Any NCAA tournament predictions.
Consider me a spoilsport, an outlier, whatever, but I don’t fill out a bracket anymore, haven’t done so for, I dunno, five years or thereabouts. Haven’t applied for a job at Dairy Queen, in order to enter Warren Buffet’s sweepstakes. Haven’t entered the $5 pool at my old office, the one I used to run.
Truth be told, I can’t recall ever coming close to winning one of those pools, even though I watch more hoops from November on than the population of most medium sized cities.
I just love the game, love the tourney, savor the madness.
So, no upset specials. No parlays, though I’ve got a comment about one that’s intriguing.
So, what you get here are a few observations, some snarky comments, and the passing along of some interesting peripheral info about the Dance, which shall have only karmic relevance, if that, to who(m) has that One Shining Moments several Mondays hence.
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The final dance is in Houston, right?
The winner’s gonna have to play the tightest ball of the tourney, right?
So, here’s some advice from that host city’s favorite sons:
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First I want to assure the Big Blue Nation and UK AD Mitch Barnhart, I’m feeling your pain.
A severely disrespectful seeding that recognizes that the Cats are only one of the 16 best teams in the land. For shame, Selection Committee. Where’s the respect?
And, according to Barnhart, a patently unfair, arduous and circuitous path to Houston, that shall make it an onerous burden on the faithful to follow their beloved team. Perhaps they should check out the Dead Sea Scrolls, see if they can find Moses’ TripTik through the desert for travel tips.
On the other hand, we know, thanks to cbssports.com, that 48 of the schools dancing have a longer road to their first game than the Wildcats’ 667.1 mile trek from Lexington to Des Moines.
Sure, most of the higher seeded teams get a travel break . . . but not all of them.
Of the #1s, Oregon has the longest trip, 468.2 miles; Carolina the shortest, 21.7.
Miami’s a #3 and the ‘Canes have to travel farther — or is it further? — than UK. Almost 1500 miles. But I haven’t heard a peep from AD Blake James. Nor any braying from the athletic department heads at Arizona, Baylor, Maryland, Purdue or California, all schools with teams of consequence and with a seeding not much different from Kentucky’s.
Nor did I really hear a plaint from any of the other 40 schools, with a longer itinerary than Kentucky’s. Including fellow #4 seed, that school that every hoopaholic knows catches every break all the time, Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils, who have to hike over hill and dale, across streams, 673 miles for its first round game.
What we do know is this: Should the Cats advance to the Round of 16, they shan’t be dancin’ in the Yum!, home of the South Regional.
Much to the chagrin of the thousands of BBN acolytes, who purchased tickets for that venue, sure in their hearts that it would be a given that Kentucky would be given that road.
Which is to say, plenty of seats available at 2d and Main.
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There are conspiracy theorists who posit that the Selection Committee sets up the bracket, so there will be certain gotcha games in the second round.
I’m not one of them. I believe the committee spends so much time in an airless room, eating stale Papa John’s, that the selections much of the time haven’t a scintilla of cognitive resonance. They just want some fresh air and vegetables come Sunday afternoon.
But those conspiracy theorists are looking at this bracket, and seeing these second round set ups:
Texas vs. Texas A&M.
Villanove vs. Temple.
And, of course, Kentucky vs. Indiana. In, you know, Des Moines, Iowa, of all distant places.
I haven’t the slightest idea what the odds are of that six team parlay succeeding, but I do know that Northern Iowa, Green Bay, Iowa, Asheville, Chattanooga and Stony Brook aren’t making the play.
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Dayton coach Archie Miller’s favorite band is Alice In Chains.
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Of the contendas, Oregon intrigues me most.
Not because of their gaudy uniforms. (Which actually are not as ugly as those worn by Baylor.)
The Ducks looked like beasts in the PAC 12 tourney, though a bonehead play at the end of regulation against Arizona in the tournament semi final meant they needed OT to survive. But they demolished a good Utah team by 31 for the crown.
The Quack’s Pomeroy rating is #9, their adjust O, #5. Their RPI is #2. And Dana Altman is a fine coach, whose appearance on the last weekend is long overdue.
Louisville Cardinal fans should recall that the W over the Ducks on the way to the ’13 title didn’t come easy. Oregon played U of L even, after a nervous, wobbly start.
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Before I get out of here for today (more to come as the tourney progresses), as a Louisville fan, I feel compelled to make conjecture where the Cards would stand in all this.
As for the ACC tourney, U of L would have been seeded where Notre Dame was, and, one guy’s opinion, would have fared the same, winning one game then losing to the Tar Heels.
As for the Dance, my guess is the Cardinals would be in Duke’s spot as a #4 and facing UNC Wilmington. Which, of course, would give UK fans one more reason to complain about its seeding.
— Seedy K