Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tell somebody to tip over the Gatorade Jug. We need more time before tip-off.

Can you imagine this exchange in November? “Folks, we’ll be joining the Ohio St vs Michigan game as soon as things wrap up here between Akron and Toledo. Remember, the winner of this Akron vs Toledo game will play in the MAC Championship next week. And Ohio St. vs Michigan is for a trip to the Rose Bowl. But our game is in overtime. I’d like to let you know that Beanie Wells has already broken a TD for Ohio St. to open the game. But we’ll take you there as soon as our MAC coverage is over.”

The idea of the game of the year getting cut-off because of a non-BCS game seems hard to imagine in football. Instead I’d expect a 2 hour pregame. But hey, this is college basketball. The fun of the NCAA tournament is the shear volume of games and buzzer beaters. It isn’t just about the elite teams. Every NCAA tournament bid matters. And for teams like Northern Iowa and Illinois St., teams good enough to beat a 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA tournament, the drama of the elimination game is good TV.

So whether the quest to become the 45th best team in the NCAA field cut off the start of Duke vs North Carolina in your TV market, or whether the start of Duke vs North Carolina cut off the end of the MVC game in your TV market, get used to it. CBS will be back with their live look-ins and game jumps in just 11 days.

If you hate it, but the DirectTV package. But casual fans love the jump-around. They love being taken to the next big game already in progress. And for those of you who claim to hate it, just know that in two weeks, they’ll take you to a Davidson-level upset in the final seconds, and you’ll be screaming. This is March Madness.

Uh, Davidson, Right. About that.

Speaking of Davidson, Stephen Curry will not be back in the NCAA tournament after Davidson lost in the Southern Conference semifinals. If you know how to find this blog, you’ve almost certainly looked at the numbers and can understand that they don’t have the quality wins to get an at-large bid this year.

Hey, I was bummed when Eric Maynor and VCU got left out a year after beating Duke. These things happen. And there will be another Cinderella, even if it isn’t Davidson. Hey, it might even be VCU. VCU takes on George Mason in the CAA final on Monday.

Random Game Note

After Duke vs North Carolina game was over, I flipped on a random New Hampshire vs Binghamton game. New Hampshire was down by a point and I put the game on mute. They zoomed in on the New Hampshire huddle and the coach was clearly giving it his all. I’ve never seen someone so intense and instructive in the huddle.

So what play did New Hampshire draw up? We’ll never know. They threw away the inbounds pass which was taken down for a lay-up, and then they threw away the following inbounds pass too. Instead of a shot to win the game, they turned it over twice as Binghamton advances to the American East title game next weekend. Sometimes defense wins games too.

By the way, Binghamton will face UMBC next weekend. UMBC is the 6th seed in the American East but they were able to win at Nebraska earlier this year, so don’t count them out.

Three More Brackets

Here’s the Printable ACC Tournament Bracket. (Until the graphics person shows up, you may have to manually fill in the bracket with these tournament pairings.) Does Maryland need to beat Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament to get an at-large bid? And can Miami or Virginia Tech beat North Carolina to get another one?

Here’s the Big Ten Tournament Bracket. Does Michigan need to beat Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals to get an at-large bid? Does Penn St. need to beat Purdue? And can Minnesota or Northwestern beat Michigan St. to earn another one?

Here’s the SEC Tournament Bracket. Is anyone safe? Will Kentucky lose in the first game of the SEC tournament again?

I already rambled on enough yesterday about the Big 12 and Big East tournament, but rest assured, I’ll have a lot more to say about the bubble in the days ahead.