March 18, 2011

Random Tourney Thoughts: Legos, Lebron, Brackets, and Picks

The 2011 NCAA Tournament is underway and it has already been pretty wild.  This weekend promises to be even better.  After the first full day of basketball, CDTF is here on this gorgeous Friday morning to discuss some random thoughts and entertaining tourney links:

Famous March Madness moments reenacted by Legos = Awesome. 

What more can you want other than little Lego versions of Christian Laettner, Chris Webber, Tyrus Edney, and Gordon Hayward, reliving some of the greatest moments in NCAA basketball history?

Duke, clearly the most important team in history, makes the list twice – “The Shot” versus Kentucky and last year’s title game against Butler.  From Zoubek’s missed free throw to Hayward’s missed heave, the Butler clip cracks me up, because the detail is astounding. They even have the ridiculous pick against Kyle Singler, who is then shown pumping his fist against the ground as Duke won.  A+, Tauntr people.  Too funny. 
Lebron has trouble making another “decision.” 

Earlier this week, Lebron James told the media that he was picking his home-state Buckeyes to win the tournament.  I immediately thought that this was a lame PR move to garner points at home, where he is now despised. Less than two days later, he released his bracket on his website.  Who does he have winning it all? Duke.  It is like Lebron’s mouth purposely wants to piss people off, rebelling against his brain, which is not smart enough to stop the mouth mutiny.  He explained that Duke has the experience and talent to win the title.  He also said that he “wanted Ohio State to win, I like Kentucky’s chances, and I want Akron to win but we’ll see.”  So then, logically, he picked Duke. I do not know if he simply wants the people of Ohio to hate him forever, or if he is just confused.  All I know is that he has confused me.  Also? I may rename the blog, Chicks Do Not Dig Lebron.

The first First Four should be the last.

A “first” anything should be memorable, and this was anything but – it was irrelevant, unnecessary, and forgettable.  We did not need 65 teams this year, let alone 68 (but we did need Virginia Tech and Harvard, so I mean, that still makes me sad).  The First Four seemed like nothing more than two rando nights of exhibition games (and a way for the NCAA to make more money).  It was a “showcase” event that showcased some of the worst teams.  And it seemed like a bad opening act to the headliner.  Good for VCU and everything, way to represent for all the mid-majors out there, but like? The team they beat, USC, was only 19-14 to begin with, and it is questionable whether they had any business being in the tournament.  So good luck with Georgetown.  NCAA, you cannot package this product as a new “first” round and then sell us sloppy, mediocre basketball.  We don’t buy it. And how are we supposed to take any game seriously when it is being aired on truTV? I mean, really – truTV? I go there for my Amy Fisher fix or that teacher who fucked her student and had his baby in jail….god, what is her name? Mary Kay Letourneau. I go there for sluts and scandals. Not basketball and buzzer beaters.
Busted Brackets.  

Speaking of which, there were four buzzer beaters in the first five games yesterday. Which wreaked havoc on my bracket nice and early. I am participating in three bracket challenges – one on CBS with the Duke Club of New York, one on ESPN with my pals at Seth Curry Saves Duke!, and one on Yahoo with my buddy Patrick, also known as the Fabulous Penguin and author of a great blog. The one that I am taking most seriously is my SCSD bracket, because we are in a group competition against a few other Duke-related websites for total internet domination and Blue Devil pride.  Here is my SCSD bracket:

As yesterday afternoon wore on, I started to get a sinking feeling that I played my brackets much, much too safely.  Out of my sweet-sixteen picks, only two are seeded higher than four: Georgetown (#6) and Washington (#7). And I only picked Washington because I hate UNC and hope they lose as soon as possible.  The “upset” picks that I pegged in the first round – like Clemson and MSU – failed.  And my arguably solid picks – like Louisville and St. John’s – also failed.  My bracket, especially the Southwest region, is already busted.  That said, as long as Duke remains in the end, I don’t care how many other games I miss.  But, right now, the only region on my bracket that is perfect going into today is the West – which scares the hell out of me.

Somewhat interesting expert and celebrity picks.

I watched the Mormons beat the unpronounceable Wofford Boston Terriers last night – with a mascot like that, you sort of have to expect to get beaten by sister wives – and Charles Barkley said that he is personally rooting against every single Big East team in the tourney.  I heart him, he is so entertaining.  I also love that TNT must employ a person that just sits anxiously at the "bleep" button whenever he speaks. In other news, John McCain, George Lopez, and Conan have all picked Duke as the champion for Sports Illustrated; at the same time, none of SI’s actual experts have picked Duke. So that is, of course, awesome.  Speaking of experts, two of three over at ESPN picked Louisville as their “sleeper.”  Um…the World Wide Leader strikes again. But then again, I had Pitino and his philandering willy as well. The point is, we can obviously rely on no one this year for advice.  We are alone in the wilderness that is March Madness. 

CDTF Regional Roadmap.

The Southeast is like the junior varsity region in 2011.  I do not know who on the selection committee Pittsburgh officials gave head to, but it clearly worked.  They have Florida (a weak #2 seed), the Mormons who lost the dude who banged his girlfriend at #3, the ridiculously inconsistent Wisconsin as their #4 seed, Kansas State who was not a lock for the tournament two months ago, and St. John’s who already lost. 

And the Southwest is not that much harder of a bracket.  Sure, they have Kansas and Notre Dame, who arguably could have been a #1 seed.  But Purdue is not an overwhelming #3 seed, and Louisville (#4) and Vandy (#5) both lost yesterday.  So Kansas pretty much has an open path to the Final Four, and only themselves to blame if they come up short. 

The West, however, is certainly not a cakewalk.  No one can accuse Duke of having an easy road to the Final Four this year.  We have to deal with San Diego State, the Mountain West champion – they are basically playing at home until the Final Four.  We have the winner of the monstrous Big East, Connecticut with stud Kemba Walker.  If there is one player who scares me in the West, one player who can carry his whole team, it is Kemba.  We also have Texas (a ridiculously underrated #4 seed), Arizona, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Each team was ranked in the top 10 at some point during the season.
Still, it seems that the East is even harder.  It has Ohio State, the Big Ten tourney champs; Kentucky, the SEC tourney champs; Washington, the Pac-10 tourney champs; UNC, the ACC regular season champs; Xavier, the Atlantic 10 regular season champs; and George Mason, the Colonial champs.  Throw in a Syracuse and a West Virginia, and the East is pretty much stacked. Suck it, Roy Williams. 

So yay for Friday and for a weekend full of incredible basketball, shocking buzzer beaters, men crying on the sidelines, ugly cheerleaders, Charles Barkley, and a whole lot of busted brackets.  I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.

(Come back in a little while for a Duke-Hampton preview!)

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