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:
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.
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?
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.