Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day Three - Duke Loses And It Is Awesome, Baby

Only one upset yesterday, but it was the one that gives me the warm fuzzies: Duke losing. Pittman has already said how much he hates Duke, and I agree with everything he said. Just add the bitterness of growing up in Maryland and roting for the Terps and that's how much I hate the Dookies. hope they lose every damn game. And it was beautiful to see them not only lose, but to lose to a Duke-clone in West Virginia. Even better, one coached by unrepentant scumbag, Bob Huggins. It made my day. It was also the only real upset of the day, so it gets to be one of the central stories. Thank you, Duke.

There were two other big stories: the struggles of the Pac-10 powers only to result in a perfect 3-0 day and the collapse of the vogue sleeper teams.

Say what you will about the Pac-10, but they can ball. Is UCLA the luckiest team n earth? Did they get a gift of a draw? Did they still struggle with a fairly mediocre A&M team? Yes on all counts. But they just keep winning. Really, there comes a point where they start believing they are team of destiny, because this team has benefited from more bad calls and lucky bounces than, well, the average Duke team. Hell, I'm not picking against them until someone surgically removes the horseshoe from their collective ass. Stanford also needed a late shot to win, and frankly, they were outplayed all game. Marquette was the better team, only to get beat in OT by Brook Lopez. It sucks, but it happens. Marquette can commiserate with Belmont about outplaying a team but still losing.

But what about Wazzu? The least heralded of the Pac-10 leaders, their 4-seed was widely regarded as a mistake. Washington St doesn't have the athletes, and they don't play a real fun style to watch. They are like the Wisconsin of the west (another team which won with ease - defense rules in the tourney because defense never goes cold). And they didn't just win, they absolutely crushed Notre Dame, one of the popular teams to make a deep run. Honestly, Washington St would be a horrible draw for UNC because of their half-court pace and tough defense. That's if UNC gets past Arkansas.

The other team of ultimate hype was Pittsburgh. They will watch the rest of the tourney on TV because, well, never bet against Tom Izzo in March. The good Drew Neitzel showed up, and when he does, they are simply a much better team than Pitt. So, once again, the Panthers make the Big East final and then bomb out of the Big Dance. Seriously, people. Stop buying into the hype. Pittsburgh does this every year it seems. A hot conference tourney has no correlation to success in the real tourney. Pitt is my poster child for this theory, but it really applies to any team that is seeded 4 or lower and is coming of a good tourney run. This year, that included Clemson, Pitt, Georgia, and Arkansas. Be skeptical of good but not great games who re being told they are great. They rarely are.

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