Saturday, March 21, 2009

March Madness Bracket Breakdown Rd. 1 and Round 2 picks

March Madness 2009

Bracket Breakdown – Round 1

Euripides said it best – “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.” – Had he lived into the era of big-time college basketball Ol’ Rip might have added, “,,,they first make March madness.” Round one made me mad, as in insane. Thursday was fine, 14-2. The sun was shining, all was right with the world. And then Friday, the madness kicked in. Down goes #4 Wake Forest with three potential NBA players to #13 Cleveland State. Down goes #5 Florida State to #12 Wisconsin. I guess the Seminoles didn’t want to win for fear that like the football team they might just have to give it back. Down goes #8 Ohio State, no big deal really as a the #9 Siena Saints were picked by just about everybody. Except, in a fit of contrarianism worthy of the genius stockpickers of CNBC, me. Down goes overseeded #5 Utah to underseeded #12 USC. (I had this one but it’s here to add to the madness.) And down goes #6 West Virginia who I had thought capable of a deep run, to the #11 Dayton Flyers, a team whose nickname brought back memories of a simpler time, of flying machines and barnstorming pilots landing in haystacks, and who thoroughly outplayed the slick hicks from Morgantown. And even Pitt and Kansas looked very beatable against low, low seeds from East Tennessee and North Dakota. And when the dust settled it said 10-6 and a .625 winning percentage will almost always guarantee a first place finish in baseball, in picking an NCAA pool winner, not even close. So, as Euripides said so famously in Medea, his masterpiece about madness, “On to Round 2.”

Saturday’s Picks Round 2:

East Regional

Villanova over UCLA. Another home game in Philly for ‘Nova and this one won’t come down to a last shot against UCLA.

Texas over Duke. Republican Coach K repeats Republican talking points as he says the President should concentrate on the economy and not fill out brackets. Hmmm? Guess Coach K shouldn’t have lent his (and Duke’s) name to that fundraiser for faux-Senator Liddy Dole years back. Hypocrite with a tiny mouth and a stupid, creatively mispronounced name. (Is it clear just how much I hate Coach K? Good.) I also think Texas has too much bulk in the frontcourt. Now let’s hope they can get some calls in Grennsboro.

South Regional

North Carolina over LSU. The crowd will be all Carolina Blue and the Tarheels will come in waves and the boys from Baton Rouge will be beaten bloody by their own red stick. Could be closer than that but still it’s Carolina moving on.

Gonzaga over Western Kentucky. The best run of Round 1 was ‘Zaga’s against Akron that went on for almost 9 minutes. I give them two four and a half minute runs against the Hilltoppers but it will be enough.

Oklahoma over Michigan. Which player from Michigan will do what Wrestlemania move on Blake Griffin? And after Blake and his brother move on, which Griffin’s next, Stewie?

West Regional

UConn over Texas A&M. Calhoun will be back and even though he doesn’t suit up the Huskies have more than enough to beat the Aggies.

Washington over Purdue. On a day of great match-ups, this has a chance to be the best.
More importantly, it sets up the all Husky match-up in of course, Glendale, Arizona, everybody’s favorite winter wonderland.

Memphis over Maryland. Are the Tigers as bad and as overseeded as they looked on Thursday against Cal State Northridge? Northridge – epicenter of strip malls and epicenters? I think they’ve got one good game in them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness Predictions - Friday's Games

March Madness 2009

And here are Friday’s picks:

East Regional

Pitt over ETSU. East Tennessee State sounds like a historically Black college, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Outside of that, not much on the ETSU front. Pitt by 25.

Tennessee over Oklahoma State. Red state match-up. But Tennessee’s guys have the NCAA experience. And I’m betting that the players all voted for Obama.

Florida State over Wisconsin. Toney Douglas will make the cheese-heads look like, well, cheese-heads. The Big 10 can’t win a BCS bowl or this game.

Xavier over Portland State. The X-Men, not to be confused with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, will rule until the government bans them.

South Regional

Temple over Arizona State. Temple’s star is named Dionte Christmas. Or Dionte Xmas. But never Dionte Happy Holidays.

Syracuse over Stephen F. Austin. The Orange parlayed 6 OT’s into a 3 seed. They’ll put this one away by the half.

Midwest Regional

Louisville over Morehead State. Morehead just won the play-in. Now they get to play-out. The ‘Ville by 25.

Ohio State over Siena. And the Saints go marching out.

Arizona over Utah. The 12 over 5 plays out here as ‘Zona has 2-3 NBA prospects and Utah has the ghost of Keith Van Horn.

