Friday, March 19, 2010

Quickie: Well THAT Was a Great Start

Let's get to the fun stuff first:

*After one day, not a single entrant in the Daily Quickie Readers group still has a perfect bracket.

*Of the millions of brackets in the ESPN.com Tournament Challenge, only 51 are still perfect.

*I went 9-7, with my worst miss Georgetown (to the Elite 8) and my best save Washington (to the Sweet 16).

*The National Bracket is in the 38th percentile; Barack Obama's bracket is in the 97th percentile.

*That was the single-best first day of the Tournament of all time. The afternoon was already ridiculous, then you add in the Ohio monster upset, the Northern Iowa long-distance finish and the wild Washington upset win.

*As I wrote here yesterday, then led in my SN column this morning, yesterday reinforces that "64" has nothing to do with why the Tournament is amazing. Yesterday did not affirm that the current format shouldn't be messed with; in fact, it probably proved that expanding it won't hurt the Tournament at all -- and can only offer more benefits.

More upsets. More buzzer-beaters. More bracket-watching. More ducking out of work. More shared moments.

That's what the most hard-line anti-expansionists don't get -- no one remembers the quality of the teams, or even the quality of the games. They remember upsets (or, in the case of Robert Morris, near-upsets) and they remember great finishes.

Doubling the number of 16-game days from 2 to 4 (by going from 64 to 96) seems like a pretty good way to get more of what we all essentially love about the Tournament.

Today's column includes a complete game-by-game preview of today -- I hope that yesterday was foreshadowing, not an anomaly. An indicator that the gap between 2s and 3s and 13s and 14s and 15s has narrowed to the point that any game is a toss-up.

Things slow down dramatically after today. Yes, 8 games tomorrow and 8 games Sunday will be fun, but it isn't nearly as exciting as the mid-afternoon workday frenzy of yesterday and today.

By Monday, the field will be 16 -- from yesterday's start, let's hope that it includes plenty of upstarts. Remember: Anything more than a 5-seed in the Sweet 16 should count as a Cinderella. Obviously a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16 is a real Cinderella, and if they don't come from a power conference, they can expect the full-blown Cindy treatment.

Complete column here. More later, reacting to the afternoon set of games.

-- D.S.

3 comments:

Robert said...

Would you expand by another weekend, or start the first set of games on tuesday, rather than thursday? I think adding two more weekdays would make it more fun.

Steve said...

Boilers! I thank you for picking Siena. The Shanoff curse worked out quite nicely.

Eric said...

I disagree with you on expansion and the love of upsets.

If you want more games and more excitement, make the Tournament Double-elimination. Every team that makes the tournament gets at least two games (more money) televsion get almost double the games (more money) and we could have awesome scenarios of a team coming from the losers bracket to win it all, or a winners bracket winner needing to win 1 of 2 possible games. Could you imagine a Winner's bracket team losing final #1 and then having to play the same team 2 days later?

Of course it would probably confuse way too many people...