Friday, March 21, 2008

NCAA Tourney - Day One

I hate Duke.  I hate them hate them them.  There probably is not a single team in all of sports that I dislike more than I dislike the Duke basketball team.  Maybe the New York Yankees.  Well, probably the New York Yankees, but other than them, I hate Duke more than anyone.  My hatred of them increased just a little last night.  

Belmont had them beat until they played a truly horrific final 30 seconds of the game to give the game away to Duke.  With the ball and a one point lead, they failed to get off a good shot because they dithered around for too long before starting the offense.  Then, Gerald Henderson of Duke (their only good offensive player on the day) got the ball and Belmont decided not to play any defense against him, allowing him to score the go-ahead basket on an easy layup.
Belmont got the ball back, got off another bad shot, but managed to get a tie ball on the rebound giving themselves the ball back, down by one with four seconds to play.  On the inbounds play off of a timeout, apparently someone on the floor didn't know the play, because the inbounds man threw up a lob and no one was there to get it.  It was not obvious who was the intended recipient of the pass.  Duke gave them one last chance by failing to hit a free throw, but the desperation heave at the end didn't fall.

Duke escapes and moves on, free to piss me off again another day.

Not a lot of surprises in the first day.  Right now, it's looking like mostly chalk.  The one substantial exception (9-seed beating 8-seed does not count) is K-State's victory over USC. Those of you who had Michael Beasley (23 points, advancing) on your team had a good night.  Those of us who picked an 11-seed other than K-state lose out, as Kentucky and Baylor both bowed out of the tournament.

Those of you who had Dionte Christmas (3 points, eliminated) and/or Michael Jenkins (2 points, eliminated) had a bad night.  Those of you who had all three of those had a mixed night.  Rollie Fingers made a great call and picked up Josh Akognon off of 14-seed Cal St. Fullerton.  He lost out, but scored 31 in the process.

I did alright.  I'm behind the leaders, but I'm still in it.  I probably need to get some upsets to go my way though, or I'll probably end up substantially behind the leaders.  Go San Diego and Western Kentucky and Arkansas and Mississippi State!

No one had a worse day than Scott, in my opinion.  He had Christmas and Jenkins, scoring a total of 5 points before exiting.  He had his 1-seed player play and only got 5 points out of it.  Only the pick of Michael Beasley relieved some of the horror, but now Beasley has to go against his pick for #3, so one or the other of those guys is getting eliminated Saturday, meaning that in order to get additional benefit from his 11-seed pick, he has to get his 3-seed pick eliminated.

I won't reveal the points or standings quite yet, because they only really matter at the end of a total round.  Not everyone has had the same number of players play.  Poseur, Rollie, and Scott have had 9 players play so far, while Jason has only had 6 players play.  Jason's behind those guys, but obviously he is likely to catch up.  

Actually, Jason is in really solid position right now.  His 3- through 7-seeds have all played, and he has escaped the big upset, except for K-state over USC, which bit everybody and doesn't hurt Jason because he has Beasley as well.  Moreover, Beasley is the only one of his lower-seeded players to have played already, meaning Jason has a lot of opportunity to gain from some upsets.  If I had to pick one player in really good shape, it would be Jason, but a lot of people are in decent shape and can catch up with a little luck.  As for me, however, most of the things that could happen to help me also would help Jason.  I need to root for American to take down Tennessee, which seems like just about as unlikely as a 16-seed beating a 1-seed.

You probably won't get a detailed breakdown from me tomorrow morning, as I will be unavoidably traveling this evening and will be away from home tomorrow to attend a funeral in my wife's family.  If anyone else is actually keeping up with the scoring, feel free to post the points and standings tomorrow morning.  Otherwise, I will take care of it when I get a chance.

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