Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday's March Madness Thread

For Andy, Sacamano, and anyone else who wishes to comment on and discuss the action of the day.

First, some comments on yesterday's games:

• How about the escape jobs by the Tennessee Volunteers and Indiana last night?

Good thing the Hoosiers pulled out the win, otherwise what was already a bad night for Matt would have gotten a lot worse.

• Poor Gerry McNamara. There wasn't a more inopportune time to have the worst game of his career. Okay, maybe the 2003 Championship Game, but this was still a pretty rough break.

• Has someone ever studied the phenomenon of the #12 seeds knocking off the #5 seeds? Every year, at least one #12 wins, and yesterday, two of the three #12 seeds in action won their games.

Is there really that much parity between what are theoretically the 20th-24th best teams and the 45th-48th best teams in the country? Why aren't there more 13 and 14 seeds winning? Is there a significant dropoff between the top 19 teams and the subsequent best teams, and a similar dropoff between the Top 48 teams and the subsequent tournament teams that makes these games so much less likely to be contested, or to end up with the underdog winning?

I have to think that a large part of this phenomenon, at least in recent years, is psychological. Because of the history of 12 seeds winning in the first round, it gives teams a confidence boost going into the matchup, and puts an undue pressure on the #5 seeds to perform.

Would Montana have had the confidence to be as aggressive against Nevada yesterday if they were a 13 or 14 seed instead? It's something worth thinking about.

• I think it's clear that Gonzaga will go as far as Adam Morrison can carry them.

What to Watch for Today

• Can Kent State knock off Pittsburgh and continue the stellar year for the #12 seeds? I have them winning, so I hope so. Also, will it ever become appropriate to make jokes about the shooting ability of Kent State players?

• Can any of the lower seeds pull an upset, or give the top teams a run for their money? I'm rooting for Penn to knock off Texas, but I'm not holding my breath. Bradley is a sleeper, though. I think they'll give Kansas a run for their money, but come up short against the eventual regional champs.

• Villanova should win easily against Monmouth, but it's worth watching how Allan Ray's eye injury affects him.

• Will it ever stop being fun to say the name 'Pittsnogle'?

• How long before the excitement of March Madness forces me to cave and order this video game?

• Not only is this the second day of March Madness, but it's also St. Patrick's Day. Is there a greater possible convergence of two events that would create the best drinking day of the year? I think not, but feel free to disagree.

Enjoy the games, the drinking, and comment away!


At 10:34 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

I actually have a theory on the 12-5 phenomenon. I think it has something to do with the fact that large conferences get more respect than small ones.

More specifically, for whatever reason, 12 seeds are often conference champions from some of the smaller divisions, while 5 seeds are often middling teams from big conferences.

A winner is a winner, and conference champions -- no matter how small the conference -- are bound to have the right mindset, maturity, ability, etc. In contrast, those midling teams from big conferences simply don't have it.

For whatever reason, conference champions from small divisions never get seeded below 12 (at least this is my hypothesis having done zero research into the issue), while 5 seeds are never top 2/3 teams from any of the larger conferences.

Once you get into the 4 vs 13, 3 vs 14, you start getting losers from small conferences vs top 3 teams from big conferences -- and that is a whole different animal.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

Have you guys seen that you can get free online streaming of the games?

At 11:05 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

Damn I wish I'd done more research for my bracket this year. I see that Northwestern St. vs Iowa fits my upset pattern perfectly (small conference champion vs big conference 3rd place.

I still think Iowa pulls it out, but it wouldn't suprise me to see them get bounced.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Alex said...

That's a plausible theory, and at least 2 of the 4 #5 seeds (Syracuse, Pittsburgh) in this year's field fit the bill. I still don't find there to be a huge difference between the 4/5 seeds, and 12/13 seeds, though. Often, you'll find 3 seeds who are clearly better than the 4s and 5s, but most teams in that range are interchangeable.

I haven't tried the streaming video, mostly because I hear the wait time (for non-VIP members) is insane. Also, I have to commend Sportsnet for doing a great job of juggling between the games and making sure we catch all the important action.

Now, if only they could work on their studio analyst and his exagerrated hand gestures. They're so...distracting.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Ahhhhhrrrgh! As predicted, my theory holds water again -- Iowa loses.


At 1:07 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Fucking Iowa. At least we all picked them to win.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Alex said...

How on earth did Northwestern State come back? I didn't even notice that they were in it until the final possession.

Sac, how much were you sweating in the first half of that OSU-Davidson game?

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

A neat little story, courtesy of Avi. I think Matt in particular will like this.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Not nearly as much as Matt was during both the BC game and the Gonzaga game.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Minneapolis is killing me. Georgetown gets a win? Puh-leeze.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Is it too early to point out that I am kicking your asses?

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Given that you're tied with Andy in our pool, and a mere one point ahead of me, I'd say yes.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

No way, dude. It just hasn't been updated yet. I'm kicking your asses.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Aww crap. It HAS been updated and I AM tied with that joker. Brutal.

Let the record show, however, that his top end is only 183, while mine is 187.

I'm kicking your asses.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Alex said...

How much do I hate Michigan State? Figures that the one year I pick them to go deep is the one year they get bounced early. Ugh.

I'll happily let my bracket get completely destroyed if it means Albany upsets UConn, though. Unfortunately, the Great Danes have run out of gas with about 8 minutes to go.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

No doubt. I've decided that Michigan St. is now in my "completely unreliable" catagory, along with Syracuse (who made the category last year) and the entire Pac-10 (although UCLA is really looking tough this year).

Izzo is so over-rated.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Fucking Michigan State. God damn it.

Keep talking Sac. Keep talking. There are about five people who have the generator predicting over 180 points. It is still wide open.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Yeah, I know. I figured I better get my licks in now, because I'm no longer very confident in IU or Kansas, never mind Ohio St.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Kansas lost. So I'm down 1 final four team, and another elite eight team. Time for me to wave the white flag here. Ugh.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

From Sacamano. Apprently the comments weren't working earlier.

"Damnit, why aren't they showing the Kansas game? It's killing me watching that tiny scoreboard at the top of the screen. Brutal. Under a minute left, a three point game, and they're sticking with the Kentucky game? I'm going to throw my remote through the tv.

Ahhh, finally. NOOOOOOO! One of my final four teams gonzo. Brutal.

It looks like Fenwick is going to be a happy man. WTF are they doing losing to Bradley? Who picks Bradley? What were they, 6th in their own conference? Come on.

I have a new conspiracy theory. There was much talk about how this year's selection committe put less emphasis on the normal stats (RPI, strength
of schedule, last 10 games, etc.) and went more on "gut-feelings" etc. - how else do you explain Syracuse getting a 5 seed?

I think they did this on purpose so that there would be more "upsets".

The last few years people were talking about how the opening weekend was more boring than it used to be because of the lack of upsets. In short, the selection committee was getting too good at seeding and so they wanted to dumb them down a bit.

And you know what? I don't mind it. Upsets - artificial or not - are what makes this tourney so great.

But still, losing Kansas this early ..."

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Tonight killed us. Fenwick, Muhly and Cosh are now ahead in terms of potential points. God damn Kansas. Why did I ever go with a school Danny Manning attended?

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Sacamano's conspiracy theories make a lot of sense. If only he had been born 40 years earlier, the Warren Commission would have gotten to the bottom of things in about 2 weeks.

On the one hand, I enjoy the upsets, but on the other hand, having my bracket ruined 36 hours into the tournament takes a lot of the fun out of it.


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