March 17, 2008

The Madness begins

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

Selection Sunday: the day that kicks off March Madness. Where the brackets are drawn for all to see and for everyone in a pool to start plotting a route to the championship for their team of choice.

I’d be lying to you if I claimed to know anything in depth about all 65 of the teams that qualified for the “Big Dance” so let me tell you what I do know.

— I’m not surprised by any of the number ones. It seemed pretty clear cut this year. North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA and Kansas were the best in the U.S. this season. Anybody dumb enough to take a 16 seed over a one doesn’t even deserve to fill out a bracket.

— There might be something wrong with the system if a team that’s one game above .500 (Georgia at 17-16) can get into the tourney. I don’t care if you fluked your way into winning your conference, well, actually, it’ll be easy to pick their demise in the first round. Thanks for giving me an easy one Georgia.

— Did Duke really deserve to be a number 2 this year? I haven’t heard a thing about the Blue Devils and they’re usually pretty well covered by the media.

— USC vs. Kansas State should be a great game to watch. Michael Beasley, the potential first overall pick this coming NBA draft, vs. O.J. Mayo, a highly touted scorer. Both are freshmen and both can make or break their teams chances in the first round.

— I’m taking George Mason as my 12-over-5 upset. It’s a bonus because that 5 happens to be Notre Dame and I have an irrational hate for the Irish.

— Do not discount the fact that North Carolina is basically playing home games in the first four rounds. You would have to be very bold to go against them before the final four.

— Finally, I’m taking UCLA to win it all. It’s not because I love Kevin Love or Darren Collison. Not because they won the tough Pac-10 conference championship. No, it’s because I’ve taken them for the past three years, done fairly well and why change something that’s working fine? It’s not nearly as fun to cheer on a number 1 seed, but hey, they’re my team.

I’ll no doubt have more on the tournament as Thursday draws near and I actually inform myself about the teams I’ve already written off and as i begin to doubt the picks I’ve already made.

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