Let's start with the important stuff:
Barack Obama is leading the Quickish group of the Tournament Challenge. (Well, not the President himself, but the bracket of his picks I entered into the group.)
I went 24-8 in the first 32 games. (Obama went 29-3. All higher seeds is 25-7. The National Bracket is a mediocre 22-10. My 4-year-old -- who made his own picks this year -- is beating me.)
So: How does YOUR bracket look? (At this stage, your record in the first 32 is a vanity metric -- what matters is how many Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four teams you have left. Most people have most of these remaining, with some separation coming this weekend.)
*George Mason + thrilling ending + Gus Johnson = amazing.
*I love that VCU was that team on Selection Sunday that all the talking heads decided wasn't worthy. Then all they did was win in the First Four, then turn around and beat a team from the vaunted 11-bid Big East. And they did it handily. How can you not root for VCU?
(I'm thrilled I picked VCU to beat Georgetown -- my favorite pick of the first round. But my most agonizing second-guess was changing VCU-over-Purdue to Purdue-over-VCU. We'll see how that works out.)
*Kyrie Irving had a solid debut playing mostly with Duke's second team, and his impact on the tournament will be substantial. How many other teams are adding a Top 3 NBA draft pick just in time for the Tournament? Even if he remains a reserve, it's almost unfair to think that he'll be going up against other teams' subs.
*This seems pretty clear: Derrick Williams didn't foul the Memphis player on that last shot. And fouling up 3 was exactly the right strategy by Arizona coach Sean Miller.
*It's hard to complain about yesterday's lack of Thursday afternoon's level of drama. The George Mason finish combined with the Thursday afternoon lingering feeling of awesome should be enough to get you to today's games. Speaking of which:
12:15 CBS: (4) Kentucky vs. (5) West Virginia.
2:45 CBS: (2) Florida vs. (7) UCLA
I had Michigan State beating Florida here. Ugh.
5:15 CBS: (12) Richmond vs. (13) Morehead St.
I, like many, had Louisville winning here. At least we guarantee a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16.
6:10 TNT: (2) San Diego St vs. (7) Temple.
7:10 TBS: (1) Pitt vs. (8) Butler. Upset special!
7:45 CBS: (3) BYU vs. (11) Gonzaga. Game of the day.
8:40 TNT: (4) Wisconsin vs. (5) Kansas St.
I had Belmont here, beating Utah St. Double-ugh.
9:40 TBS: (3) UConn vs. (6) Cincinnati
Enjoy the day! Be sure to check out Quickish throughout the afternoon and evening for the best quick-hit analysis of the games, in real-time(-ish).