsburgh, UCLA, and Kansas. Not three teams that inspire great fear in March (due to either previous March performances, or fading fast this year).

FF is OSU, Georgetown, Florida, Duke.

In brackets that increase points per round, you either have to pick a champion that no one else does, or you have to be awesome in the early rounds. I am going the rout of picking Ohio State over Florida. That's 32 points for the winner, and 32 points for the players....

Briggs should STFU. His anger is at the Bears, but it should be at the NFLPA and the "system". Teams have the right to use the tag. It's not unique to the Bears screwing him.

Unknown said...

Noticed something:

The NBA East keeps getting ragged for having the 29-34 team as their 8th seed right now. does the West. The Clippers are also 29-34.

The current 6th seed for the West is 33-31, and 34-29 for the East.
The West is top-heavy for sure, but its not like all of the dregs are coming from the East.

jhawkjjm said...

Briggs: STFU. "I'll take out loans", are you f'n kidding me?!?!?
Make or break: Tennessee to final 4

Final 4: KU v Fl, Texas v Tenn

National Championship: KU v Texas III (92-86 Jayhawks)

Yes I'm a Big XII and KU homer, but it could happen. I could also see A&M in the final 4 as well, but couldn't pull the trigger to pick it,

JDM said...

Stay away from Winthrop, Dan? I can't believe anybody is taking Winthrop after that war Notre Dame had with Georgetown last week. They are easily the 2nd best team in the Big East. They won't look past Winthrop with all the hype and picks going against them this week, which spells doom for my hometown Eagles.

Mikepcfl said...

I'm just filling out one bracket this year. Since it's such a crapshoot, one bracket is as good as another this year.

Make or break pick: Texas over Georgetown.

Final 4:
UCLA (People seem to forget they were #1 recently)
Florida (I'm hoping to jinx them by picking them. FEAR THE TURTLE!)
Texas (Durant takes over the tourney)
Ohio State (Oden seems to be peaking now)

Champ: UCLA (the best team that people seem to be forgetting about in brackets)

CMFost said...

Anyone else think the Titans are trying to protect themselves for when Jones goes to jail. This is nice signing for them. And the best part is it weakens the Colts.

Nick harper Signs with Titans

CMFost said...

For the mutliple pools that I am in I only fill out 1 bracket but I do not think any of those brackets are the same.

Unknown said...

First of all, I'd like to congradulate us all for the Daily Quickie Readers Group for the tourney being only 1 of 3 groups in the over 1000 members club. (the other 2 are deadsin and mike and mike)

I'd like to say, not to look past Curry and Davidson or ODU for that matter (that's right, ODU not Butler), that I picked Florida to win it all so that I can enjoy the Maryland game. I hope that Maryland pulls it out but if they don't I have Florida and it's hard to be upset losing to the #1 anyway.

If that game does happen it's gonna be great.


ToddTheJackass said...

I just don't see Texas beating UNC.

Obviously, Durant is a stud. But really, UNC is one of the only teams that has the athletes to "contain" him. Texas, on the other hand, doesn't have a good matchup at all for Hansbrough, and Ty Lawson has to be one of the most underrated players in the country with his blazing speed. I just think UNC has too many weapons to lose to Texas' one primary weapon.

That all being said, everytime I fill out a bracket, I have Florida winning it all... excuse me while I gouge my eyes out with a mellon baller...

ToddTheJackass said...

This is a great quote from Dan's article:

Regional Final

(1) Florida over (10) Georgia Tech
Tech runs into the unstoppable force of my Gators bias.

I thoroughly enjoyed that comment Dan. But again, why no Northwestern mention anywhere this year?

nep1293 said...

I have the same final 4 as Dan. I have Georgetown over Florida in the finals.

My biggest reaches are Villanova in the sweet 16, Virginia Tech in the Elite 8 (I am already anticipating them out in the first) I put Old dominion in the Sweet 16 after beating Davidson n the 2nd round. I also put Nevada and UNLV in the sweet 16, but I don't think that is really a stretch. I had Marquette beating UNC but then I saw that injury marquette had so I knocked them out.

Unknown said...

As a life-long Bears fan, I am disgusted with Lance Briggs. He is treating this as some kind of disrespect from the organization, like he was never offered a long term deal. Doesn't he remember the deal offered to him before the start of last year that would have made him the second highest paid player on the team, behind Urlacher? He rejected that contract and KNEW (because Angelo told him) that the Bears would look at using the franchise tag on him at the end of the year if he didn't sign a long-term deal.

I'm finding it hard to have much empathy for a guy who gets offered over $7m and it upset about it.

