Lots of things I'm loving in today's SN column:
Butler crashing the Bubble after losing to Cleveland State: Not only does this force out an undeserving Bubble team, but it exposes Butler as entirely overrated.
North Dakota State: First year of NCAA Tournament eligibility, they get a bid. Amazing. And the way they did it? Oakland ties the score late -- does ND St take a TO to set up a play? No. NO! They come back down and score the winning basket.
Who else loathes the micro-managing way coaches call a time-out late to set up a game-winning shot, only to give the defense plenty of time to stop it?
I'm sure there is plenty of analytics out there -- Gasaway, I mean you! -- that quickly running your play (presuming you've actually spent practice time preparing for the moment) gives you a better shot than taking a T.O. and setting up a play, but giving the opposing team its own chance to set up. It's college hoops coaching micro-management at its worst.
Georgetown losing, DePaul winning: Yes, I was sort of hoping that the Hoyas would make a 5-game run to make the NCAA Tournament -- I'm a sucker on them this season to the end -- but having them lose in the first round is just so symbolic of the season, the final affirmation that all those other losses weren't aberrations at all...this team just underachieved.
Meanwhile, how amazing that DePaul could go 0-18 in the Big East regular season, then waltz into MSG and win. Hypothesize with me for a second: If DePaul ran the table in the Big East Tournament, what kind of seed would they get? On the one hand, they would have the worst record in the Tournament; on the other, they would have beaten, like, 4 Top 20 teams in a row. Would that make them a 14 or a 15? Would the NCAA put them in the Tuesday play-in game?
Western Kentucky: Any chance they repeat last season's run to the Sweet 16? If you had to pick between WKU and Siena -- which pulled a 1st-round upset last year and returns all 5 starters to this year's Tournament -- which team will go further next week?
The Netherlands: Greatest. Baseball Upset. Ever. And while I am sort of taking advantage of the best kind of Instant History, please post to the Comments what upsets would be bigger... Dodgers over A's in '89? Reds over A's in '90? Not really.
Maybe Marlins over Yankees in '03? Hmm... MAYBE Marlins over Yankees in '03. But Josh Beckett was the best player on the field for either team that series, and has the MVP ring to prove it -- there wasn't a position on the field where Netherlands had an advantage over the D.R. Also, when you win a best-of-7 series, it can hardly be called an "upset" -- not in the same way an "elimination" tournament can present.
Complete SN column here. More later.