sports: March 2006 Archives


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Great post over at Debbie's about the dangers and aftermath of the ever-delicate sports jinx.

In other news, spring cleaning has begun (gradually), the hair is gone, and the Inbox is now down from a little more than 1000 to 162, a number chosen largely in dis/honor of yet another Opening Day spent with both Prior and Wood on the DL. We may shoot for double digits tomorrow, depending on how much time I spend preparing for and holding meetings.

That is all.

Bracket Season

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Also known as the Feast of St. Lunardi, this holiday season is in some ways an unapologetic celebration of MSAS (Male Sports Answer Syndrome), the tendency that we menfolk have to simply make up answers to sports questions for which no true answer exists, just because it has to do with sports.

Case in point: you could put together an all-star team made up of players from the Pac 10, and I wouldn't seed them any higher than 3, much less the 2 that UCLA received. Of course, I haven't actually seen UCLA play, so that opinion is being pulled straight out of thin air.

You will excuse me, I hope, for GLOATING long and loud over the next couple of days. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Syracuse and Iowa each would win their conference tournaments--Iowa had a better shot to do so as a 2 seed. Coincidentally, that's the seed they should have received in the NCAAs. I know, I know, you're thinking that I'm just being a homer, but consider this: all weekend long, there was discussion about whether Ohio State deserved a 1 seed. Iowa beat Ohio State both times they played this year--they beat them in Iowa City, yes, but they also beat them on a neutral floor when OSU still had a shot at a #1. Don't get me wrong--I'm happy with a 3, but they deserve a 2. As do Gonzaga and Florida, in my opinion. In fact, Texas is the only 2 I'm satisfied with. I would have moved up 3 of the 3's, and swapped Boston College and North Carolina (the former having beat the latter at NC, and at Greensboro). I think the committee was a little too tied to conference standings in some cases when assigning seeds within conferences. Especially when you consider that, within super-conferences, all teams don't have the same schedule. Body of work, blah blah blah. What it comes down to for me is ranking the better teams higher; I don't really have an issue with the 1s this year, but everything else feels a little wonky to me.

And I'm big enough to admit that Syracuse got overseeded as well--it's hard for me to imagine, even having witnessed their miracle run through the Big East Tournament that they could have gone from an 11 or 12 (assuming they were even in) to a 5 in less than a week. That's a mighty big leap, and there are at least 2 quality 6 seeds in Michigan State and West Virginia that I would rank ahead of them.

But really, the only thing that clouds my silver lining today is the knowledge that, when Iowa and Syracuse meet, only one of them will be able to advance to the Final Four. You would have thought that the committee could have given my needs a little more direct consideration.

You want your printable brackets? We got your printable brackets.

5 Upset Specials (Pick one)

1. San Diego St over Indiana
2. Pacific over BC (check PU's recent history)
3. Utah St. over Washington (5-12)
4. NC State over California (not that much an upset)
5. Albany over Connecticut (not really. just checking to see if you're still reading)

Two notes from the television coverage yesterday:

Dickie V drove me insane! He had metal buttons on his sleeves, and every time he flailed about (once every .3 seconds), his buttons clinked on the glass top on set. By the end of the show, all I could hear while he was speaking was CLINK (blah blah blah) CLINK (blah blah blah) CLINK.

Jim Nantz and Billy Packer were like little kids when they were talking to Craig Littlepage, this year's Selection Committee chair. When the camera was on them, they were looking down at their sheets, and every question they asked seemed designed to try and get him to admit that he'd made a mistake. At the end of their interview, they cut him off twice as he was trying to congratulate the teams that made it into the field. First, he's chair of a committee of many people, all of whom agreed on the decisions. Second, I think I'd trust decisions made over several days by the selection committee before I'd trust Jim Freaking Nantz's 5-minute-old impressions. I disagree with some of their decisions, but I appreciate the difficulty of making them. Nantz and Packer were downright rude and embarrassed themselves and their network.

Wow, this is a mishmash. But that's all for the moment.

Top of the World

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For a few, sweet hours, the two teams I root for (Syracuse and Iowa) are in the finals of their respective conference tournaments. I'll be rooting for the Orange tonight, of course, but this is definitely a case where I'm just happy they made it.

For those of you looking for a complete dark horse in the NCAAs, look no further than the Hawkeyes. They just held Michigan State to nearly 30 points below their season average, and while the game wasn't pretty, it was a good sign. The Hawks have loads of senior leadership, good guard play, and great team defense. I don't see them running with the big dogs like Duke and UConn, but they can definitely play with the next tier of teams, and with the right bracket, are more of a threat to go to the Final Four than most of the country realizes. In fact, it's going to be tough for me to ignore my heart when the brackets come out in a few days.

In the meantime, though, I don't have to. Go Orange and go Hawks!

Bombin and Dancin

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I'm not sure which was the bigger bomb today, the three-point runner (!) that Gerry McNamara dropped on Cincinnati today to give SU a 1-point win in the first round of the Big East tournament (ESPN), or the F (among others) bomb dropped by Jim Boeheim at the post-game press conference.

Boeheim responded angrily to local coverage suggesting that G-Mac was overrated, an opinion apparently offered anonymously by one of the Orange assistant coaches. Boeheim's response, which I think was dead-on, was that Syracuse couldn't have won 10 games (that's 10 effing games) without McNamara and that he was the reason they were even in NYC this week to play in the Big East Tournament.

I'm not sure that this will be enough to get SU into the NCAA Tournament, but I'm tempted to say that it should, homer that I am. They've managed a 20-win season despite a top-10 Strength of Schedule, and they beat Cincy (which has been on a lot of boards) on a neutral floor. I can't imagine that they'll beat UConn tomorrow, but if they manage to show up okay, I think they're in. By the skin of their teeth, but in all the same...

Update: The failure of my imagination wasn't quite as egregious as was Becky's, apparently. Syracuse just beat the top-ranked team in the country on a neutral floor, and locked up for themselves a spot in the NCAA's. And one day after winning the Cincy game on a 3-pointer, G-Mac hit a 3-pointer against UConn in the closing seconds to tie the game and send it into overtime. Take that.



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This page is a archive of entries in the sports category from March 2006.

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