Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Sixteen Left Playing Edition

After a day when most Bracketeers went 4-4, Tony maintains the lead going into the Sweet Sixteen. Losses by Notre Dame, Purdue, Texas, Syracuse and Pitt have hurt many an Elite Eight and Final Four prediction.

The ACC has three teams left…two in the SEC, Big East a deuce, two for the BigTen, one in Big 12, The Pac 10 has one, the Mountain West has a pair.

In the Sweet 16, #2 Florida vs. #3 BYU is a rematch of last year’s first-round matchup in which The Jimmer went for 37 points and the Cougars came out with the victory.

Richmond will lose four senior starters, including two 1,000-point scorers (Justin Harper and Dan Geriot) and a 2,000-point scorer (Kevin Anderson), from this season's team.

Since the NCAA Tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, of the 26 teams that entered as No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, only 14 reached the Final Four.

Only four teams ranked No. 1 in the media poll or gaining the overall top seed were able to claim the tournament trophy: Duke in 1992 and 2001, UCLA in 1995 and Florida in 2007.

Only three overall top seeds have reached the Final Four since the selection committee began ranking the No. 1s in 2004.

Gonzaga's Mark Few is the first Division I coach to reach the NCAA Tournament in his first 12 seasons.

Notre Dame forward Scott Martin started at Purdue and was a member of a star-studded Boilermakers recruiting class that included JuJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel.

The biggest upset ever, according to the point spread, was when Santa Clara, a 19.5-point underdog, upset Arizona in the first round in 1993. Santa Clara’s freshman point guard was some guy named Steve Nash. The biggest upset in the Championship game was when 9.5-point dogs UConn beat Duke in 1999.

Only once have all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four -- in 2008. Twice as often -- in 1980 and 2006 -- no No. 1s have advanced. No. 1s have won 16 of the 26 64 (or more) team tournaments. No. 2 seeds are a distant second with four wins, while third seeds have won three times. No team lower than an eight seed has ever won.

There is just one pairing in the first round in which the lower seed has a historical edge. Not surprisingly, that is the ninth seed, which has won 56 of their 104 games against the eight seed. It might seem like the 12 seeds have great luck against the five seeds, but the higher seed has still won two thirds of the games the two seeds have played.

Michigan doesn’t have a single senior on the roster, only two juniors who play, and a roster led by a sophomore and a freshman.

During 72 previous NCAA tournaments, only three head coaches have won the title while coaching at their alma mater: Norm Sloan (N.C. State, 1974), Gary Williams (Maryland, 2002) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse, 2003).

The only school to win games as a 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed is the University of Richmond. The Spiders were the first 15 seed to emerge victorious, upsetting second-seeded Syracuse at Cole Field House in 1991.

From 1946-1981, the two Final Four semifinal losers played in a consolation game, held Monday night just before the final. When CBS took over the tournament rights in 1982, the third-place game was dropped. Virginia beat LSU in the final consolation game in '81.

The definition of irony: the site of the first-ever Final Four as we know it -- Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., (1939) -- is the largest school to have never made an NCAA tournament appearance.

Neither Duke nor UNC beat the spread.

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