I love college hoops because, if you stick with a team for four years, you really get to see guys grow up. Yeah, there’s better basketball in the NBA. But you don’t get the treat of seeing Naz Long grow from an awkward 18-year old from Canada into a team leader, or Monte Morris from a young pup who would jump if Deandre Kane barked too loud into the best point guard in Iowa State history. I love that part — and I also love that there’s a time limit. College hoops has no ‘will he retire or not’, no ‘leaving the Bulls and coming back with the Wizards’ — the end is dictated for you. It makes it sad, but it makes it special.
Yesterday was a good day of basketball. A gooooood day of basketball. Here’s some random thoughts, before we get to the standings:
*What did I tell y’all about shotmaker Jevon Carter? Huge 3 at the 2:15 minute mark to really lock it up for West Virginia against Notre Dame.
*The ND/West Virginia game was a battle between two coaches who constantly look like they’ve overslept. Except Mike Brey looks like he’s trying to hide it, and Bob Huggins looks like he doesn’t give a fuck.
*I love how cowboy Gregg Marshall’s postgame quote after Wichita State beat Dayton was. “They deserved a better draw.” It’s like a gunslinger standing over the villain, smoke still spilling out of his gun, saying “It didn’t have to be this way.”
*Wisconsin/Villanova was a classic tournament game. Offenses that got stagnant waiting for the end of the shot clock, officials swallowing whistles in the final 8 minutes, the more physical team winning. I’m no Badger fan, but they win these games. And Nigel Hayes blasts the NCAA at will, so that’s always good.
*On Day 1, I told you “Don’t bet on unproven coaches of teams that are good for the first time.” Northwestern, Florida State & Minnesota. It’s day 4, and they’re all gone.
*The tournament always has a lot of games that, without March stakes, would be pretty brutal to watch. If you were watching Wisconsin and Villanova be that stagnant on offense, and that much bruising go uncalled, and it was November in the Maui Classic, you’d probably change the channel. But Win or Go Home can make even a shitpile Must See TV.
*Refs missed a pretty big goaltend against Northwestern, who almost forced Gonzaga into one of the all-time choke jobs. However, given that the Wildcats advanced, in part, because of massive Vandy brainfart, the missed call is really just one of the most delayed ‘ball don’t lie’s of all time.
*What MTSU did — making the second round twice in a row as a double-digit seed — is far more impressive from a program perspective than making the Sweet 16 once.
*The Cyclones realllllly battled last night, but couldn’t overcome too many first half misses and too much Caleb Swanigan. Regardless, Deonte Burton should get invited to the NBA dunk contest whether he’s in the league or not.
25 left and a lot of deaths last night — FSU claimed 14 (told ya), MTSU took 4 brave souls looking for 12 second round points, and ISU, St. Mary’s and Villanova each picked off 1. It is really tough to get big tiebreaker points after the first weekend, so the leaders have given themselves a chance to win — if they can survive today.
UPDATE (11:20AM) —
Great minds think alike, and 10 of 23 entrants on Baylor today. The rest of the picks are scattered, and there aren’t many Tiebreaker points to be won, so the leaders have to be feeling good about that. DaveHurl2 and KingSolomon picking Vegas underdogs trying to make up big tiebreaker points. Here’s the full list:
10 – Baylor (3)
4 – Oregon (2)
3 – Louisville (2)
2 – UCLA (3)
2 – Duke (2)
1 – Rhode Island (11)
1 – Cincinnati (6)
I’m going to come out and say I think this is a good pool format. Watching the standings all day, every game yesterday seemed like it creating a big swing between people who had banked, and those who let it ride. Very tight at the top:
One feature I added to the sheet yesterday — a team in green is a team *still earning points* for that player. So if someone has banked a team, it is in white.
HereComestheGeneral! has taken a tight 1 point edge over MatthewGolden1 and Golden Clones, with MatthewGolden2 and ThreezusofNazareth close behind.
General jumped to the lead trusting Wisconsin and Xavier, and was rewarded when both brought home big points. Its still anybody’s game, but this was a big moving day for HCTG. I’m curious how people will treat Michigan, Cincinnati and Michigan State today.
Enjoy your buckets.
UPDATE (11:10AM CDT) —
Not sure if it was seeing a lot of banked teams turn around and win yesterday, or more faith in today’s potential upset winners, but way fewer banks today than yesterday. Here they are:
Matt Golden 2 — Wichita State, Michigan
Matt Golden 1 — Wichita State, Rhode Island
Pounders 2 — Wichita State
Pounders 1 — Michigan, Wichita State
DaveHurl — Michigan, Arkansas
Golden Clones — Cincinnati, Michigan, Wichita State, Rhode Island
Threezus — Arkansas
Wayne Tracker — Rhode Island, Wichita State
The big game of the day is probably Wichita State v. Kentucky. The Shockers 3.5 pt. underdogs, and 6 players banked their 10 first round points, but another 5 players are mostly letting them fly, trying to snag another 15 points against Kentucky today. That’s a 25-point swing that’ll go a long way toward solidifying the leaderboard.
In a massive show of faith for Tom Izzo’s 21-4 career record in second games of an NCAA tourney weekend, all 6 players on Sparty are letting them ride, gunning for 16 points against Kansas. 4 of these players with MSU are in the Top 5 of the standings, so some dropped points would bring them back to earth.
Another key game is Rhode Island v. Oregon. MatthewGolden1, Golden Clones and Wayne Tracker all banked their 11 Rhode Island points. The Full Monte, NotasConfused and MarkLyons are all letting the Rams go Duck Hunting, and trying to make up ground in the standings.
ThreezusofNazareth (that’s me) is the only player in the pool leaving South Carolina active. 22 pt swing between winning and losing today against Duke.