Despite the ridiculous number of upsets Friday, I went 22-11 in the 1st round plus play-in and better yet, the only unpredicted loss that really hurts the next couple of rounds is Clemson (dang it!) as I had them losing to Georgetown in the regional finals.
All the upsets are exciting to watch, but I think they must hurt CBS in the long run. Having one or two surprise teams advance is great and makes people want to see the next game, but having 12th seeds playing 13th seeds is not going to draw fans. I can't imagine lots more folks wanting to watch San Diego play Western Kentucky than would have tuned in to watch UConn and I don't think Villanova/Siena is going to do as well as a Clemson/Vanderbilt matchup. It's all up to the teams, but I look for the ratings to be down this weekend and would not be surprised to see CBS having a little chat with the NCAA reps before next season.
I didn't sit down and watch the UNC game as I absolutely hate 1 vs. 16 games when my team is in them. If you lose, you never live it down. If you win by a bunch, you might get cocky and stumble in the next one. If the game is close, it gives the 8-9 winner a lot of confidence that they can get you. Probably the best outcome is a game that is close in the first half and blown wide open right after half-time. You hope in that case the team gets a little humility but also a lot of confidence. Yes, I know, I do overthink this stuff...
Sure, there were a lot of upsets, but all of the 1, 2 and 3 seeds advanced and 2 of the 4s, so it'l be interesting to see if after this weekend things are back to the power teams in the Sweet 16.
Congratulations to Lex's Davidson Wildcats on their 1st round upset of the 'Zags behind Stephen Curry's 40 points (8-11 from behind the arc). But I'm afraid I've got them going out to Georgetown Sunday...
I'm going to have a hard time voting for anyone pandering to the crowd and trying to overturn the decision by the military to award the air refueling tanker contract to EADS instead of Boeing (yes, Northrup Grumman is partnering with EADS but it's clear who is senior). The procurement process appears to have followed all of the guidelines established by the same Congress that is now crying foul and despite whining to the contrary by the Boeing spokespeople, it looks as if EADS won hands down on the merits. Hey, you all keep saying we want government run more like a business, so why wouldn't we buy from the contractor that promises to be cheaper, faster and better? Any of the Congresscritters that come out bitching about this (and there are already a fair number) better read their own damn rules about procurement.
Round One Kansas over Portland State UNLV over Kent State Clemson over 'Nova Vandy over Siena
USC over Kansas State ("Beasley can't hold the Mayo" - how many times are you going to read THAT joke in the next few days?) Wisconsin over Cal St. Fullerton Davidson over the Zags GTown over nearby UMBC in a rout
Round Two Kansas over UNLV (I'm worried about this one - this is where I usually expect the Jayhawk collapse) Clemson over Vandy (one of the best second round games on the schedule) USC over Wisconsin GTown over Davidson in a squeaker (sorry, Lex!)
Regional Semis Clemson over Kansas (HERE's where the chicken chokes) GTown over USC
Regional Finals GTown over Clemson - Hibbert too much for Booker and May
As is probably obvious by now, I took Friday off and went up to Dad's to watch basketball, drink beer, repeat as needed. Also managed to help both 'rents with some stuff around their respective homesteads between games and such. Needless to say I was thrilled with the outcome of the tournament but I'll admit to sharing a bit of the team's low-key approach - it reminds me a bit of the 1982 team leaving the nets up after winning the East Regional to return to the Final Four for the second straight year. They'd won a regional the year before - they were ready for the NEXT challenge. That's how this team feels to me.
As players, these guys don't have that much in common with the Worthy, Perkins, Jordan team of '82 - very different styles, depth, etc. But in terms of team attitude, I can see some similarities. The '82 team was never ranked below number 2 during the year, losing only to Wake Forest in Carmichael and the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia in Charlottesville. I think this year's model was never ranked below around 8th and has only lost twice - to Maryland and to Duke, both in the Dean Dome. They both made it through a hard-fought ACC Tournament, but of course you can't compare this year's running team with the 82 ACC final which was pretty much solely responsible for the advent of the shot clock in college basketball (and yes I still blame Terry Holland for that for not having his guys come out and chase Jimmy Black).
I actually see a lot of similarities between this team and 2005, with the leadership and speed down the court of Lawson/Felton, the domination inside of Hansbrough/May, the outside gunnery of Ellington/McCants, the sixth man skills of Green/Williams, the heroics of an otherwise unsung senior (Thomas/Scott) and the defensive pressure of Ginyard/Manuel. Here's hoping for a similar outcome this year - the smart pick seems to be UNC vs. UCLA or UNC vs. Texas in the final and so far, everyone I've heard has picked UNC. I know those sure things often lose, but I think we've got a pretty good chance to make it this year.
Photo: Clouds piling up over the Black Mountain range (photo taken looking over the Mt. Mitchell Golf Course).
It was nice to actually see water in the creek at Dad's - the last couple of times I've been up there, there's been barely a trickle. You really get used to hearing it while you're there and miss it when it's gone.
Rocky makes his escape after raiding Dad's birdfeeder - a nightly occurrence. The feeder hangs from a line attached to the porchswing frame on the deck and to a tree a few feet out (the deck is a good 15-20 feet off the ground). He's actually had bears do the same thing before (you hear an awful squeal as the weight of a black bear on the wire pulls the swing frame across the deck). This guy is probably one of the ones Dad was hand-feeding out the back door a few years ago until the rabies problems hit his county. Needless to say he doesn't do that anymore, but this guy seemed to expect a hand out.