Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Random Thoughts Of (March) Madness, Pt. 3

I NEED AN UPSET - NOW!



Let's take a look at the Syracuse region as we wait for Doug Gottlieb to say something controversial, Bud Selig to come out from behind his lawyers, and for the return of the Winnipeg Jets. Yeah, we're still waiting.

By the way, can we get some applause for the Carrier Dome? That place is a little bit of basketball heaven.

First of all, North Carolina is crazy - and not just Rashad McCants. Can you trust the Heels? Once Roy Williams gets that "I can't lose again, can I?" look on his face in late March, anything can happen, oftentimes bad. The Heels have been involved in some crazy finishes lately, mostly involving big comebacks. That worries me. Then they lost to Georgia Tech, a team less trustworthy than themselves. That worries me. The Heels live on the edge. Can you trust them?

Then again, the Heels are that team - that team you know you have to put in the championship game. You know you do. Your pen is magically drawn to the big square in the center of March Madness. You want to scribble a big UNC right down on that line. On all 32 pools you entered this year. Admit it.

Me? I'm loving the winner of the alleged Florida-Villanova second round game. Loving it. Hot as shit, both of them. I was thinking Final Four dark horse for both teams before the brackets were even announced. Of course, I have no idea what I'm talking about, but still. Now they meet this early? Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I should ride the winner of this game all the way to St. Louis. Maybe the winner is that team - that million dollar dark horse, baby!

But with all the money on the line, can either beat the Heels?

More importantly, can UConn beat North Carolina? Especially after being handled nicely by the Heels up in Stoors? And here's a scary thought. Charlie Villanueva originally signed with Illinois. He got out of the commitment when Bill Self bolted for Kansas. Think about that. The Illini with Villanueva? Almost happened.

With the regional in Syracuse, UConn would be in Big East territory.

Kansas is the most overrated team in the land. Period.

Florida intrigues me.

After the Eagles Super Bowl run, Philly is looking tough this year. I'm telling you: Villanova...Florida...Villanova...Florida...I'm thinking about it.

OK, what's the deal with Wisconsin? In the last week the home of “Happy Days” has seen more gore than a demented B-rated horror flick.

One dude, who happened to have murdered a judge's family a few days prior, was found dead by suicide.

Another dude shot up a church, killing seven worshipping souls.

To top it off, some people were found murdered in a hotel. I believe this all happened on three consecutive days. What's up with the cheeseheads? Geez, Brett Favre retirement rumors begin hovering and they start going nutty.

Back to reality: I'm sure the Badgers loss to Illinois in the Big Ten title game didn't help the self esteem of the cheesheads. The Badgers aren't bad, though.

Charlotte has been frigid of late. Fri-gid. But I bet the Niners love being paired up with North Carolina State. An ACC school. One of the big boys. North Carolina bragging rights on the line. Interesting, interesting.

I have issues with Northern Iowa being in the field. Their inclusion is mysterious. I have no issues with the Panthers themselves. The school produced Kurt Warner, which is cool. But...wait...you know what? Whatever. Forget it. I'm all for the little people, people. Go Mighty Mid Major! (Break into college band jamming...)

UNI will get spanked by Wisconsin.

And tell that UNI athletic director to stop officiating games involving other bubble teams. It looks funny.

Cool story: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson juggled the conference tourney schedule to get the Lobos on ESPN. Added exposure and all. I like that. Taking the bull by the horns. And the Lobos did not disappoint, winning it...on ESPN. The Lobos haven't been this good since Kenny Thomas' ten-year tenure with the team came to an end.

Ohio looks like the Celtics in their unis. That's about all I know here. The Bobcats did take care of Buffalo, which I kept hearing about, but had never seen play.

Bucknell? All I know is the Patriots were beating the holy crap out of Holy Cross when I peeped their game last week for a few minutes. Holy Cross came back to make it tight at the end, but it was on Holy Cross' court and Bucknell held on. Wins over Pittsburgh and St. Joseph's also look nice on the resume. Stacking up nicely with some of the best programs in the East is always encouraging. I smell upset...

(In Howard Cosell voice): Down goes Kansas! Down...goes...Kansas!

Maybe?

Central Florida leads all Florida schools with 70 wins over the last three years. Not bad.

Ah, the glorious play-in game. The biggest day on the American sports calendar! The Super Bowl and the arrival of the SI swimsuit issue rolled into one!

But seriously, does anyone actually ever watch the play-in game?

It's a good thing Oakland got an automatic bid. I don't know if a record of 12-18 and an RPI of 192 was going to cut it. Alabama A + M + Out.

Sweet Sixteen: North Carolina, Villanova, Wisconsin, UConn

The pick: Look, I know I should go with the Heels. Know it. That possible UNC-UConn showdown is jumping off the bracket and clawing at my eyeballs. But I'm not going to do it. I need an upset in my Final Four picks. Always. I feel too risk-free without. Who wants to go chalk all the time? And, hey, it beats the time I picked North Carolina St. to reach the Final Four in a glorious upset run I was sure would happen. (Last year.) Yeah, I'm going with the upset. I'm going with Florida...Villanova...Florida...Villanova...

Florida. And Major Parker will be partying hard.

No wait...

Villanova.

Yes, Villanova.

This is Big East country. Villanova over UConn.

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