March Madness 2017 - Duke It Out
It's mad, mad, mad, mad bsketball world
But it is very exciting for basketball fans. Particularly if you are into doing brackets and/or partying. Super Bowl parties are better, but somebody has to be second. And so it will be in the tournaments. Nobody is usually very happy except the teams that will it all or the fans that get drunk, very drunk.
UConn going for its fifth straight championship, is 32-0 this season, and has a 107-game winning streak. I don’t see much changing. UConn will likely roll to the title, again. UConn has already beaten all the other no. 1 seeds this season (Baylor 72-61 on Nov. 17), (Notre Dame 72-61 on Dec. 7), (South Carolina 66-55 on Feb. 13). UConn also defeated Maryland (87-81 on Dec 29), which is among the top competition and a possible foe in the semifinals.
Overall, Notre Dame and Baylor, both with excellent players and coaches, have a realistic shot to unseat the champs. I would have given South Carolina the best chance, but they lost one of their best players. Duke is my sleeper and Texas, no. 3 seed in the Lexington region, is my Cinderella. They are playing their first game at home in Austin, where I am living at the moment. Texas (23-8) plays Central Arkansas on Friday afternoon at the Erwin Center.
UConn doesn’t have a deep team. Injuries and/or foul trouble could be a factor. But if Katie Lou Samuelson is shooting “lights out” like she did in the AAC Championship game (10-10 3-pointers), I think the rest of the lady hoopsters will go home and cry in their beer. The Final Four is at American Airlines Center in Dallas March 31 to April 2. I might be there.
The Men - East Region
Defending champion Villanova is in this region as is Duke. I don’t think Villanova will repeat. Their point guard from last year’s team (Ryan Arcidiacono – remember trying to say that name last year?) is playing minor league baseball for a team in Austin. I like Duke to win this region and the championship. Duke got hot at the end of the year and they beat North Carolina 93-83 on March 10 in the semifinals and Notre Dame 75-69 on March 11in the finals of the ACC tournament. I’m looking for Duke’s Grayson Allen to have a big tournament. He needs to, after his problems during the regular season that got him suspended. How those Duke freshman play will also be telling. And Duke’s Coach K is the best in the game.
The Men - West Region
I like Gonzaga over Notre Dame and Arizona over Florida State in the Round of 8 with Gonzaga prevailing and going on to meet Duke in the national semifinals. The Zags have those two 7-foot centers, Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins. Watch those two stuff South Dakota State’s Mike Daum in the Zag’s first game tomorrow. Daum is averaging 25.3 points a game.
The Men - Midwest Region
I like Kansas to roll to the Final Four against UCLA. Kansas has a distraction, star freshman player Josh Jackson. He was suspended for the conference tournament, but Coach Self has said he will play in the NCAA tournament. Jackson recently hit a parked car and left the scene and he was involved in an incident with a female player whereby he kicked the crap out of her car, causing significant damage. I hope he is insured with State Farm and has accident forgiveness. No wait that wouldn’t be covered under his insurance – intentional damage.
The Men - South Region
My pick here is UCLA, although with a much tougher battle to the Final Four than in the other regions. They have to get past North Carolina, among others. Even UCLA’s first game should be interesting. They go up against Kent State and 6-8 Jimmy Hall who averages a double-double with 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. I love the way UCLA and their fantastic freshman play. They are no. 1 in the country in offensive rating, points per game, field goal percentage, and total assists. The Bruins whip the ball around the court and have shooters and an excellent coach, Steve Alford.
What happens in Vegas
So I have Duke beating Gonzaga and UCLA beating Kansas in the Final Four, and Duke winning it all, like they did two years ago. I’ll take Grayson Allen and Katie Lou Samuelson as Most Valuable Players. Wynn Las Vegas and Westgate Superbook have North Carolina as the winner and MGM Resorts has Kansas. It’s estimated by the American Gaming Association that $10.4 billion dollars will be bet on the tournament.
So who are you betting on? Steph Curry picked Duke. Why isn’t the president doing a bracket? Obama always did one. Quick, somebody leak Trump’s bracket.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for me?