Friday, March 21, 2008

Day Two - Cinderella Gets to Jitterbug

It's not that Day One lacked drama. It's just that aside for about one hour of basketball, it didn't quite deliver. Belmont taking Duke to the limit was dramatic, even if it didn't have a happy ending. Day Two had the happy endings. Just because I'm a firm believer in overanalyzing things, let's jump to way to broad conclusions from each upset. The big boys will have their day in a week, but the first weekend is about the little guy.

LESSON ONE: Stephen Curry is awesome.
Actually, we knew that going in. Curry is one of those guys I am openly rooting for just so I can keep watching him play. He is practically automatic from anywhere on the court. Gonzaga got screwed with this draw.

LESSON TWO: The committee hates and despises mid-majors
Gonzaga v. Davidson. Western Kentucky v. Drake. Butler v. South Alabama. Pretty much every mid-major people were excited to see got matched up with another mid-major power. It's like the draw was designed to get rid of the mid-majors as quickly as possible. But first, we got incredible drama from two of those games. Actually, the WKU game kind of sucked until Drake made a spectacular late run to force overtime, build a lead in OT, only to lose it on a desperation three at the buzzer. How would you rather lose?

LESSON THREE: Clemson was overrated.
Not to call out Clemson, but come on. They beat Duke ad suddenly people act like thy are a great team. They were the fifth best ACC team at best for most of the season, only to benefit from Maryland's late season collapse. They win one game against Duke and suddenly they ar a 5-seed and a popular pick to make noise? Why? That was their first real impressive win all season. Really, they weren't that much better than Villanova.

LESSON FOUR: The SEC stinks.
Tennessee struggled with American but put them away late. Mississippi State, admittedly, looked good against Oregon. Arkansas beat the floundering Hoosiers, which just about any team in the field could have done. End of good news. The SEC took it on the chin in round one , as they really weren't all that great in victory and the defeats piled up. Vanderbilt led the way with an absolute thrashing at the hands of Siena, in a game that was never even competitive. They didn't get upset, they got beat.

LESSON FIVE: Tampa rocks.
Four games, four upsets. UConn and Drake went down in the morning. Then Vandy and Clemson at night. Now, I hate the pod system, but this is something that could only happen because of the pods. Four first round games, all resulting in upsets could only happen in a venue with two 4-13 and two 5-12 games.

LESSON SIX: Let's not get too comfy with Cinderella just yet.
OK, 1st round wins are nice, and there's going to be at least two 12 or 13 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen thanks to Tampa, but let's take a quick step back. Before the tourney, I pointed out there isn't a hell of a lot of difference between teams seeded 5 through 12. The gap is really those top three seed lines. Know how many of the teams seeded 1 through 3 lost? That's right, zero. The decimation of the bracket helps the power teams, and we're still on course for the heavyweights to assert their will. The next two days go a long way towards showing whether this is another Year of the Upset, or whether this was just clearing the way for the top seeds.

1 comment:

Richard Pittman said...

Day two was pretty cool, and I even got to see some of it. I don't have high speed internet here at Aimee's parents' house, and I don't have access to my spreadsheets, so i can't go into who is winning. I know Scott's in deep trouble though.

You're doing well. You have 8 players remaining. I have 10 players. Daniel has 11, and he got a gold mind in McClinton. Froberts has 8. Rollie has 9. Scott has 7. Jason's looking studly with 12. Honestly, jason and I have so many players in common right now that it's highly doubtful I an catch him.