Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Messy Brackets Edition

All the Bracketeers have zero teams left. We will be spectators on Saturday and Monday, allowing us to cheer with heart rather than pick.

Carl takes the blue ribbon with 59 out of a possible 120 points. Place and show go to Tony (54) and Eddie (51). Of the pros I tracked, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports Online did best with 51.

If the quality of this season’s Tournament is due to parity, seeding or the “one and dones”---who cares. I cannot remember more exciting games…more rousing comebacks…more final possession verdicts…more stellar individual performances in recent Tournaments. Just an occasional blowout this time…seemingly fewer than ever.

A glorious Tournament thus far. Bravo!

Had you seen a bracket with VCU, Butler, Kentucky and UConn in the Final Four, perhaps the conversation would have gone something like this.

“You’re an idiot…there are no number one seeds here.”

“Butler! They lost their best player to the NBA last year. They had five losses in the Horizon League. They lost a total of nine games…six who failed to get in the Tournament.”

“VCU! They tied for third in Colonial Athletic Association for goodness sakes. Eleven losses and five of those teams aren’t in the tournament.”

“UConn! They were a preseason #10 pick in the Big East and actually finished ninth. They had nine losses, come on.”

“Kentucky! They sent five guys to the pros after losing in the Elite Eight to that criminal Bobby Huggins. They only play six guys and three of them are freshmen. They finished three games behind the Gators in the SEC East. They lost three games to teams that failed to make the 68 cut off.”

“Those four teams have combined for 37 losses.”

Butler has trailed in the second half in three of their four victories.

Las Vegas says: Kentucky is favored by 2---Butler by 2 ½.

When UConn coach Jim Calhoun won the 1999 Tournament, Butler coach Brad Stevens was a point guard at DePauw and VCU’s Shaka Smart was a point guard at Kenyon College.

Five different coaches have taken Kentucky to the Final Four---Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and now John Calipari.

Calhoun, Smart and Stevens are the only men to lead their schools to the Final Four.

The Kentucky/UConn game is second consecutive rematch for the Wildcats in the Tournament. UConn bested UK in the Maui Invitational in November.

No shortage of story lines in this Final Four.

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