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Monday's List of 13: First impressions of the Field of 68........
13) I don't get involved much in the debate over seeding; just getting in the field of 68 is a great opportunity, but I always feel bad if a team gets left out of the tournament that deserves to be in. Drexel is 25-2 in its last 27 games, but a non-conference schedule that wasn't ranked in the top 200 doomed them to an NIT bid. Too bad for them.
12) CBS does this every year, because they can; the announcement of the teams gets stretched out to about 45 minutes, so they can sell commercial time and make money, which is their job. Problem is, people's jobs rely on their making the tournament. Keeping them hanging while you wait on the brackets being announced borders on cruelty.
They showed the South Florida team before the last region was revealed; I've seen happier funerals. Luckily the Bulls got in, so their mood got lot better very quickly, but it had to be a long hour for them.
11) Wisconsin-Montana are lot alike, except Griz are more athletic- they really are. Both teams have big guys who can shoot the 3. This will be an interesting game.
10) South Dakota State has four guys who shoot 40% from arc; over last nine years, Summit League teams are 0-9 in round of 64 (Oakland won a play-in game in '05), with Oakland's 85-81 loss to Texas LY only loss by less than ten points. Jackrabbits play Baylor in Albuquerque Thursday.
9) Contrasting styles when Creighton plays Alabama; Crimson Tide beat Wichita State of MVC by 10 in November- they're ranked in top ten in country in defense. Creighton leads nation in eFG%, which counts made 3-pointers as 1.5 made baskets in computing field goal percentage- they are a great offensive team.
8) Iona played a home game November 28; their next home game was on January 6. In between, they played 11 road games and a neutral court tilt with conference rival Siena. Gaels lost by 19 at Marshall, which has to be puzzled why they didn't make the tournament (beat Cincinnati, split pair with Belmont, went 9-7 in its league). Anyway Iona has a play-in game with BYU- they could be this season's VCU.
7) Surprised that 23-11 Lamar got sent to a play-in game; Cardinals have the most experienced team in America, even if their coach doesn't like the seniors, as he very publicly said three weeks ago. UT-San Antonio from the Southland won a play-in game LY.
6) The Midwest #6 seed has lost SU in the first round six of last seven years; that "cursed" spot goes to San Diego State this year (NC State).
Last four years, #12 seeds are 7-9 SU against #5 seeds. Harvard will be a fashionable choice to upset Vanderbilt, since the Commodores have lost as a 4-4-5 seed, just in the last four seasons. Not a great record.
5) Gonzaga can't be thrilled with being a 7-seed but having to travel east to Pittsburgh to face West Virginia, which will very much be a road game for the Bulldogs. Mountaineers have struggled down the stretch scoring at the end of games- other than Jones, they're limited on offense.
4) 25-9 Norfolk State is interesting; they lost to Marquette by 31 in their season opener, then played them again a week later and lost by 2; any 15 seed that loses to Marquette by a hoop is a dangerous team.
3) Memphis is so much more athletic than Saint Louis, but Billikens are a top 20 defensive team and have one of the game's best tacticians in Rick Majerus. Memphis won 20 of last 23 games after starting season 6-5.
2) Florida State went 4-1 vs Duke/North Carolina this year, first team in 16 years (Ga Tech/1996) with four wins in same season vs UNC/Duke, but they also went 0-2 vs Ivy League teams. Interesting to see how the Seminoles do against St Bonaventure, surprise winners of A-14 tourney.
1) Davidson beat Kansas back on December 19, so Louisville better not fall asleep against the well-coached Wildcats, who played the #9 schedule during the non-conference season.
All in all, it should be a fun month. Enjoy the games........
March Madness Bracket Contest is up and ready for your picks. Hope everyone is participating, we have over 500 entries already in the contests. We have our Free Contests which you can sign up at SPOOKY EXPRESS along with our Private Bracket Contest which is available for 20 per entry. Send me a message if you need the details.
Agree that a 248 SOS for Drexel did unfortunately seal their fate. However, if the MAAC can invite an at large in Iona after Loyola MD won their conference then the Colonial should have taken Drexel considering their long winning streak and overall mark only to fall short to VCU in the Championship game. Drexel could have easily took West Virginia's spot, who like South Florida and Seton Hall finished the season relatively weak.
CBS has the formula down cold these days. Open the show by discussing briefly the 4 #1 seeds, commercial break. Do one region, get a little analysis and take another break. Rinse and repeat only to leave the last 15 minutes for more analysis and advertising. The show conceivably doesn't need nd more than a half hour to announce the field of 68. Then for the second half hour they can bring in the experts and have a full blown analysis and reaction session.
