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Recapping the First Weekend and New and Improved Predictions
Ok, the first weekend is over, and what a wild, wild, weekend it was. Oh and the NCAA tournament was pretty crazy too! We can skip over UMBC and Loyola Chicago because if you haven't heard about them, well then your not reading this. Its weird to say your not reading this because if your not reading it, then why would I even need to say your not reading it, so you must be reading it, but you can't be if you didn't know about the upsets. Mind-F. So lets talk about some other talking points from the first weekend and what I think will happen going forward. Side note, I clearly don't know whats going to happen going forward as you can see by my last blog. But sooner or later I have to get a pick right?
Bracket busted. This bracket is a joke. And oh everyone loves upsets and its so great that we saw all these small teams take out the big boys. No its not. Now we have Loyola Chicago vs Nevada in a game no one wants to watch. If this game was on ESPN a month ago, you wouldn't watch. Thats a fact. And then Kentucky vs Kansas State. I still hate Kansas State but somehow everything fell into place for this below average team to still be here. And then there is Kentucky. The contract that Calipari signed with the devil 20 years ago is really paying off for him. But hey devil, try not to make it so obvious that you guys are in cahoots. I mean come on. I really think Loyola Chicago beats Nevada who have been so unimpressive. I mean they were blown out in both games and then the other teams choked so bad they came back and won. Now your counter is well Loyola Chicago hit two buzzer beaters to win two games and that is true. But they had to get to the position to make those buzzer beaters which means playing those teams tight the whole game. Inevitably, I think Kentucky emerges and makes the Final Four.
Finally the West region plays in the West region as games are in Los Angeles. If Gonzaga makes the Final Four I will be sad. Why? Because they don't deserve it. First game against UNCG they were down 2 with 1:30 to go, score, get a stop, then their freshman guard, doesn't run the play and just fires a three and makes it. How do I know he didn't run the play? Well, one of the bigs ran over to set a ball screen for him, and instead of using the ball screen, he just rose up and fired. I think if he misses that shot, Mark Few is throwing his hands up in the air asking him why he didn't look to attack and make a play as they had drawn it up. But it went in and Gonzaga survived. Then Gonzaga played Ohio State and I might be mistaken but I believe that game was like 15-0 or something close to that. 24-4 maybe. Anyway, Gonzaga starts falling apart, and actually gave up the lead late in that game and easily could have lost. But they didn't and they survive. And who do they play? A team not dissimilar to Kansas St. A rich man's Kansas St. but again a team that usually gets killed by disciplined teams and just tries to bully them off the floor. Florida State was definitely the beneficiary of some horrible officiating and a horrific charge call that basically won the game for them against Xavier. The guy was clearly still sliding sideways, didn't take the charge square on, and still got the call. And while we are here, lets talk officiating. Watch games when a team is down double figures especially over 20. The team behind will get every call, every benefit of the doubt to come back in the game. Why? Because its entertainment. Everyone turns off the West Virginia game when they are up 30, but when Nevada and Florida State start making runs, more people turn those games on to see an epic comeback. And the refs feed into that. There is no doubt. Rewatch the second half of Auburn and Clemson. Auburn must have gotten 5 or 6 And-1's in the second half when they were getting blown out. Every time they went to the hoop they got a call. Now they couldn't stop Clemson which was why the game never got close, but the refs tried to help. You see it all the time in college, especially when the home team is behind. They want to keep the crowd engaged and the game exciting. The reason why North Carolina didn't make a comeback was because all they did in the second half was shoot 3's. 3's are fine to help a comeback, but you need to get to the basket and get to the free throw line and get points with the clock stopped. Also they tried a press they clearly don't know how to do and got beat for lay ups and dunks. Three guys would run to the ball and A&M would make two passes and dunk. Anyway, ref rant over. The bottom half is interesting. Michigan just finds a way to win and Beilein is a great game manager. Texas A&M impressed the heck out of me by their destruction of UNC who I had in the Final Four. If I had to pick now I would probably take Gonzaga because they have the best chance of getting to the Elite 8 whereas I am not sure who will advance from the other game.
The East has been the bracket most to form of what should happen. As I predicted, West Virginia or Wichita State would lose first round and that happened. And also Arizona or Kentucky and that happened as well. West Virginia has been probably the most dominant team in the first two rounds but they have played teams that haven't been able to match their physicality or their pressure. This will not be the case when they play Villanova. Villanova has been equally impressive, as I thought they would be, and they are a pressing team as well, and I don't think they will have any trouble with the pressure of West Virginia. I think Villanova wins this game rather easily, by over 10. The bottom half is more of a toss up and considering Purdue lost their big guy Haas, I have to think Texas Tech should win this game. I still like Villanova to win this region and head to San Antonio.
This bracket has been ruined by Syracuse. No one wants them here and no one wanted them in the tournament in the first place. Again, just because they won two games doesn't mean they deserve to be here. We all wanted to see Duke vs Michigan State, even I did even though I have Duke winning the region. I think Duke blows out Syracuse but its hard to do that so I think they will win by between 10-15 points. The top half is Clemson and Kansas and everyone doubted Kansas from the first round and yet here they are. The Seton Hall game wasn't as close as the score but now they have a tough test. Clemson has looked great but lets not forget they didn't miss a shot against Auburn and that shouldn't continue. I am so mad I took Auburn in my bracket. I saw them in the SEC tournament and wasn't impressed with them at all so I don't remember what I was thinking. Anyway, I still like Kansas to win that game and then I think Duke will find a way against Kansas.
Villanova vs Duke will be the game of the tournament and hopefully it happens. I still like Villanova to win that game and win the National Championship. On the other side if its Kentucky Gonzaga I might throw up. Two teams that don't deserve to be there, benefiting from busted brackets. Its a game I will hate because I don't want either team to win. If that game happens I would probably take Kentucky for no other reason that the previously stated contract Calipari has with the devil.
So thats it. We might be back next week for some Final-er Four predictions if I screwed these two rounds up as bad as the first weekend. The positive side is that with less games there are less upsets. I think thats it.