The Tourney’s First Weekend: One Last Look Back (& Quick Look Ahead)

b-ballBefore I get to that incredible ballgame yesterday, which set up another Feathers vs. Fur tussle this Friday, a few assorted observations about the tourney in general.

Seems like everybody obsessed with the college hoops game — that includes moi — is talking Ken Pomeroy this and that. His computerized assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the various schools is as highly regarded, perhaps more so, than any of the other “gurus.”

So I checked out his standings this Monday morning day of rest to see whether his categorizations are holding up?

Very well, thank you very much.

Of the the sixteen teams left, fourteen can be found in his top 21. The outliers are #34 Stanford and #43 Dayton. One of which, for those not keeping track at home, will play over the weekend for a trip to the Final Four.

Yes, Pomeroy has been on Tennessee for awhile. He has them ranked #6.

Which means, the Vols are joined by #3 Louisville, #10 Michigan and #11 Kentucky in the loaded Midwest Regional. #1 Florida, #2 Arizona and #4 Virginia join U of L as his regional favorites.

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I observed two trends during the tournaments opening four days, which may be of interest only to me. They are of a cultural nature.

There were apparently 28 Canadians on squads that made it to the Dance. Weird. Just seems like an inordinately high number.

I also noticed five different stars with mufti-racial parents. Which is pretty damned neat.

I loved the quote from one such couple, the mother of Carolina’s Marcus Paige. When announcer Craig Sager mentioned to her how impressed he was by how articulate Marcuse is, mom replied, “He ought to be. I’m an English teacher.”

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Kudos to the Miller brothers. Sean’s Arizona Wildcats remain one of the tourney favorites.

Archie’s Dayton Flyers are THE real surprise in the Round of 16.

Sean’s always been intense. But he’s nothing like his brother, who seems like he couldn’t find a smile if it smacked in the mouth.

Another great quote. This from Greg Gumbel at the end of an interview of the Dayton coach yesterday, during which Miller remained severe, never coming close to expressing the least bit of joy at his team’s success.

Gumbel: “I sure hope you’re happier on the inside than you appear.”

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The official’s decision at the end of Iowa State’s W over North Carolina was absolutely the correct one. The clock at :01.6 didn’t start of at least a couple of seconds after the Tar Heels touched the ball inbounds.

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Both Johnny Dawkins, whose Stanford Cardinal are still alive, and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, lasted longer than their alma mater, Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils.

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Louisiana Lafayette’s J.J. Davenport might have lost fifty pounds like the announcers said. But he is still one very large husko gordo.

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Andrew Wiggins, whom Stanford never allowed to get the ball at crunch time, and Jabari Parker are sayonara.

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Charles Barkley reiterated his opinion that “the NBA is the worst it’s ever been.”

Frankly, as much as I loooooooove Sir Charles, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, they’re pro guys. Gimme Jay Bilas and Seth Greenburg, who are locked into the college game all season.

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I’m not going to break down UK’s impressive W over Wichita State, though I took copious notes.1 Partially because I was more nervous about the game than any I can remember in which U of L was not involved.

ukuoflI admit to being deep into my schadenfreude. I really wanted the Shockers to win. Read: Kentucky to lose.

For several reasons, not the least of which is that UK is the arch rival of my favorite team, which they will now encounter in the Round of 16. Also, because the NCAA tournament is stressful enough for players and fans, without adding the ingredient of facing a hated foe. And, U of L simply doesn’t match up very well with Kentucky, even if UK isn’t on its game.

Truth: Kentucky played yesterday like the pundits expected them to all season, after naming the neophytes the best team in the land before the kiddos ever donned their unis.

It’s way too early to break this game down. Not that you’ll see much of that here.

I’m not only distraught because the Wildcats have kicked it up several notches.2 I also am worried about the Cardinals.

In one interview after the St. Louis W, Luke Hancock made some odd reference to “the locker room is weird right now.” Also, I’m advised by a courtside observer that there was some negative body language by the Cards in Orlando.

Then there’s the reality that Coach Cal has seemed to have The Rick’s number as of late. Plus that previously mentioned bad match up situation.

I am dumbfounded that U of L has opened as a five point favorite in Vegas.

That enough negativitude for ya, Cardinal fans? Just trying to get it out of the way early. It’s going to be the longest of weeks. Better now than Friday.

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Given that you have your UK vs. U of L game, and it’s joined by Tennessee vs. Michigan, both of which schools have really large fan bases,3 it’s not surprise that ticket prices in Indy are skyrocketing.

— Seedy K

8 thoughts on “The Tourney’s First Weekend: One Last Look Back (& Quick Look Ahead)

  1. Once again, we seem to be on the same wave-length, Counselor.
    I’m not sure what to make of the grim mood in the locker room. I hope its not a sense of dread for the likelihood of facing UK in the round of 16 (If so, they’d be taking a cue from the fan base, the majority of which seem to have that feeling)
    A friend of mine offered a positive approach which I think has merit: UK, in all likelihood, just played their A+ game. The odds of them repeating that are slim. We, on the other hand, are still sitting on a great game. Pitino is 9-0 in the Sweet 16, and unlike December, when he is coaching for a deep March run, is coaching to win THIS GAME.
    I’m encouraged by KenPom, and Nate Silver, who continue to love the Cards. Hopefully, Rick has a read on his team and will give them a little time to re-charge their batteries.
    (Didn’t know Sean Miller’s brother coached Dayton, but while watching their game with the sound off, I thought he looked an awful lot like Sean. Makes sense now.)

  2. For years your loyal readers have had to endure your endless adoration of all things “Quack.” How trendy, how avant garde, how modern, how fast, how ad nauseum. Yet, when they are taken to the woodshed and sent home packing along with their insufferablely arrogant coach by a team that you have chosen to ignore all season, there is not word written. It is time to wake up and smell the cheese. The Badgers are for real and it would be wonderful to see you finally admit it….and write about it.

    1. Mr. Joyner, I anxiously await your comments to Mr. Kaplan. You have greatly amused all season. Thanks. A one-way bus ticket to Lex? Awesome.

  3. Louisiana Lafayette’s J.J. Davenport is understandably packing some pounds; Lafayette, LA, is one of the best places to eat in the USA. Olde Tyme Grocery is right down the street from campus—a block or 2—and they make the best po’ boys going anywhere.

  4. Wrong, Badger Breath. Obviously, you didn’t read my article. Your alma mater is mentioned, and, in a positive light.

    1. Mentioned yes…in a footnote or close to it. Hardly the commentary that was necessary given all the “Quack, Quack, Quack” we’ve suffered through…like there is anyone who cares about a Duck thousands of miles away or an athletic department bought lock, stock and jock by an exploiter of cheap Asian labor.

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