Thursday, March 17, 2005

Tourney Time

The greatest reality show in television history is back on the air.

That's right, the NCAA Tournament hits the small screen at noon today, giving all employees something to do instead of work and read blogs. One firm calculates the loss of productivity at $889 million over the 16 business days of the tournament. But that study also assumes that people actually work hard the other 200+ days a year, which is blatantly false. Blatantly.

So, as the tourney unfolds and brackets are busted, here are some quick predictions for this year's Madness:

Biggest Upset
I don't quite know how this happened, but I have two 14 seeds advancing to the second round. And strangely, I feel pretty strongly about both teams: Bucknell beating Kansas and Utah State knocking off a hit-or-miss Arizona squad. Bucknell this season beat then-seventh-ranked Pittsburgh on the Panthers' home court just days after a seven-point win at St. Joe's. The Patriot League champs feature three players that average more than 12 points a game, and that balance is going to take down the recently struggling Jayhawks.

Utah State has the potential to win two games in this tournament, although they'll probably fall to LSU in the next round. But the Aggies are legit...they cracked the Top 25 last season and have made the tourney for the fourth time in six years. Utah State beat Andrew Bogut and Utah by 26 points this season, beat #20 Pacific once this year (although they dropped two other games to Pacific earlier) and they even beat the Powerhouse in Evanston, Northwestern. Senior Spencer Nelson is taking over.

First #1 Seed to Fall
Believe it or not, the only top seed I have advancing to the Elite Eight in this year's tournament is North Carolina. I've got Duke, Illinois and Washington all falling in the Sweet 16 to Syracuse, Alabama and Louisville respectively.

Duke just doesn't have the depth or the top-tier McDonald's talent this season, and I'm not sure they can win with a guy that got teabagged while passed out at a UNC frathouse.

I'm sold on Illi-noise, I think they're a damn good team with great guards and more than serviceable big men; but for some reason I just don't see them putting it all together and winning the title. It might be Bruce Weber's nice guy demeanor, it might be his orange coats. As much as I really enjoy watching this team, I say they're out.

Washington is a fun team to watch, but I think even Pitt and their big men can take the littler Huskies to task in the second round should they meet. I'm rooting for Washington to bust my bracket though, as Nate Robinson is one of the cooler guys to watch in the country.

Best Match-up of Teams/States that Fucked the United States for the Next Four Years
#4 Florida vs. #13 Ohio

Best Name in the Tournament
Leemire Goldwire, Charlotte 49ers.

When Donnie and I were watching Brendan Plavich nail like 14 three-pointers from eight feet behind the arc, we also noticed this dude's awesome moniker. Even though I have the 49ers losing in round one (streaky shooting teams always go out early), I almost want these guys to go all the way so I can hear "Leemire Goldwire" a lot. Depaul's Cliff Clinkscales may have won this category if the Blue Demons had made the tourney.

Obligatory #12 seed Advancing
Almost every year for the past decade and a half, a five-seeded team has gone down in the first round like your mom on the poolboy. Who will it be this year? Well, I actually have only one #5 team moving on (Alabama), but I'm not so sure if that's gonna work out like I planned. So if I had to pick one, let's go with Old Dominion over Tom-to-the-Izzo's Michigan State team. Look for the Alex Loughton and the Monarchs to knock off Paul Davis and the Spartans.

I Hate This Pick
Why did I pick Syracuse to go to the Final Four? I think they easily could win the whole thing with one of the best inside-outside combos in the game, but Taylor Coppenrath and the Vermont Catamounts could just as easily knock them out in the first round. If they can get past UVM, they're going to the Final Four...but I don't know how to write that in my bracket.

Final Four Picks

Chicago bracket: Oklahoma State d. Alabama
Al-B-Que bracket: L'Ville d. Wake Forest
Syracuse bracket: UNC d. Wisconsin
Austin (Massachussets) bracket: 'Cuse d. Utah

Finals

Oklahoma State d. Louisville
UNC d. Syracuse

And in the final game, when the big story will be about Roy Williams at long last taking home an NCAA title at his alma mater, it'll be Eddie Sutton leading his Cowpokes to the trophy, as he wins his first title after years of near misses. I love Oklahoma State this year, and I've been singing their praises all year long: Joey Moonlight Graham, John Lucas, Ivan McFarlin and JamesOn(.org) Curry are NOT losing this tourney. Done deal.

Good final game or not, I just hope we get those Bryce Drew-type moments, those Laettner-esque shots, those Jimmy V runs or Hampton coach pick-me-ups...it's all about the lasting memories.

Now let's go have a good show, everybody.

4 Comments:

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous HANDSTAND said...

My new favorite player in the tournament is the Nevada Wolfpack's Ramon Sessions.

I just see him walking into some classy bar/club, going up to the hottest girl in the place, and saying "Hey baby, the name is Sessions. Ramon Sessions".

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Very much agreed. Last night we said that Ramon Sessions was a great band name, or at least the title of a long-lost album.

--Yo man, did you get the new Handstand album?
--No brah, it sucks, but I did just pick up their new remastered disc.
--Which one?
--Ramon Sessions.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger John Howard said...

Well, it looks like you were right tohate the Syracuse pick, just probably a little earlier than you expected.

 
At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Squeaky Johnson. I know it's a nickname, but it's being used in play-by-play calls, and it makes me laugh every time. I am really, really high though.

 

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