Archive for the ‘NCAA Tournament’ Category

NCAA Day 1 Thoughts

March 16, 2007

Well, halfway through the 1st day’s action and no upsets or even close games yet.  Trouble with the NCAA tourney is that all the great games depend on random match-ups.  Butler has no size but neither does ODU.  Butler shot better for a stretch and won.  Louisville had a huge quickness and athletic advantage over Stanford and exploited it via the fullcourt press in a rout.  As of writing this the best game is VCU-Duke because VCU has a much quicker team to combat Duke’s inside presence of McRoberts. 

Any tournament play is all about match-ups and not seeding.  If a team is a #13 seed but matches up well with a #4, then its better to get seeded #13 instead of “respectable” #8 seed.  TTL thinks the “experts” get too caught up with seeding and major conferences when calling a game an upset.  Sometimes a mid-major just has the right team chemistry to “upset” a big-name team.  (As VCU closes to 67-66 with 7 minutes to play).  The key ingredients to look for in an upset team is senior leadership (especially at guard), a good system (trapping “D”, Princeton offense etc.) and a good coach.  Just think back to George Mason last year with a senior dominated team, who absolutely pounded the ball inside better than anyone else and had a good coach who never strayed from his system. 

Down goes Duke!  Not an upset when everyone is predicting it.  Been more surprising if Duke won.  TTL loves all Internet stream sporting events, especially this means can watch from the comfort of the Belgian home.  Awesome that they show feeds with no announcing, as just heard P.A. announcer of Gonzaga-IU game announce that Duke won to a smattering of applause and then correct himself to a big cheer.  Duke-haters unite.  Now to fall asleep to the IU-Gonzaga game. 

Countdown to the Madness

March 14, 2007

In a charity game last night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Man U’s playing in Europe (and the Treaty of Rome marking the start of the EU) Man U defeated an Europe XI 4-3.  Like an all-star game in any sport there was plenty of goals, chances, highlight moves and zero tackling.  And the booing of LP’s Carragher, Fowler and Gerrard when they had the ball was excellent.  Did anyone say Charity Match?  But the highlight of the match was this insane free kick from Ronaldo who’s simply the best player in the world right now. 

These are games sports fans watch in order to prepare for March Madness.  It was perfectly mindless sporting entertainment.  Fast-forward to Thursday afternoon when millions will be sweating every point scored as they frantically check brackets, point spreads, upset specials and then shove all that aside when their favorite team plays.   And then let’s do it all again on Friday.  That is the greatest part of the NCAA Tournament, the turnaround time.  No 50 days between games like the Florida-OSU football title game or endless marathons that are the hockey, basketball and baseball playoffs.  If your team scores an upset on Thursday, get ready for Saturday’s game.  In the age of chatrooms, hyper talk-radio, endless Sportscenters etc. its great not to have every game over-analyzed to the extreme.  Except for the Final Four, the longest lay-off teams have between games is 5 days before the Sweet 16.  And since there are 8 games over those 2 days its easy to avoid all the hype that encompasses 1 game.   The single worst media invention in sports is the two weeks before the Super Bowl.  The single best media invention in sports is switching to close games during the NCAA tournament.  Can’t wait for the Madness.