Time for the annual guess-fest! The NCAA tourney is bracketed and the real games are starting this Thursday. If by chance you’re reading this you’re more than qualified to enter my tournament pool, but do it soon. Like right now!
Of special note this year – the East regional semifinals and finals (so sweet sixteen & elite eight rounds weekend after next) are being held here in Boston. Tickets available for all three games for $165. Unfortunately enough this is the only region without a top-tier Big XII representative (KU is #2 in the Midwest, Mizzou #2 in the West and Baylor #3 in the South), but it does have both a #8 seed Kansas State and the #11 Longhornz (unsure how exactly they snuck in this year), as well as soon-to-be Big XII member, West Virginia. Happily both MU and Baylor are on the far side of the bracket from us so assuming they somehow go deep they’ll have to deal with each other. As far as KU’s draw goes – the path the the elite eight looks reasonable enough but then our #1 seed would be UNC. I find it very difficult to cheer against Roy Williams, but think I’ll be able to make an exception this time (assuming we can get past Detroit…).
More importantly, Hondo & spawn‘s combined bracket somehow, miraculously, wins our pool, despite her failing to even to properly fill the form out leaving her with the ever popular (No Pick) to win it all. The outcome really didn’t depend on tonight’s final – nobody in the pool had Duke or Butler winning the dang thing so the die was cast when Michigan State and West Virginia lost Saturday. If both those semi-finals had gone the other way maija would have won with the random button and I would have come in second by one point. DARNMGLLE. Anyway, cheers to our winners (and their highly prescient blue eyes for blue devils POTD).
The odds of me winning an NCAA pool are poor. And yet they’re so much lower yet when my team is THE OVERALL #1 SEED and therefore everyone and their mother’s brother’s monkey will be picking them. But really, this is the sort of problem we should all have. Anyway, join our pool, fill out a bracket. But please, be the least bit contrarian and leave the Jayhawks to me ok*?
As for those who got in, the fun is going to be in figuring out which high seeds are going out of the tournament first, because they’re not all going to make a run, not this year. Northern Iowa, which won 28 games, will be a threat to Kansas in the second round. Maryland, with seniors Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes, would be a serious threat to Kansas . . . if the Terrapins can get past Houston and Michigan State, which would be a serious threat to Kansas. Georgetown would be a serious threat to Kansas, and certainly Ohio State would be, seeing as Evan Turner of the Buckeyes is the most versatile, most highly skilled player in college basketball this season. I can’t see Kansas, which I think is the best team in the field, going through all four of those teams in the Midwest Region. This, without question, is the Group of Death.
In this weekend’s illicit gambling update, UNC (+ Saint Roy) won & UConn (w/ DirtyDirty Jim Calhoun) lost today so the top two positions in our pool are finalized – Shazzbot is the winner & Jaywalkers will come in a close second place, two points back. All that’s left to be determined during Monday’s final is if Zed will drop from bronze to fifth if Michigan State can’t continue their run. Interestingly enough, all human entries in the pool were beaten by the automated method of all top seeds (+ UNC). Thanks to all for playing, next year sweet redemption will almost certainly be mine as there’s literally nowhere* for me to go but up.
Oh yeah, and Bill Self is Coach of the Year! Not too shabby as far as pity-party consolation prizes go.
*Ok technically I beat SMHB & NP by 1 point but that’s not saying much considering I tied the dog whose entry was filled out with the friggin random button.
This feels good. This feels really, really good. It feels (forewarning, heresy) better than the Red Sox winning last year. It feels way better than the Patriots last couple. Twenty years since they last won it under Larry Brown, Mario Chalmers gave us another chance with a game-tying three from nowhere. I started doing the math just (the middle school years are fuzzy) – I moved to Kansas in the fall of 1988, just after the Jayhawks last won. Two decades, two great coaches, too many chances to lose again. Fan-friggin-tastic.
First, Hondo, 37 of 48
Second, NCAA seeding committee, 35 of 48
Third, as if by zawezome, 34 of 48
Fourth, i’m clueless by sock puppet,33 of 48
Fifth, I apparently can help my dominance by me, 34 of 48
Sixth, ’til Gabriel blows his horn! Jenni, 32 of 48
Seventh, Steve’s Winners, 30 of 48
Eigth, NCAAwhat by kim, 28 of 48 82
Ninth, Gonga Gonga by Shazzbot, 22 of 48
And last & furthermore least, maga boo1793 0 of 48.
I’m losing to a friggin sock puppet even though I picked more due to up-weighting of second round games. We shall see who catches whom when KU & Los Osos de Noticias Malos de UCLA meet up in the final.
If you want to put a bracket in a quasify pool please do! (but, before the Thursday games start.) There’s no cash prize, only shame for those who pick the #2 seed in the south to go all the way. Once you sign up this’ll get you back to your picks.
Judging from fan apparel and a half empty student section the Jayhawk to Eagle ratio at Conte Forum for the Kansas/Boston College game was about 50/50. Tyrese Rice held the game close for about ten minutes before the Jayhawks (particularly an emotional Darnell Jackson) blew it open near the end of the first half. After that we were pretty much cheering for breakaway dunks. In the end the Jayhawks won 85-60, moved to 14-0, and proved they’re not just a football school (mmm, yeah). Next they’ll head on towards the Big 12 conference schedule. All in all a pretty good weekend for the Boston-based Kansas expat community. Here’s a bit of the view from section MM row 16.