And the Madness Begins…

The field of 65 (64) has been announced. Everyone’s bitching about Syracuse being “shipped out West” with the fourth number one seed. My favorite team got a two seed in the NIT. My other favorite team got a 10 seed. I have trouble feeling bad for the Orange.
But, in case you’re not crazy about ESPNU’s 89 consecutive hours of coverage or the constant references on every sports network you watch, then you can enjoy my analysis of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

-One guy’s saying there’s a Duke conspiracy afoot. I agree kU got a tough draw, but I’m not going to go as far as to throw out a conspiracy theory.

-Purdue got a four seed after being shellacked by Minnesota in the Big Ten semis. I think we might see the first time in tournament history when a 13 seed is favored in the first round. I’d chalk that one up as a definite first-round upset. Siena over Purdue.

-Texas and Wake Forest have been piss-poor at best this season, especially considering the pre-season expectations. I would hate to be Kentucky, though. Texas and Wake Forest have been incredibly inconsistent. But inconsistency means they can be good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Longhorns or Demon Deacons give the Big Blue a big scare in that second round. They might even send the Wildcats home early.

-Mizzou may be a 10 seed, but I’m not hating their draw. Clemson is limping in after losing their last two games (just like Mizzou, sadly). I think Missouri wins the first-round Tigers match-up. Then throw in Bob Huggins’ track record in March, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Mizzou through to the second weekend (even though I don’t think it’ll happen). They also have the only non-power conference team seeded higher than fifth in their region: New Mexico. Steve Alford’s team has been great all season and they deserve their seed, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Tigers take on the Lobos if they make it to the Sweet 16.

This guy is exactly what you want if you base all of your picks on numbers and history. If you actually think for yourself and analyze match-ups, you’ll hate it.

-John Brenkus from Sports Science tries to convince you that you can do well when you’re filling out your bracket basing it solely on the seeds, not the teams. His theory is very numbers-heavy, too, but I’ll give him the chance to convince you (you might have to go to YouTube because I think ESPN will disable the embedding):

-Even though I said I like Mizzou’s draw, I also picked West Virginia to win it all in my bracket on ESPN. It’s not a “sexy” pick, but I already said I’d take the Mountaineers to be in the Final Four. I stand by that. I also said UK’s inexperience would catch up to them. I stand by that, as well. If those two things prove true, that would mean WVU will beat them in the Elite Eight. The Mountaineers have experience, play great defense, rebound well and are very athletic and very talented. Their physical play might be able to disrupt and frustrate DeMarcus Cousins, and their good team defense will help slow down John Wall. I think Huggs makes his first Final Four since taking Nicky V and the Bearcats to the Twin Cities back in 1992.

-kU really did get a tough draw. The Midwest region is absolutely loaded. Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan State, Tennessee, OK State, Northern Iowa and Georgia Tech. All of those teams could make a run. I think the Jayhawks have to be worried about a match-up with a stellar defensive team in Northern Iowa in the second round. They might have to face two Player of the Year candidates if they run into Georgetown (Greg Monroe) or Ohio State (Evan Turner). Both teams they lost to this season are in their region (Tennessee and OK State). Then you look at the coaches. Between Bill Self, Thad Matta, John Thompson, Gary Williams, Tom Izzo, Lon Kruger, and Paul Hewitt, the coaches have combined for 11 Final Four appearances. It’s definitely tough. And you can argue they got shafted. I don’t like Kansas, so I like seeing a tougher road for them. And I really like seeing the potential match-ups in the first two weekends in the Midwest. Ohio State/Georgetown would be a treat. Northern Iowa/Kansas? I’d love it. Kansas/Ohio State or Kansas/Georgetown would be awesome. You can argue the committee got it all wrong, but you can’t be upset about the potential this region brings to you as a basketball fan.

-The 3 vs. 14 match-up in the West Region is a ratings nightmare. New Mexico vs. Montana. If you got every household in both states to tune in, it’d probably get comparable ratings to the women’s selection show tonight.

-If you like complaining, this article is for you. 5 Things to Hate about this year’s NCAA Tournament bracket.

-I’m thinking about doing an Altiora Chronicles group on ESPN.com for all my readers. In fact, I think I will. I will offer a prize of some sort. Maybe a meal…my treat. That’s what Cincinnati radio host Mo Egger did. He’s offering a $20 chicken dish at some nice place back home in the Queen City. My offer will have to depend on how many people actually sign up and where they’re from. And it gives me a chance to see what kind of audience I have here at TAC. Click here to go to my group and make your entry. Best of luck to you.
**UPDATE: My brother over at Red Pop Sports has joined the group and agreed to help provide the prizes to the winner. As he said: “Amazing and lavish prizes await the winner, which in almost all certainty will be me.” And by me, he probably means me, not him.**

-My Final Four predictions remain unchanged. Interestingly enough, I made my picks before the Selection Show and none of my Final Four teams wound up in the same region. So, I will stand by my picks of West Virginia, Duke, Syracuse and Kansas. In my first bracket, as I mentioned above, I took the Mountaineers to bring home the hardware with a 71-64 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in the title game.

