Leading to the Sunday we call Selection.
Lunardiocy (loo-narrd-ee-uh-see) reigns.
In epidemic proportions.
But, before I dive in, I have had to ask myself, do I yet again make some lame joke about He Who Is Known As Joey Brackets’ follicular insufficiencies?
That sentence having been writ, not excised, and posted for your readification, the answer becomes clear. Yes, I make one more joke. The devil made me do it.
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While I have a more intricate topic to discuss today, let me first congratulate Stevie Mas. His Manhattan Jaspers upset rival Iona last night in the MAAC tourney final, and shall return to the Dance.
The now bearded Masiello is proving himself the latest of Rick Pitino’s talented coaching progeny.
I am of the opinion that the former Cardinal assistant’s momentary fall from grace last spring is a blessing in disguise. Fresh off a coulda woulda shoulda but didn’ta upset of Louisville in the tourney, he nabbed the vacant South Florida job. Which was soon thereafter snatched from him, when it became known that Masiello hadn’t completed his degree at UK.
Manhattan righteously took him back, after he officially flipped the tassle on his mortarboard.
The South Florida gig then went to Orlando Antigua, former assistant to Coach Cal. In his first year, the ever hapless Bulls1 finished 9-22 overall, 3-15 in the patsy AAC, displaying nary a hint of hope for future success.
One guy’s opinion, South Florida is black hole for coaches, in hoops as it has been for pigskin.
The Tampa Bay area commuter school is the proverbial sleeping power of the future. Except that, well, the future’s awakened and moved on.
At some point, after a couple of seasons, rehabilitating his rep and the dimming of memories, Stevie Mas will get a better gig than the one he lost.
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It’s time to talk geography and NCAA brackets.
Here’s what happens every year after the brackets come out. I look and wonder, how did that team end up a #5 seed, and its rival that it beat twice during the season and finished with a better overall record and three spots above in the league standings, end up an #11 seed?
There are always placements that convince me the committee wore down and were running on empty after sitting for a week in a windowless, airless room, eating Papa J’s, drinking lame joe and constructing the field. That it got to 5:30 on Sunday, and they cut and pasted, while in a rest-deprived daze, all the while downing pain killers to thwart the dull headache they’ve had since Friday afternoon.
Apparently the committee has a tendency annually to spend way more time on who gets in, than in making sure the bracket is fair and balanced. What they did last year to Wichita State is what my grandma would call a shanda.2 It happens way too often.
The word, and this comes from J. Brackets himself, who, all kidding aside, has found his niche as an expert on all matter bracketological, is that the committee has eschewed the S Curve in favor of geographical, uh, integrity.
it’s not a good thing.
In the days of yesteryear, the country was divided in fourths and schools played their way to the Final Four, only having to contest schools from their own neck of the woods. Which is how UCLA, notwithstanding its talent, was able to be so successful. Year after year, to get to the last weekend of the season, the Bruins only had to beat Montana Lutheran, Oregon A & M and College of the Pacific.
Then came seeding and a certain veneer of equanimity. Teams could be sent hither and yon, but the brackets were evened out. Theoretically.
But, as the tourney has become more and more about moolah, filling arenas, nay stadia, schools are assigned spots close to home, regardless if it’s fair or not. “Giving fans a chance to see their teams” is correctly translated as “We got a lot of seats to fill.”
Here’s how the S Curve would look today, according to Pope Brackets I:
|9-Maryland||10-Notre Dame||11-Iowa State||12-Oklahoma|
So, UK would be #1 in, say, the Mideast, if that’s what they call it anymore; Rock Chalk Jayhawk the #2, the Terps #3 and Northern Iowa #4. Etc, etc.
So, in theory, the best #2 seed should be assigned to the region with the least #1 seed. Following along, class? So, which region would Wisconsin be placed? That’s right, Villanova’s region.
Except that, the way they actually do it now looks like this. Kentucky as the top overall seed will obviously play its opening games in Louisville, then, should it win as expected, march on to Columbus, Ohio, which is the closest regional. And the other #1s will be divvied about.
Assuming the Badgers are ranked as the best on the second line, they should, as mentioned above, be situated in Villanova’s regional. In Houston, Syracuse or LA.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, since Madison is so close to Columbus, and a fellow Big Ten town to boot, the Buzzcuts are likely to be placed with UK.
Which is, to spin on a Midwest phrase, a not so fine howdy do.
Which is a lot of verbiage to opine that the selection process needs to find an ethical place.
How that’s to be done is a longer discussion for a later time.
Let me add, if Joey B’s bracket predictions were to become a reality, I’d be pleased as punch for my Cardinals. Even if they played it on foreign soil, as long as it wasn’t in ISIS-controlled territory.
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I have received grief from more than one source, because I didn’t weigh in with a Today’s Final Four in my last blog.
What I think today is as irrelevant as what Joe Lunardi thinks. Other than to give us all something to argue about, until next Monday morning when we set our work aside for what really matters, filling out our bracket for the office pool.
But, to appease you, my loyal readers, I’ll return to my hypothesizing. And, I’ll base my choices — for today — on Lunardi’s current S Curve above.
Today’s Final Four: Kentucky, Notre Dame, Arizona, Wisconsin.
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In case you’re wondering, the portrait displayed above was painted by my friend and talented local artist Wendy Parkhurst, and presented to me as a gift on the occasion of my recent birthday.
— Seedy K