On the Completed March Madness

In the past week we’ve crowned a college basketball and hockey champions, started baseball season, and witnessed a great Masters tournament. So this post is to ending of another March Madness.

Congratulations Duke – a true national champion that earned it fair and square!

Congratulations Butler for representing all mid-majors and for capturing many fans across the country you appreciate underdogs.

Congratulations to the NCAA for providing a three-week frenzy of upsets, dramatic endings, unbelievable athleticism, and so much more – including a true national champion.

Congratulations to my alma mater, Bowling Green, as the Falcons continued one of the longest streaks in the country for not making it to the first round (since 1968).

Congratulations to my MA alma mater (Cincinnati) for getting one NIT win – yet seemingly so far away from what was not all that long ago.

Congratulations to Bob Huggins and his WVU Mountaineers. Besides still being special to many UC Bearcat faithful, he also guaranteed ABK would win the tournament – Anybody but Kentucky.

Congratulations to the NCAA for continuing to ring the register of its recognized cash cow. I wonder how they can make even more money? I wonder if they will do something incredibly stupid for the sake of money?

On March Madness Brackets

We have 64 teams, and 63 games later, the NCAA crowns a legitimately recognized national champion of college basketball (none of the BCS crap!).

Last year I provided picks at the opening of each round, which is different than fill-the-bracket-from-the-start. For whatever reason, last year I started in the second round and did fairly well 25/31=81%).

Now my percentage is much better than the graduation rates of many teams; and way above schools as Kentucky (31%), Cal (20%), Baylor (36%), Georgia Tech (38%), Louisville (38%), Tennessee (30%), Washington (29%), and Maryland – a pathetic 8%.

At the same time, I am below teams as BYU (100%), Marquette (100%), Utah State (100%), Wofford (100%), Notre Dame (100%), Duke (92%), Lehigh (92%), Vermont (92%), Villanova (92%), and Butler (90%).

Without further adieu, it is time to step up to the plate for round 1.

Midwest: Kansas, Northern Iowa (upset), Michigan State (upset watch), Maryland, Tennessee, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Ohio State

West: Syracuse (upset watch), Gonzaga, UTEP (upset), Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pitt, BYU, K-State

East: Kentucky, Texas, Temple (upset watch), Wisconsin (upset watch), Marquette, New Mexico, Clemson, West Virginia

South: Duke, Louisville, Texas A&M, Siena (upset), Notre Dame, Baylor, Richmond, Villanova

On Basketball Brackets 2009

The conference tournaments are the opening act to March Madness. Now that they are over, many workders will have their bracket handy in their office cubicle to record that vision of the grand upset and ultimate winner. More enthusiastic fans will argue about seeds and who didn’t get invited.

I’m sure being on the committee is both rewarding and difficult. Given the 347 teams, the committee must narrow the field to 65 while working within their established rules – let alone create the actual bracket.

College sports are big … not only high interest, but also big dollar. Unlike their BCS counterparts, at least basketball produces a legitimate champion who is unquestionably recognized. However, like its gridiron counterparts, the power schools dominate the scene at the expense of the mid-majors. Basketball teams are also following football’s recipe of out-of-conference scheduling involving more home games against mid-majors in order to reach that 20-win mark.

Let’s see – How many teams outside of the non-BCS conferences received at-large invitations? Four: Xavier, Butler, Dayton, and BYU.

How many at-large teams had conference records of .500 or less? Five: Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and USC. Sorry, if you can’t finish with a winning record in the conference, no big dance for you! Besides, are their at least five more-deserving teams?

How many #8 seeds or lower get to play close to home? One: Ohio State – such a possible reward for top-seed Louisville. Hmmm … did the inclusion of Michigan and Minnesota affect OSU’s playing site?

I remain against the conference tournaments as they give less meaning to a season. A mid-major team can dominate their conference during the season, but that one off night could keep them out of the big dance. On the other hand, their conference takes the risk by accepting sponsorship and television money for the event. Keep in mind that since there’s only so much TV time, numerous mid-major conferences adjust their tournament schedule to get the money and additional media exposure.

Meanwhile, the start of the dance is just around the corner. Although mid-majors have minimal chance of landing in the Final Four, let alone becoming a national championship, mid-majors are the ones who capture the hearts of basketball fans. When all is said and done, use the BCS model to figure out the selection process – just follow the money.

On Basketball Tournament Time

Many conferences have their conference tournaments this weekend with the winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament – the Road to the Final Four. Of course we fans we eagerly anticipate Sunday’s tournament selection show, which means picking those brackets will dominate a lot of time. Meanwhile, here are some random thoughts.

I’m not a big fan of the conference tournaments, but like much of college sports, it’s all about the revenue.

There are currently 347 D1 college basketball teams, yet only 65 (18.7%) will move on. Personally, I think the number of teams should be expanded.

While I’m on opinions, and I know this would create havoc for the bracket polls, instead of set brackets I prefer matching top seeds and lower seeds in every round.

My undergraduate degree is from Bowling Green, a team that hasn’t been to the tournament is 1968. Of the teams that have been D1 since 1968, only 13 other schools have as long (or longer) dry spells than my beloved Falcons. Thanks to the Falcon Blog for this information.

  • Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
  • Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
  • Yale: Last appeared in 1962
  • Maine: D1 since 1962
  • New Hampshire: D1 since 1962
  • Centenary (La.): D1 since 1960
  • Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
  • Harvard: Last appeared in 1946
  • Army: D1 since 1948
  • Citadel: D1 since 1948
  • Northwestern: D1 since 1948
  • St. Francis (N.Y.): D1 since 1948
  • William & Mary: D1 since 1948

BGSU, the top seed in this year’s MAC tournament, lost last night in the conference semi-finals. Oh well – the streak continues. They probably get an NIT bid and play on the road at one of the power-conference schools.

My Cincinnati Bearcats are a mere shell of what once was. Although they laid a large egg down the stretch, they aren’t ready for the dance anyway. I’ll keep my eye in hometown rival Xavier, but they must play better to be a factor.

I lived the UCLA dynasty of the 1960s-70s, and I don’t think I’ll ever see that kind of domination ever again.

Who do I think will win this year? I don’t know as UC’s fall is one reason I don’t know as much about the teams as in the past. North Carolina and Duke seem to be the leading contenders, but this has been a topsy-turvy year. Meanwhile, I’ll watch and hope for a Cinderella.