Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to Bracketville---Round Three On Deck Edition

Caught your breath yet? The first 96 hours of the 2014 tournament were exhausting and exhilarating.
What can we expect over the next four days? Who knows? What you and I can imagine rarely matters. March Happens!
48 games over four days that had a bit of everything.
Six OTs…a handful of double-digit seed upsets…dozens of down-to-the-wire games…marquee performances…winning shots in the final seconds…too many games to count won by one or two possessions. Just one true buzzer-beater…Texas over ASU.
This is basketball at its best. Every season I say this is the best NCAA Tournament…since last year. Best of all…we get to do it next year.
On one hand, all the close games make for great drama and wonderful theater. On the other, it prevents the unsung subs (who give maximum effort all year in practice) from getting a minute on the court…and having their name appear in box score of an NCAA Tournament game.
Nobody in our group called Stanford…including the experts. That pick would have netted you 20 points.
Stanford advances to play Dayton in the Sweet 16, meaning we will have a double-digit seed in the Elite Eight.
Remember when Baylor was 2-8 in the Big 12…me neither. They’ve lost just one game since March 1st.
Before the tournament, the last time Michigan State had won two in a row was January 18th and 21st.
The SEC, Big 10 and Pac12 have three teams participating in the Sweet 16.
The ACC has one. Between 1980 and 2005, the ACC provided exacting a quarter of all Final Four participants.
The front-seat duo representing Sonic make the commercial break entertaining…very droll.
Rick Pitino is 11-0 in the Sweet 16. John Calipari is 5-1 vs. Louisville while coaching Kentucky.
Kentucky had zero turnovers in the final 8:30 in their victory over Wichita State.
In an early loss to Michigan State, Kentucky’s Julius Randle had eight TOs and just a single assist. In the win over Wichita State, Randle had six assists.
In his final game Andrew Wiggins as many turnovers (four) as points. Not his best day.
The perfect bracket is dead---RIP. Most brackets are covered in red, reflecting misguided assumptions and broken dreams.
Syracuse started 26-0 (in the cupcake division) and finished with a dreary 3-6. In their losing effort against Dayton, both teams had more turnovers than assists.
Eight players on the UVA team scored in the victory over Memphis as the Cavs shot 56% from the floor. UVA has won 18 of their past 19.
The biggest oddity to me was that Creighton’s Doug McDermott had zero threes against a zone team in his final college game. Tough way to go out…but he sure provided us with great memories.
Duke forced just 12.1 turnovers per game this season, the worst in Coach K’s tenure…opponents connected on 45.6% of their shots (best vs. Duke in over two decades.)
Since winning the tournament in 2010, Duke has gone 5-4 in tournament play.
Florida has not seen an offense like UCLA in many, many moons.
Dayton’s margin of victory vs. Ohio State and Syracuse was three points…total
Stanford has the size and ability to match up with anyone on their side of the bracket.
12 of the 16 teams finished either first or second in their conference tournaments.
Just four teams still playing rank in the Top-20 in both offense and defense efficiency in the KenPomTop-20. UVA, Louisville, Tennessee and Florida.
Not so fast: Point Spreads: Arizona -7.5, Wisconsin -3, Louisville -4.5, Michigan -2.5, Michigan State -2, Stanford -3, Iowa state -1.5, Florida -4,5.
One more thing: Here’s the latest line from Las Vegas to cut down the nets. Florida 10/3Louisville 5/1 
Michigan State 5/1 
Arizona 6/1 
Virginia 9/1 
Kentucky 16/1 
Michigan 16/1 
UCLA 16/1 
Wisconsin 16/1 
Baylor 20/1 
Iowa State 20/1 
Connecticut 28/1 
Tennessee 28/1 
San Diego State 33/1 
Stanford 50/1 
Dayton 100/1
Congratulations!!! You made it to the end. Celebrate by taking a breath and watch the Elite Eight on Thursday.

This season’s prize is “Wooden, A Coach’s Life” by Seth Davis.

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