I just finished filling out my bracket right now. Harvard will give Vandy all it can handle. I had a couple of 12 seeds potentially upsetting a 5. In the South VCU could knock off Wichita St, and in the West Long Beach St has the depth and shooters to take Louisville, who will look to slow down the game and rely on the perimeter game. Temple also better be careful especially if California beats South Florida in one of the play-in games. Also I have a 13 seed in Ohio upsetting a 4 Michigan, who looked awful against Ohio St and also should have lost to Minnesota in regulation of the Big Ten quarters.
Memphis got a really bad draw as winners of conference USA and IMO a lower than deserved and expected 8 seed. Even if the Tigers outlast the Bilikens, waiting in the wings in round 2 is Tom Izzo and Michigan St. I think Florida St should roll over the Bonnies despite both teams playing similar styles. The Noles have grown up over the years and grind you down defensively while working the clock down to take a high percentage shot. They can also play up tempo, and it could be an interesting matchup against Vandy in the sweet 16.
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Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Coaches generally get fired for losing, but Tulsa just fired Doug Wojcik for not winning enough, in other words, not making the NCAA tournament, which in turn hurt ticket sales. Wojcik is a high-quality person who played at the Naval Academy with David Robinson. Tulsa’s sports programs are in limbo because of the conference-juggling that’s going on- they haven’t found their landing spot yet. Don’t see how firing Wojcik helps them at all.
12) Tulsa has been burned in past by coaches leaving for greener pastures: Tubby Smith, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson. Next time that happens, we’ll think about Wojcik before we criticize the coach who bolts.
11) Over the last two NCAA tournaments, first round favorites of 3 or less points are 6-19 against spread. Lower seeded teams that are favored are 0-5.
10) Over last three tournaments, single-digit first round favorites are 15-42 against the spread. Maybe that’s why the spreads this March seems so much lower than usual.
9) More than 70% of the rum sold in this country comes from Puerto Rico.
8) Must be nice to be rich; had Eldrick Woods gutted out the last seven holes Sunday and played par golf, he stood to make $76,000. That’s more than many make in a year. For the record, his last drive went 321 yards.
7) Sergio Garcia got a 12 on a par-4 hole Sunday. Freakin’ 12. Not good.
6) Packer backup QB Matt Flynn is now a free agent, and will cash in as soon as the Peyton Manning drama is resolved. Browns/Miami/Seahawks all whiffed on Manning, so they’ll be in the market for Flynn, who dazzled in his only two NFL starts.
5) Mets have five guys out with oblique injuries, so now they’re reviewing their daily workout program. Brilliant. Here’s a hint fellas; too much weightlifting.
4) Big X hasn’t had a Final Four team since Kansas won national title four years ago. Jayhawks/Missouri are expected to get there this time around.
3) Long Beach State is a popular darkhorse this month, but the Big West hasn’t won a tournament game since Pacific won first round games in both 2004/2005, and New Mexico is a tough draw for the 49ers.
2) I’ve had a theory for a few years that CBS does some handicapping of its own when they pick TV times for games; for instance, I don’t think they put games they think are potential upsets on in the afternoon, they want those games for prime time, which is why I’m surprised the Harvard-Vandy game is a 4:40 tipoff. Lot of wealthy alums from Harvard, which hasn’t been in the tournament since 1946, and they’ve got a pretty good team- fully expected that to be a 10pm tipoff.
1) Teams that took lot of investment action as soon as the lines came out Sunday night:
UConn, opened +1.5, now -2
Alabama, opened +2, now -1.5.
Michigan State, opened -17.5, now -20
Belmont, opened +6.5, got bet down to +4
Kansas opened -12, got bet up to -15.
Will throw out a few plays during the week and start a separate thread for the tourney.
Filling out my brackets and gearing towards Kentucky winning it all. Have some futures rolling from October with Memphis, Xavier, Kentucky, Florida and North Carolina. These are from before the season started.
Also played some regional futures with the above including Vanderbilt.
Before the season started i played kansas,unc,syracuse,uconn,ohio st and vanderbilt. I just added florida at a great price i think. At this point it isnt even worth it for me to throw kentucky in there, probably just go
with them game by game. Was on iona already then i read in the ny post
today that the kid machado played in
the same park i did growing up, so now i gotta go bigger.