Saturday, March 07, 2009

Weekend In College Hoops, Part 1:
Radford, Pitt, Florida, Louisville, More

A little bummed to not see run-and-gun VMI advance to the NCAA Tournament out of the Big South...

You all know how I feel about Pitt-UConn -- it won't impact No. 1 seeding, because even though UConn lost today, if they win the Big East Tournament, they'll be a No. 1 seed. (Pitt may have locked in a No. 1 seed, regardless of finish in the Big East Tournament.)

However, I view everything through the lens of: Hmm, but what does this mean when I'm filling out my NCAA bracket?

In that context, Pitt looks very very strong as a team to win six and go all the way. Obviously, if they struggle next week in NY at the B.E.T., momentum can shift dramatically, but -- wow -- they look good.

Speaking of which: Florida did NOT look good while beating Kentucky. They haven't looked good all season. They haven't looked good in two seasons.

They don't deserve an at-large bid, to be honest, although they'll probably get one now. Here's the reality: I just can't see myself picking them to win their 1st-round game, no matter who the opponent is -- even if the Gators are a 12-seed.

(Is that wrong to not pick your team to win in the NCAA Tournament? To not even win their 1st-round game, aspirationally? Or is it being more honest than a fan who knee-jerks their team through the bracket, just because of their fandom?)

Looking ahead to tonight: Please keep in mind that in the preseason, my pick to win the national title was Louisville. If they beat West Virginia at WVU to win the Big East regular-season title, there will be a TON of folks jumping on the Louisville bandwagon next Sunday night.

(If they lose to WVU? Probably not enough to keep me from remaining bullish on the Cards -- WVU is a strong team, particularly in Morgantown.)

I hope to get into this more tomorrow morning, but I have not been as excited about a Northwestern basketball game (tomorrow's "play-in-to-play-in" the NCAA Tournament vs. Ohio State) since the team advanced to the 2nd-round of the NIT in 1994. There are a lot of reasons that the team faded away from me, but I feel a sincere sense of anticipation and excitement about the ramifications of tomorrow's game, if they can win.

-- D.S.

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