Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Brackets are Ready Edition

One of our bracketeers’, (Carl Moesche) grandfather, Melvin Proud, was Purdue's (1917) first-ever three-sport letter winner.

One thing I learned last night after about 30 seconds of watching the first play-in game---Clark Kellogg has not gotten any better.

The ESPN announcers cover the game all season and know their stuff. Their broadcast teams develop nice chemistry. They provide entertainment, insight and information. It sucks that basketball fans have to spend the post season listening to the CBS/TBS junior varsity. The good news is there is always Westwood One Radio coverage of some games.

Here are some late Las Vegas spreads: Washington by 5.5, Xavier by 2.5, Cinci by 1, Temple by 2.5, Old Dominion by 2, Kansas State by 2.5, Wisconsin by 5, St.John’s by 1.5, Michigan State by 1.5, UNLV by 2.5, Vandy by 3, Texas A&M by 1.

From kenpom.com on experience: Syracuse is #275, Kentucky is 314th, UNC # 323, UConn # 332. They’ll all in the same regional. Makes an Xavier (under 12 turnovers per game) upset of Syracuse tempting. If UNC was playing someplace other than Charlotte, it would make Washington enticing as well.

Two freshmen and two sophomores are the most important players for Texas.

I wanted to pick Georgia over Washington in what is nearly a home game for Georgia, but almost every stat overwhelmingly favors Washington…probably offsetting jet lag.

I had to pick Clemson and Michigan, as I could not put myself in a position to cheer for Bruce Pearl or Bob (T) Huggins.

Kemba Walker has shown he is a big game performer, so I finally picked UConn to get past the “Fastest 40 Minutes in Sports” that Missouri brings.

Every win predicted for San Diego State is based on the blind faith of numbers, as I have never seen them in action.

Time after time, trying to complete a bracket I wound up with all four number one seeds in the Final Four. I had to pick at least one to fall. Had I not witnessed Duke’s powerful run in the ACC Conference Tournament, they would have been my choice (and Texas may well get them). However, Duke beat good teams (not Wake Forest, Georgia Tech or NC State) to win the championship.

So I picked Pitt. Old Dominion seemed Pitt’s only opponent capable of banging with them on the boards…so I am riding ODU to the Elite Eight. ODU and Pitt are ranked 1-2 in rebounding margin…in that order. Pitt and ODU will make or break my bracket.

The recent injuries or suspensions to key players from Georgetown, Purdue, St. John’s, BYU and Florida State prompted me to shorten the runs for those five schools.

The Tournament is a magnificent time for basketball fans. We get the NIT and the NCAA Women’s Tournament in the off days. Is this a great country or what?

As the games play out, we will all learn that “nobody knows nothing.” Expect the unexpected. What could be better?

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