Friday, March 21

NCAA Tourney Thoughts: Day 2


Warren Buffett can rest easy. He won't lose 0.00001% of his fortune by having to pay someone a billion dollars. No perfect brackets remain in his Quicken Loans Challenge, but hey, the Top 20 folks can still win $100,000. Let's do this!

Stephen F. Austin, who hasn't lost since the Nixon Administration, earn our Best Finish of the Day in their ridiculous comeback win against VCU. The Lumberjacks were down 10 with 3:38 to play, and down four with 10 seconds left and VCU shooting a free throw. But that didn't matter ONE BIT. SFA's Desmond Haymon caught a pass with about three seconds left, launched a three, and drained it. Lumberjacks down one, right? WRONG. Haymon was fouled by VCU's JeQuan Lewis, and that four point deficit disappeared JUST LIKE DAT. In overtime, the Lumberjacks continued making awesome plays, and they eked out a 77-75 win, their 29th in a row. Incredible. 

The Best Performance of the Day award is handed to Pittsburgh's Bryce Cotton. This man averaged 39.9 minutes per game during the season, and was even above 40 per game with like five games left to play. That's absurd, and what's more, he produced during those heavy minutes, scoring 36 points. Of course, Providence lost 79-77 to UNC, because heaven forbid I correctly predict an upset, but if Cotton wasn't on the Friars, this game wouldn't have even been close. As it was, it was probably the second-most entertaining game of the night.

The Worst Loss of the Day is an easy one. LOL Duke.

I should add a qualifier to our Most Boring Game of the Day: If you enjoy missed free throws, you'd absolutely love Oklahoma State/Gonzaga. I don't, personally, and seeing 61 fouls called in a game that had potential to be two entertaining squads playing against each other was kind of a bummer. Each team missed 15 free throws, and the Cowboys even adopted a "Hack a Polack" on Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski (so dubbed by play-by-play announcer Andrew Catalon, which he then apologized for several minutes later). Karnowski went just 3 for 9 from the line, but the Zags won, so he gets the last laugh.

The Thank Goodness This Guy Is On The Team award goes to Desmond Haymon, for his aforementioned four-point play to force overtime. Seriously, even if you watched that game, stop what you're doing right now and check out the highlights again. SO GOOD.

Sorry, Baylor, your highlighter impression earns the Ugliest Uniforms award. But I won't be too harsh on you, because I actually predicted a win--unlike the pundits at ESPN, who said Nebraska would win because of their "hot" finish and Baylor's "stumbling" to the finish line. If you were scoring at home, coming into the game, Nebraska had won eight out of their last 11 games, and Baylor won nine out of their last 11 games. And these ESPN folk are all making at least six figures...sigh...

I guess the Region I Would Have Liked To Be At Live can go to Raleigh. They got to see Duke lose, Tennessee crush UMass in what had to have been the easiest upset to predict of all-time, then they watched a fairly close and entertaining Memphis/George Washington mid-major battle before seeing Virginia lose the first half against Coastal Carolina before storming back to win easily. But I love those Chanticleer unis!

We also have a new award (possibly just for today), the Get Out Of My Country award. This one goes to New Mexico. I learned a fun stat today: The Lobos have made the tournament 12 times since 1991, and have made it to the Sweet 16 precisely zero of those times. Yet I keep picking them to make the Sweet 16. After today's pathetic loss to Stanford, I got to thinking...what does New Mexico really have to offer as a state in general? Besides Breaking Bad, can you actually think of anything New Mexico does that another state doesn't do better? Sure, there's Tex-Mex, but Texas has that on lock. The Grand Canyon is Arizona. White Sands? I'll take Hawaii for that. The basketball team's incompetence has made me question the entire state. At least for the rest of March, I think they should hang out in South America.

Hope y'all's brackets ain't too busted. Happy watching over the weekend!

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