Monday, March 17, 2008

Random Thoughts on Half the Bracket


“And the 8 seed in Raleigh, N.C., the Hoosiers of Indiana.” That sound of laughter you heard at 6:01 was most definitely coming from Champaign, Illinois. (Insert superfluous “Got Gordon” picture here.) Well, I still can’t believe that the Indiana season is going to end like this. But if Indiana can make it to the second round (big if), I bet North Carolina scores 100. Two other notes on the Hoosiers, who got perhaps the worst draw ever for a team that started the season in the top 10:

1) I emailed some Indiana fans after the Blake Hoffarber shot on Friday.

“Did any of you watch the Indiana / Minnesota game? Could you appreciate Hoffarber's shot for what it was? Or was it too disappointing?”

Answer, “Way too disappointing that the game even got to that point. Immediately grabbed the remote and hit ‘stop’ then ‘delete now’ on the DVR.”

2) Sunday I went down to run on the treadmill and I started watching the Bracketology recap show on ESPN. At some point Dick Vitale went on a 5 minute rant about how Bob Knight should be the next head coach at Indiana.

Knight sat quietly and stared at the camera while the rest of the panel sat in awkward silence.

Eventually Reece Davis spoke up. "I haven't known you a long time, but was that your way of indicating that we should turn Dick Vitale's mic off?"

Finally Bob Knight spoke, "If you turn it off, I think he has a spare."

You just can’t make that stuff up.

Washington St. Pod

Look, I’d love to see Notre Dame get a shot at UNC. North Carolina’s defense often looks suspect (particularly in the first 35 minutes of a game), and I could see Luke Harangody taking it to the basket relentlessly agains the Tar Heels. Throw in some hot shooting from the perimeter, and this could be the most fun game of the Sweet Sixteen. But I fear that it isn’t going to happen. Washington St. is too disciplined and George Mason can pull the upset in the first round. But I still believe that either Notre Dame or Vanderbilt are going to make an unanticipated run due to hot three point shooting and maybe the Irish will surprise me.

Louisville Pod

Ah, my sleeper Final Four pick from the start of the month. Of course I’m picking Louisville here. I’m looking forward to when Louisville plays Tennessee and some announcer foolishly proclaims that Louisville needs to play at a grind-it-out pace to win. “This action is much too fast for what Pitino wants here.” Yeah, right.

Tennessee Pod

American has the best 3 point percentage of any NCAA tournament team. Ultimately, the turnovers will kill them against Tennessee, but I’m looking forward to the 3 minute stretch where they hit four 3 pointers and scare the living daylights out of the Tennessee fans.


I still can’t believe that James Keefe went 4 for 7 and played better than Lorenzo Mata-Real in the Pac10 title game. What is the world coming to?

UConn Pod

As discussed previously, UConn’s biggest fear is a perimeter-oriented-team. And they get the perfect draw in the first round. San Diego shoots fewer 3’s than just about anyone in Division 1, and they don’t make very many of the one’s they shoot. Then UConn might get Drake (assuming Drake can get past WKU). Drake takes a lot of threes (outside of Adam Emmenecker), but doesn’t make enough to make UConn nervous. Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined a better draw for UConn.

Xavier Pod

Dennis Felton took Western Kentucky to the tournament three straight years. There is no question he knows how to coach and he was willing to do things honestly at Georgia after the Jim Harrick mess. But if he was on the hot seat, I don’t see what he proved by winning the SEC title. Essentially, his players went out and played 3 games in 2 days without any practice time or instruction and they performed better! Why does this save his job?

Duke Pod

I know Duke hasn’t been playing that well, and I know some quick smaller teams (see Wake Forest, Miami) have given them problems, but I really like them against Xavier in the Sweet Sixteen. When I made that “shooting over a chair” joke about Drew Lavender, I couldn’t have thought of a worse match-up than Duke. Duke has so many great three point shooters that whomever Lavender tries to guard is just going to have a huge day from the outside.

The Rest

I’ll try to preview the other pods in the next couple of days. In case I don’t, Temple over Michigan St. is my five star, lead pipe lock, upset pick of the first round. (And I also really like Kansas St. against USC.)