NCAA tournament time — fearing my bracket will Show Me the way to red marks

Posted: 03/15/2012 in college basketball
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Time for a few preliminary March Madness thoughts as the real first round of the NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday:

My bracket

It took me in an interesting direction. I asked it to “show me” the way but I didn’t expect that would lead me to Missouri as the national champion. I may regret that move big-time or I might look like a genius. Hopefully my old bracket magic will reappear this year.

Upset watch

In the West regional, don’t be surprised if Long Beach State and Davidson are meeting for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday. The 49ers are battle-tested and New Mexico has a baffling ability to take a step back right after it looks like world-beaters. Davidson beat Kansas earlier this season so it definitely can beat Rick Pitino and Louisville. Belmont over Georgetown and Harvard over Vanderbilt are other decent possibilities.

My alma mater

San Diego State never won any NCAA tournament games until winning two games and reaching the Sweet 16 last season. It looks like the Aztecs could be right back in one-and-done land. San Diego State is the higher seed (sixth) against North Carolina State (11th) but there are some mismatch issues. If you are familiar with San Diego State’s basketball history, you know it feels really odd that the Aztecs are the higher-seeded squad in a NCAA tournament matchup with an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

Jamaal Franklin’s finger

The Mountain West Conference Player of the Year needs to keep his middle finger in check if he doesn’t like the call of a referee. The spin control the following day once it was known that video captured the moment was silly, especially since courtside observers tell a much different tale than what Franklin was trying to sell. The San Diego State star needs to keep his composure – remember the Kemba Walker incident from last March? – and just play the game.

Where’s Butler?

Studied the bracket over and over and couldn’t find Butler anywhere. Hard to tell if there is another mid-major who can make a Final Four run. Last year there were two as Butler advanced to the title game for the second straight season and Virginia Commonwealth also reached the Final Four. Wichita State would appear to be a team that could make a deep run but the Shockers would likely have to get past Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

Kentucky factor

Love all these analysts that make it sound like a done deal per Kentucky winning the national championship. These are college-aged kids with lots of pressure on them, not seasoned professionals that easily shut out all distractions. Remember, the Kentucky powerhouse team with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Patrick Patterson of two years ago didn’t even reach the Final Four. I have these Wildcats reaching the Final Four and then succumbing to Missouri. (Oh yeah, that’s how this Missouri winning the national title thing came into play).

Commericals

Hopefully “The Summomer” makes more appearances than “Wego” the Dog. Hearing commercials over and over all day can grate on the ears but any company that actually uses the word “summoner” in its top phone commercial beats hearing “Here We Go” all weekend long. As for the games on TruTV, it’s only a matter of time before somebody messes up the “Hardcare Pawn” promo.

Bracket history

Will keep you updated on the ups and downs of my bracket, especially if it becomes drowning in red ink. I’ve won too many March Madness pools to count but can easily recall winning five different newspaper pools – three at one newspaper and two at another. Actually, one of them was a co-shared title as a Maryland graduate was able to share the 2002 bracket winnings with me because, um, Maryland won the title and he was a homer. The other thing that I recall from that year is I bought the desk crew pizza with my winnings and the Maryland grad just pocketed his cash.

Idle thought

Do people really do CBI pools?

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