Now on to other things.
-Cincy drew a two seed in the NIT. Dayton drew a three seed. That could potentially set up a Bearcats/Flyers second round match-up. I can only imagine the amount of smack talk between all of my friends. Little Guy’s brothers both went to UD, I’ve got plenty of friends enrolled there now, I love UC, most of my friends do, too, and I have even more pals who currently go to Cincinnati. And I’d love to see a Chris Wright/Lance Stephenson match-up. Oh, the possibilities. I sure hope the Bearcats can top Weber State and Dayton can get a win over Illinois State to make my dream come true. The Bearcats start their run back to MSG on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST on espn2.

-Landon Donovan will be back in LA soon. Even though the U.S. forward asked the Galaxy to let him extend his stay with Everton, ESPN reported today that the loan is over. I have mixed emotions about the deal.
The MLS needs to keep its best players in the MLS. I get that. From a business standpoint, Major League Soccer really had no choice but to bring him back. He’s the first American-born MVP the league’s ever had. They need him back.
But, Donovan’s success in Everton helped the U.S. shake its mediocre soccer reputation. With the international success of the players like Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Oguchi Onyewu, Tim Howard and Charlie Davies, the United States is putting itself in a better position to compete with the best teams in the world. Their play in the Confederations Cup showed that they’re getting there. They beat Spain and played Brazil very tough. America is getting closer and closer to being releveant on the international stage. The MLS, as a business, needs to put as good a product on the field as possible. But the U.S. needs their players playing against the best in the world. That’s the only way they can compete with the best. Donovan knows it. He even said so.

“It’s absolutely improved me. It’s impossible not to. I have learned a lot technically, tactically, how to keep myself motivated. It absolutely puts me in a stronger position for the World Cup.”

Why would the U.S. not want its players putting themselves in stronger positions for the World Cup. Our country already has the best hockey, football, baseball and basketball in the world. Those last three are the three sports people care about here. The way they’ll get people to care about soccer is through international success. If the United States can consistently be considered a contender on the same level as the top teams internationally, people will begin caring. Until then, America has to accept the fact that people don’t get better by playing here. They get better by playing in Europe, where the best players are. If we can let our best players play over there, people in America might begin to care. They’ll start to care when the U.S. national team competes for a World Cup or gold medal (just look at hockey). When the U.S. becomes competitive, it can open the door for the MLS to be competitive. Until then, I want to see more American players having success elsewhere. Let Donovan stay.

-This all reminds me of one of my favorite commercials.

-Gotta feel for David Beckham. Had the chance to make history as the only English player to ever appear in four World Cups. Instead, he ruptures his Achilles and has surgery that’ll keep him out of this summer’s World Cup.

-Speaking of soccer, the Pussycat Dolls dropped the season opener. Not like that crazy singing group tells your girlfriend she’s not as “hott” as them. It’s our intramural soccer team this semester. The name came courtesy of the inspiration for the Mania. John Mania, that is. Here’s a shot of our fearless leader:

The Inspiration for the Mania. And the leader of the Pussycat Dolls.


I didn’t have quite the debut I had been hoping for. Hadn’t played soccer since sophomore year of high school. Considering my four to five year absence from the sport, I did alright. I spent one half in the field and made a couple good plays. I spent the other half in the goal. I don’t like that. Our goalie got stuck at work and couldn’t make it, so we had two guys (me and another teammate) who had no idea what we were doing take the place between the pipes (I think that’s a hockey term…oh well). We each gave up two goals. Our team only scored one (but Gerg looks like Lionel Messi with his new haircut, so it was cool when he scored). So, in case you can’t do the math, it means we lost 4-1. Oh well. We’ll be back next week.

-The Masters is right after the NCAA Tournament. This is when my excitement really heats up. The weather’s getting better, the commercials air more frequently, I think about golf more. Mid-March to mid-April is probably the best time of the year. The NCAA Tournament, The Masters, awesome weather. What more can you ask for? Even if there is a little rain here and there, it’s always nice to mix things up and get to play a few rounds in some inclement weather. I’m in the KOMU newsroom and just heard our main anchor say he got a few rounds in this weekend even though the weather was less than ideal. Nothing makes me respect a man more than knowing he loves golf that much. Beautiful.
Here’s one take on the top 10 moments in Masters history:

It was made by ESPN in Canada. So I guess the top moment might be based on a little bias. But I love Mike Weir so I don’t mind too much. I just wish the Canadians would’ve put nationalism on the back burner and put Jack at #1.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m actually shadowing the 10 p.m. newscast producer shift here at KOMU, so I’d better start paying attention. The action’s heating up now that we’re about five hours away from showtime. I will leave you with a compilation of the singing of one Andy “Nard Dawg” Bernard. I just love The Office.

Enjoy March Madness. Hopefully I’ll be back with some thoughts on the first and second rounds before the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight tip off. I know you’ll love it.
Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on March 15, 2010.

One Response to “And the Madness Begins…”

  1. […] I swear to you I did. I had talked about how good they were in my Selection Sunday post and in my pre-Tournament post. But as I sit here and toot my own horn, Little Guy’s response to my line mentioned above […]

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