Unless the Bears get a good deal for him (at least a 1st-round pick), then I hope he does sit out all year and not get paid. And then I hope the Bears franchise him again next year and see what he does then. Greedy prick.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

I think Oregon can give Florida fits if they shoot the way they did in the Pac-10 tourney final.
In the Quickie challenge I think I picked Arizona to beat Florida in the 2nd round. Arizona is one of those teams that has the talent and if they put it all together for one game they could upset Florida.

My FF is Oregon, Kansas, Texas and G'Town. I think Kansas beats Texas in another classic game.

CMFost said...

Guy - My only Fear of the Turtle is that thay are going to destory my brackets.

BpL - Beacon, NY said...

No NIT love? C'mon Dan ... my Marist Red Foxes went down to OK State and pulled off a HUGE upset. It's the first post-season win ever(NCAA or NIT) for the men's or women's b-ball programs. From the highlights I saw and heard, the NIT had quite a few great games last night. I know the NCAA tourney is much bigger, but no love at all?

CMFost said...

Just a comment on the NIT, So much for Drexel Deserving to be in the NCAA Tourney. Losing to NC State at home not a way to prove you belong.

ToddTheJackass said...

Please, someone answer this, why will Texas beat UNC, but lose to Georgetown? UNC has better athletes, more of them, and runs better in transition than the Hoyas? Why does everyone LOVE Durant when it comes to playing UNC, but shrugs him off vs. Georgetown?

And I'm not a Heels fan at all.

Unknown said... can't have G'Town and Texas in the FF..they are in same regional.

ToddTheJackass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheldiz said...

woo hoo, no comment moderation!!

a) i am a "one sheet" person... all five of mine are the same.

b) my confidence level in my bracket this year is at an all time low... with my final four being: Pittsburgh, Texas, Ohio State and Florida. yikes. how did pittsburgh get in there?

c) i'm leaving the country today for 8 days and am not at all pleased about not seeing the first round.

Mikepcfl said...

Not be too much of a homer, but Maryland could destroy alot of brackets because you really dont know what team will show up from game to game. They are just as likely to lose to Davidson as beat Florida. I'll just go along for the (hopefully long) ride.

verbal97 said...

I think Drexel and other bubble teams most years have a tough time in the NIT because of the psychological letdown. Saying that they lost an NIT game that they couldn't get up for is a sign that they didn't belong in the NCAAs is a flawed argument. I don't pay the NIT much attention, but it seems that the teams that are the last out of the NCAAs never win.

CMFost said...

Mike I agree with you. there are about 4 teams that you can not be sure about it all depends on what team shows up. These teams can all be great or busts

Texas A&M

ToddTheJackass said...

I agree with Verbal, you can't judge a team's qualifications for the NCAA by their success in the NIT.

Maryland scares me because they can be great, or very mediocre. It's tough to put inconsistent teams deep into the tourney.

Also, re: Duke, it just seems like one of those things where if you were to pick against Duke in the first round, when they'd win, you'd just say, "well of course, should've known Duke wouldn't lose in the first round". I mean, that's sort of the same thing that happened when they played us (BC), right?

Still want to hear from people why they think Texas will beat UNC but not Georgetown...

ToddTheJackass said...


I agree with the run n' gun comment, but it seems like no one is picking UNC to beat Texas. That's what I'm curious about.

Is everyone that convinced Durant is good enough to single-handedly beat UNC? I mean UNC has its own Top 5 caliber freshman as well in Wright.

Also, great call on UVA. To everyone outside of ACC country, UVA got no love. But they have great guards who are upperclassmen. I think it's one of those things where they just didn't get a lot of national pub (though their RPI left something to be desired).

CMFost said...

Make take on why the NCAA Tourney seems so exciting to everyone.

Check it out

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Thanks rafael, I had a brainfart with that one. My final four is Oregon-Midwest, Kansas-West, Texas-East and tOSU-South. Thanks for the correction.

Natsfan74 said...

The thing about Texas playing UNC and Georgetown is that Texas matches up very well with UNC and the uptempo style of play. Georgetown will slow down the game, keep Texas out of the paint, and make Texas beat them with the outside shot. I think UNC will beat Texas, but it's a toss-up. I do not think either school will beat Georgetown. G-Town is playing great ball right now, winning 15 of 16 heading into the tourney. They play great defense and a very deliberate offense that will take Texas out of their game -- if Texas gets that far.

Unknown said...

In defense of Drexel, it is hard to get up for the NIT when you feel you were unjustly left out of the NCAAs.

verbal97 said...

must be an echo in here.

Oliver said...

I don't HAVE to root for Sammy Sosa because he is a proven CHEATER.