Wake Forest over Cleveland State. Years ago Cleveland State pulled a major upset and that coach ended up in a crack-house. Gave new meaning to the phrase – “Take the rock to the house.”

West Virginia over Dayton. Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins looks and dresses like an Irish mobster extra from Miller’s Crossing. His players call him “Don.”

Kansas over North Dakota State. The kids playing for the Bison are the only young people left in the entire state of North Dakota. Or as most people call it, “Uhhh, Canada?”

USC over BC. The Trojans have length. And height. And mass. And a win.

Michigan State over Robert Morris. The one Big 10 team that can make a very deep run.
And please, ZZ in Italian is pronounced TZ so his name is IT-ZO, not IZ-ZO. Just as it is PETE-ZA, not PIZZ-A. It doesn’t matter how you pronounce Robert Morris. After this game you’ll never hear the name again.

West Regional

Marquette over Utah State. A good team minus a good guard beats a team with guys in their late 20s back from their 2 year Mormon missions.

Missouri over Cornell. They both go up and down the court with some speed. Only the Tigers will score.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Madness - Round 1 Predictions - Thursday

March Madness 2009

I love basketball. My screen name is NY11399 which is the score of the famous Willis Reed game, Game 7 of the 1969-70 NBA Finals between the Knicks and the Lakers.
I was there at the Garden in the blue seats ($5!!!) behind Marv Albert. I was at the old Garden for the famous college basketball game in the ECAC Holiday festival between Princeton and Michigan, Bill Bradley vs. Cazzie Russell. I remember UCLA winning with Goodrich and Hazzard, Alcindor and Jabbar, Walton and Patterson. I saw Texas Western and I saw Dr. Dunkenstein. I love this game.

Here are Thursday’s picks:

East Regional

VCU over UCLA. Eric Maynor is better than Darren Collison. The Bruins foul constantly and get bailed out at home but may not find the officiating as homerific
in Philly as at Pauley. Last chance to see the future President of the Cameroons, Alfred Aboya, and Josh Shipp, a nothing player who will be doing his nothing in Turkey next year if he’s lucky.

Villanova over American. ‘Nova at home in the cradle of liberty playing American.
How fitting. ‘Nova by 20+.

Texas over Minnesota. How the Big-10 got all these teams in the tournament is beyond me. Maybe the Selection Committee thought it was a hockey tournament. Big 12 over Big 10. By 11.

Duke over Binghamton. This could get ugly. But not quite as ugly as Greg Paulus.

South Regional

North Carolina over Radford. Ty Lawson’s toe woes are more interesting than Radford.
And how many of you thought Ty’s name was Tyrone and not Tywon (not China!).

LSU over Butler. Books will not be written about this match-up.

Western Kentucky over Illinois. I listened to Western win last year on a buzzer-beater while parking at Langer’s Deli on Alvarado in L.A. for the best pastrami outside of Katz’s on Houston St. The Illini’s best guard has a bum hand. And tell me how the Big 10 got all these teams in?

Gonzaga over Akron. The Zips are coached by LeBron’s old high school coach. Their nickname is the Zips. If the Zips could go scoreless that would be so great for headline writers everywhere.

Clemson over Michigan. There will be idiots on CBS and ESPN who think they are cool by shortening Wolverines to Wolves. They are idiots. Wolverines and Wolves are separate and distinct animals. Maybe someone on Michigan can call another time-out they don’t have.

Oklahoma over Morgan State. Blake Griffin is orange. Why didn’t he end up at Syracuse?

Midwest Regional

No games Thursday.

West Regional

UConn over Chattanooga. The UConn Huskies (get it? Yukon? Huskies?) against a team named after a “bend in the Tennessee River”. WTF??? UConn by a million.

Texas A&M over BYU. How can you root for a team from a state that bankrolled the hate of Prop. 8 in California? Not me.

Purdue over Northern Iowa. Almost everyone in Indiana has a Robbie Hummel figurine somewhere on a shelf.

Washington over Mississippi State. Huskies at home. If they can get by Purdue in Round 2 they set up an all-Husky game on March 26th. In the old days Husky was a size in boy’s clothing. Very lame.

Maryland over Cal. Maryland has a Puerto Rican guard named Grievous Vasquez.
The best guard ever out of Puerto Rico was Marquette’s Butch Lee who almost led them to an Olympic win over the US. Question – Puerto Rico’s not a country. How do they have an Olympic team?

Memphis over Cal State Northridge. I say Memphis pulls the Matadors apart like so much pulled pork and wins by 35+ as Calipari wants them to show the world. CSUN,
see lose.