Sunday, March 14, 2004
Is there a more significant waste of effort than predicting the brackets for the NCAA Men's basketball tournament, besides predicting the women's tournament and blogging? I can see people spending some effort to predict or argue about who should be in or out. But, predicting who will be paired against whom? Unless they're getting odds from Vegas, I fail to see the point.
Before Friday, I believe I had seen less than 20 minutes of men's college basketball cummulatively this entire season. Friday and Saturday I attempted to correct this, watching nearly triple that amount in two days. I had planned to watch more, but I just couldn't stomach it. Watching the first half of Alabama and Florida Friday was particularly horrible. The ridiculous, "Hey, we've been in the front court for three seconds, we'd better shoot," mentality was too much for me, particularly since they couldn't shoot well. At least Florida looked like it had some sense of organization about it, which led to its eventual win.
Likewise, watching Cincinnati and DePaul was gruesome. The DePaul kids looked like they had been playing soccer all their lives and finally been asked to use their hands with this orange leather object, yet Cincinnati managed to keep them in the game. I watched Vandy finally wear out in the second half against Fla. You knew they were done when one of their shooting guards launched three consecutive threes on the same posession, missing the first two very short off the iron, and the third wide right. They just had no legs left.
The only teams that looked at all decent were Illinois, Michigan St., and Wisconsin. I know the Big Ten is supposed to be down, but for a top 3, they're not as horrible as I would have imagined. I doubt I'd pick any of them for the Final Four, but I'd not want to play any of them, and would not be surprised to see at least 2 in the Final Eight.
I listened to the second half of the Maryland-N.C.State game and monitored it on the crawl during the other games. Typical Maryland. Is there a team that is more likely both to produce and yield a 20-point swing in a game? You can't blame their youth, because they used to do it with Juan Dixon and going back to Joe Smith. It's a Gary Williams thing, and it derives from their style of play. They're a dangerous to team to face, but a dangerous team to be, too.
Some other random thoughts:
Last year was the first year I did not participate in a pool. This may be the first year I don't fill out a bracket at all. I started back in 1986 with a strong debut, picking KU-Duke and Louisville, with Duke-Louisville, and Louisville winning. But now, I've essentially stopped caring.
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