Friday, March 18, 2011

03/18 Quickie: How's Your Bracket?

"How's your bracket?"

I love the Friday after the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament. We're coming off a 16-game marathon -- with another one coming imminently -- and there is more than enough information to know where you stand in the bracket. It's not enough to claim anything but temporary victory, but there's something to go on. I have infinite curiosity to talk about your bracket with you, and it's basically all I ask people. This is because I'm socially inadequate. But it's better than nothing.

My bracket was 11-5. I missed Louisville (like most, but happy to miss it), Mizzou (what was I thinking) and Michigan State (almost worse that they nearly pulled off the 23-point comeback) -- and then I got absolutely destroyed in the Kansas State/Utah State-Wisconsin/Belmont sub-region double-header last night. I'm kicking myself that I bought into the Belmont hype and picked against Wisconsin, a perennially tough Tournament out. (And I also bought into the Utah State hype. Why?)

Comparatively: The National Bracket went 12-4 (with the only true upset pick by the "crowd" -- Michigan State over UCLA -- being wrong). The "Chalk" method of only picking higher seeds would have gotten you to 13-3. If you followed President Obama, you would be 14-2. Not bad, Mr. President. There are like 7 perfect brackets left out of 6 million entries on If you're one of those 7, we salute you.

As for the games themselves:

*It's hard to add much more to Butler, except to say that as amazing as you thought that play was, it was even better than that, on about a half-dozen different levels. Even if I get it wrong, I'm sort of loving that I took them to the Elite Eight. (Ugh: Quickie Jinx in effect for Saturday.)

*The ending of the Morehead State game was amazing, too, not because of that clutch 3, but because of that incredible defensive play made by Kenneth Faried at the end -- yes, "all ball," but that the ref didn't automatically blow his whistle PRESUMING a foul. The ref was the game's MVP, for letting star players do what they do best -- Morehead State earned that win. Amazing.

*You have to feel terrible for Princeton. It was so winnable. And you have to wonder how Kentucky can do much more than make the Sweet 16.

*The night games were mostly a dud, especially compared to the afternoon set. It was fun to see Michigan State make a run at it (or, alternatively, to see UCLA completely collapse), but maybe if MSU hadn't futzed around in the first half, they would have won the game. This was a fitting ending to a terrible season for the Spartans. They'll be back... yada yada yada... fin. (As for Florida's performance in Tampa, forgetting they were playing a 15-seed, I haven't seen them look that good since the 2007 national title game. Still reflexively waiting for the collapse.)

*I loved the games on separate channels. I thought I wouldn't appreciate the extra-staggered start times in the afternoon, but they were fine. The separate channels were amazing. Controlling your own TV experience during the Tournament is the best.

Looking ahead to Friday: Mmm...chalky.
*12:15 CBS: (4) Texas vs. (13) Oakland.
*12:40 TRU: (8) Michigan vs. (9) Tennessee.
*1:40 TBS: (2) Notre Dame vs. (15) Akron
*2:10 TNT: (8) G. Mason vs. (9) Villanova. Mason!
*2:45 CBS: (5) Arizona vs. (12) Memphis
*3:10 TRU: (1) Duke vs. (16) Hampton. Kyrie Irving!
*4:10 TBS: (7) Texas A&M vs. (10) FSU
*4:40 TNT: (1) Ohio St vs. (16) UTSA
*6:50 TBS: (1) Kansas vs. (16) BU
*7:15 CBS: (2) UNC vs. (15) LIU
*7:20 TNT: (3) Purdue vs. (14) St. Peter's
*7:27 TRU: (6) Xavier vs. (11) Marquette. Toss-up.
*9:20 TBS: (8) UNLV vs. (9) Illinois.
*9:45 CBS: (7) Washington vs. (10) Georgia
*9:50 TNT: (6) G'town vs. (11) VCU. Upset Special.
*9:57 TRU: (3) Syracuse vs. (14) Indiana St.

Not about the Tournament: Jim Tressel's self-imposed 5-game suspension... isn't enough. Not for what he did. Not for using players he knew would be ineligible for an entire season. Not for covering it up -- lying -- to the NCAA. He should be banned for the year, the same year he stole from every team that Ohio State beat last season. I don't understand why OSU fans wouldn't get why Tressel is indelibly tainted and demand the school go after the only coach in America who is a clear upgrade to Tressel: Urban Meyer.

And, finally, a very happy birthday to Mrs. Quickish (nee Mrs. Quickie), whose birthday always falls during March Madness -- and who won me over on our first date when she talked about her appreciation for offensive rebounding as an essential college basketball success metric. She's always got a perfect bracket in my pool.

-- D.S.


Mike McBride said...

Actually, many OSU fans do get that about Tressel. Personally, I'm very disappointed that the university didn't fire him, and I'm downright angry at the way Gee and Smith praised and glorified him.

Spencer said...

i am in the CBS NCAA bracket, i have never before done this or even come close, right now I am sitting 18-0..supposedly there are only 317 perfect brackets left on out of 5mill +