Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Afternoon Random Thoughts

- With no upsets in the Thursday Afternoon games, you may be asking the question whether or not this could be an upset free bracket. But remember, when the first round is dull, the 2nd round is even better. Could it be upset Saturday?

- After Stanford got blown out by Lousville, I'd like to say I told you so. I was right that Stanford should have been left out of the field. But, Stanford was playing at 9:30am Pacific time, and Louisville is playing well right now, so I'll only say it once. (Hey, Missouri St. lost at home in the NIT, so what am I talking about?)

- Dell Curry's son played sensational in Davidson's loss to Maryland, but someone else is probably writing that column, so I'll leave that for others to describe. I will however point out that Maryland came back from an 8 point deficit in the second half because they suddenly discovered the value of sharing the ball. This is a very good NBA style, one-on-one team, but Davidson double teamed the ball-handler mercilessly. It worked in the first half and early in the second, but when Maryland finally decided to PASS out of the double team (shocking strategy), they got some open looks and lay-ups and pulled ahead.

- Butler, one of the teams I labeled as unpredictable, held Old Dominion to 46 points, in part because of their slow pace. Maryland will now go from facing one of the fastest teams in Davidson to one of the slowest teams in Butler. A lot of experts now think Maryland is a lock for the Sweet Sixteen, but I think this could be a difficult adjustment.

- Speaking of pace, Bigten Wonk asked the question whether tempo-free stats are starting to show up nationally. For people like Jay Bilas I see the right analysis, but for people like James Brown, (who mysteriously became a basketball anouncer), it is going to take awhile. Seriously, has James Brown been calling Pac10 games or something? I remember his voice from football, but I've never heard him call a basketball game.

- According to Dick Vitale, the ESPN TV room was going nuts when Belmont took an 11-4 lead on Georgetown and people were screaming "upset special". These people must not watch many games. With Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green in foul trouble, Jesse Sapp hit the key shots to give Georgetown the lead and Sapp finished with a career high 20.

- Finally, unpredictable Vanderbilt was surprisingly dominant against George Washington. Last year in the first round, GW gave their opponents a 20 point lead before storming back to win in overtime. This year, there was no comeback for GW.

Second Guessing
When I was in high school I always used to pick the big schools to win the 12-5 upset game. But I was always wrong. Somewhere along the way I learned that you need to pick the mid-majors. This rule has served me well over the years.

But, what happens when a mid-major faces a mid-major? Without looking up the data, I recalled Gonzaga struggling as the favored team against other mid-majors and concluded that ODU was still the right pick.

But wait, ODU was not the traditional mid-major conference winner. ODU was an at-large selection. ARRRRGGGHHHH. At-large teams almost always lose the 5-12 game. Man, I should have seen that one coming. (Or, I could just admit it was a coin flip and move on.)