Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh Dance #2

I heard on the radio on the way to work this afternoon that the last time Davidson won a game in the NCAAs was 1969, when they beat St. John’s in Raleigh, North Carolina. Davidson College is located near Charlotte, North Carolina, and they won another tournament game today, knocking off 7th-seeded Gonzaga in - wait for it - Raleigh, North Carolina. It was one of two games in which I used the fake home court advantage theory to pick the winner. (The other was the Butler-South Alabama game, which I missed.)

Usually by Friday night my bracket is a wreck, with lots of blue going into the Sweet Sixteen and the Great Eight. I use a red pen to circle correct picks and a blue pen to circle incorrect picks on the penciled-in bracket - and when I have an incorrect pick that automatically makes a future pick incorrect, such as my pick of Connecticut going to the Sweet Sixteen this year, I go ahead and circle the automatically incorrect pick in blue - thus blue circles advancing farther into the bracket than games that have actually been played. Unusually, however, I have only one of those this year - the aforementioned Uconn Sweet Sixteen pick.

I mentioned in my first tourney post that I did not think that a 3 had gone out in the first round very often in the last 14 years, and I was right (sort of). It has happened six times, including twice in the 1995 tournament. The most recent occurrence was two short years ago, when Northwestern State knocked off Iowa. All of the three seeds survived the first round of this year’s tournament. The highest seeds to go out in the first round this year were two 4 seeds - Connecticut and Vanderbilt.

The Indiana game, of course, was aggravating - the only team from Indiana to lose in the first round, and the only team from the Big Ten to lose in the first round. Will anyone with any influence on his life bother to tell Eric Gordon that he desperately needs one more year of college in order to prove that he can play in the Bone Thugs Association? Not that I would blame him for wanting to leave Indiana, though - the Hoosiers are a long way from getting right, even if they are young. The two best players are gone, along with the lion’s share of the scoring - and there’s a search already on for the new head coach.

That was nice of Indiana - announce a head coach search party just as your team is getting ready for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. That had to make interim head coach Dan Dakich feel good - what amounts to a vote of no confidence going into the home stretch of what had started out like a monster season and wound up being an unequivocal disaster.

Speaking of the Big Ten...anybody else besides me thinking there might just be a bracket buster - or at least a minor one - looming on Saturday? If I’m an Xavier player, I don’t know that I’m all that excited to be meeting Purdue in the second round. I also would not be surprised to see Butler put the fear of Darwin into Tennessee on Sunday. American played Tennessee close for awhile there, and Butler was solidly in control of South Alabama in a hostile environment.

Any converts to my theory that Villanova might be the best 12 ever? I know, I know...not yet, right? Clemson wasn’t exactly the best 5 that ever went dancing, rising to that 5 with a great run in the ACC tournament and a surprising win over Duke and an almost-upset against North Carolina in the title game. If they knock off a spirited Siena team on Sunday, the Sweet Sixteen game - likely against Kansas - will be the real test.


Godfather Weilhammer said...

Have to agree with you on the coach search party at IU. If it was at all possible to deflate Dakich's future and take the team more off-course than it already was, they found the way. I could pray for an Izzo or even the coach from Memphis. Good post there, John-O.

Last King of SCOOTland said...

I think the guy they are really looking at is Scott Skiles. An Indiana HS legend who just happens to currently reside in Bloomington. As for Dakich, I agree they pretty much ended his tenure before the tourney, but I don't think he had a real shot. They got burned once by letting a guy that wasn't ready get a big deal with a long tourney run when they gave Davis the extension. I don't think they wanted to do that again (not that Dakich is as bad as Davis). I think they are looking for a fresh start. I think Dakich will stay on as an assistant or somewhere in the athletic dept. though.

As for Davidson, John-O you'll appreciate this, I actually managed Stephen Curry at AMC in Charoltte. He is, obviously, every bit the shooter his dad was. Unfort, I think Wisconsin is too big for Davidson and even if they got past them, that juggernaut in baby blue would be waiting for them, but what a great story.

Oh, and my brackets are that special kind of fucked that you so perfectly described. I use a red X to signify incorrect picks and there are quite a few next to Pitt, all the way to the title game.