March 10, 2002

March Madness is upon us.: Who is your favorite to win the whole thing? Any first round potential upsets stick out? Is your alma mater in the tourny? Of course I will be routing for mine, go Uconn.

posted by jbou to basketball at 06:33 PM - 20 comments

The Washington Post has a cool Flash bracket that lets you select your picks. My alma mater's not in; I'm rooting for Maryland.

posted by kirkaracha at 07:35 PM on March 10, 2002

UVa! UVa! O-ber-lin! O-ber-lin! What? Neither? OK. Om.... Bla-zers! Bla-zers!

posted by djacobs at 08:14 PM on March 10, 2002

My Bearcats, even if they do have the toughest bracket. (gonzaga got screwed)

posted by mick at 08:34 PM on March 10, 2002

My Sooners got screwed. Lazy selection commitee wouldn't go back and give us a number one seed after we beat Kansas today. This goes right up there with the big Olympic Skating Scandal in my book (I might be biased).

posted by howa2396 at 10:07 PM on March 10, 2002

I as ever have two reasons to watch the tourney: to root for Temple and against Duke. The Owls are out so I think Gonzaga will be my subsitute rooting interest; luckily my anti-rooting interest is there to fall back upon.

posted by Justin Slotman at 11:25 PM on March 10, 2002

Gonzaga didn't get screwed. I heard the commitee's reasoning was that since they lost to Illinois (a 4 seed) and Marquette (a 5 seed), they deserved a 6 seed, which I agree with. Illinois got a tough path. They're playing a very underrated SDSU team, then they might face Florida, then Kansas. Duke definitely has the easiest path to the final 4 though.

posted by gyc at 11:44 PM on March 10, 2002

Anybody want to join the SportsFilter March Madness private group at Yahoo!? Group ID: 23471 Password: sportsfilter JOIN NOW!

posted by jacobw at 12:06 AM on March 11, 2002

A very overrated Illinois team vs. a very underrated SDSU team sounds like a great matchup. What's the problem?

posted by ttrendel at 12:12 AM on March 11, 2002

Funny ttrendel... who was it that lost to the 9th place Big 10 team on Saturday? Have fun losing to Utah.

posted by gyc at 02:19 AM on March 11, 2002

that washington post bracket is very nice indeed. (rite now) i got alabama, oklahoma, maryland and kansas in the final four, with the terps over the sooners in the championship. gonzaga did get slightly screwed, but this year they're gonna feel what it's like to be the favorite -- they are going out against wyoming in the first round. other than that, i don't have a lot upsets ... wake forest, at 7, is my lowest seeded team in the sweet 16. marquette/kentucky looks like most fun game in the second round.

posted by danostuporstar at 08:24 AM on March 11, 2002

I wonder if UCLA will look ahead to Cincinnatti and get beat by Ole Miss. final 4 duke gonzaga (I don't see a good reason to bet against them in their bracket, they can beat Oklahoma, and I think somebody will take the Bearcats out) maryland oregon

posted by pastepotpete at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2002

First Thought: Gonzaga got screwed! Second Thought: Crud, that means we got screwed, too! Whee, two 3 seeds for the price of one! djacobs: didn't you hear? OC won in the first round of the NCAC tournament, but then had to forfeit the whole season?

posted by eckeric at 02:31 PM on March 11, 2002

The Zags got really screwed; they had a better record against the field than all the 4-5 seeds, despite playing all but one of those games on the road. They should at least be a 4-5 seed.
As for the rest of the field... I have to go with a fairly pedestrian Duke, Kansas, Maryland, and OU in the FF, with USC, Illinois, Marquette, and Arizona as the 'upset' picks in those respective brackets. [I'd pick Gonzaga as the favorite in that bracket except Arizona and Jason Gardner match up with Dickau and co. fairly well.]
Personally speaking, I'm excited- I think Duke got a good bracket in both the men's and women's tourney, which is unusual. Additionally, I think that KU and UConn both have to be considered the reasonable favorites to win it all, so I've got lowered expectations for both teams, which makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. Finally, with a little luck, I'll be able to catch the women play in the regional final. That's always fun, and last time I saw then in a regional final in person, they made the FF. So hopefully I'll be good luck for them :)

posted by tieguy at 11:37 PM on March 11, 2002

I don't think you have much to worry about gyc. No matter how you put it, a second class team is still a second class team.

posted by ttrendel at 12:49 AM on March 12, 2002

ttrendel: but illinois is one of those teams that has the talent to get hot and blow up. See #4 seed arizona a few years back. Sure, they'll likely be out quickly, since they have tended to play poorly and without discipline, but the potential is there, which is more than you can say for a lot of teams who just don't have the horses, no matter how well they play.

posted by tieguy at 12:56 AM on March 12, 2002

Wow tieguy. How much ESPN have you been watching? Every team in the tourney has the possibility to 'get hot and blow up'. The potential is always there. This is what makes the NCAA so much fun. If Illinois wins it all, I'll drop to my knees in praise. I love all college basketball, but Big Ten basketball is basketball the way that God intended it to be.

posted by ttrendel at 01:05 AM on March 12, 2002

Eck. Big Ten basketball is the way God intended football to be.
But regardless... no, lots of teams can't blow up that way. They just don't have the talent. Illinois has big guys with skills, and they have Frank Williams. They can put together 40 minutes of ball and beat anyone, and even do it for multiple games in a row. Is that likely? No, not at all; they aren't likely to play anything but the uninspired ball they've played all season. But most of the teams below a four seed (and this year, several 2 and 3 seeds) really don't have that kind of talent and size; even playing their best ball they can't play with the KUs and Dukes of the world. Illinois does and can. Will they? No, probably not. But they can, which is more than 50 or so of the teams still playing can say.

posted by tieguy at 01:15 AM on March 12, 2002

Defensive intensity and careless turnovers are things that are keeping Illinois from playing up to their potential. They shot well in their two B10 tourney games, but lax defensewas their downfall against Ohio St. It's correct to say that Illinois will probably play one good game and follow that up with a poor game, but I'm hoping the core group of seniors will have one final run in them. If Illinois can reach the sweet 16, Illinois is probably one of the few teams out side of Duke or Maryland that can matchup against Kansas. Illinois has enough talent inside to matchup with Gooden and Collison; it's just a matter of staying out of foul trouble. Instead, the key will be how well the backcourt can defend the perimeter. As for first round upsets, I'm going to pick Wyoming over Gonzaga, Penn over Cal, Hampton over UConn, S. Illinois over Texas Tech, Mich. St. over N. C. St., and Creighton over Florida.

posted by gyc at 01:35 AM on March 12, 2002

gyc, hampton over connecticut? (surely Calhoun is putting UConn through it's toughest practice ever to avoid this very thing) You really have to reach pretty far down in the bracket to find teams that aren't capable of making a sustained run. It would be a mistake to overestimate the talent of any of these teams, what do you do to succeed if you're outmatched? You slow it down, you shoot threes, you put them on the foul line, you play good basketball. This could *easily* be the year, the mid-majors break out. I don't think the talent level of Maryland and Kansas is as awe-inspiring as many of you seem to.

posted by pastepotpete at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2002

I can't find it now online, but the NYTimes headline a couple of days ago was: Duke gets a top seeding; Gongaza gets no respect.

posted by liam at 02:25 PM on March 13, 2002

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