Monday, March 19, 2012

03/19 (Sweet 16) Quickie

"How's your bracket?" It's the question of the day. As the NCAA Tournament hits the end of its first of three acts, I'm barely (but still barely!) over the 50th percentile.

By comparison, President Obama's bracket is in the 99th percentile (although he has already lost one of his Final Four teams, Mizzou). My 2-week-old daughter's bracket is in the 98th percentile.

It is a testament to the lack of drama in the tournament's first weekend that the biggest story as we hit the Sweet 16 is Kendall Marshall's injured wrist, which probably has derailed UNC's shot at a national championship -- and probably even a Final Four. The injury is that questionable and Marshall's value to the Tar Heels is that integral.

It probably doesn't matter -- it is hard to see any team stopping Kentucky, and if the Wildcats do fulfill every expectation and win the championship, that's what we'll remember, along with Friday night's epic pair of "15 over 2" wins.

I don't feel badly for Lehigh and Norfolk State getting bounced out of the tournament yesterday; their place in college hoops history is secure and forever -- we will remember those two wins more than whoever ends up runners-up in the Final Four.

Otherwise, the Sweet 16 is dominated by Marshall's injury, Kentucky's dominance, the unprecedented presence of four teams from the same state (Ohio, Ohio State, Xavier and Cincinnati) and the idea that -- excluding Kentucky, which is going to throttle Indiana -- at least one 1-seed won't make it through the weekend (maybe UNC, but almost certainly Syracuse).

I'm not going to lament the absence of buzzer-beaters, which is a big reason we all plug in for twelve hours at a stretch. Just remember that feeling as Lehigh was knocking off Duke on Friday night -- that should be more than enough to sustain you through the end of the week.


*What will Peyton Manning decide? Titans if he wants to feel close to home... Broncos if he wants to make the playoffs from the AFC... 49ers if he wants the best shot to win a Super Bowl.

*Seahawks sign Matt Flynn: Yes, it's a risk, but a calculated one -- Seattle wasn't getting a better QB through the draft and needed a solid prospect to build on. (The Dolphins though? Yeesh.)

*What about Alex Smith? He's the odd-QB-out if Peyton ends up in SF, but if Manning spurns the 49ers, they could absolutely bring back Smith -- it's the best situation for him, pride aside.

*Derek Fisher jumping to the Thunder? Yes, please. Especially if it includes a playoff match-up with the Lakers.

*Madoff trustee settles with Mets' Wilpons for $162M: The Wilpons had to do it -- it's probably low enough they don't have to sell the Mets, but it sure doesn't help. (Except that it puts this lawsuit behind them.)

*Women's tournament: You've GOT to try to catch Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, who is arguably -- pound for pound -- the most talented basketball player on the planet right now.

Lots going on at Quickish -- pop by and scroll down to catch up on some of the best of the weekend. It'll only take you about 60 seconds, and it's got some great nuggets in there.

-- D.S.

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