“Oh fudge…” was originally going to pertain to six losses in thirty-six games, but now it speaks to my stupid computer and it’s inability to operate on the most basic level. When I woke up this morning, my computer refused to wake up with me. As I washed the crust from my eyes, my computer remained wrapped in the blankets of an hours-old alcoholic stupor. It thought we were still at the 6740 in Uptown Whittier, and it wouldn’t stop trying to order a drink, even though I had cut it off before halftime of the last set of games.
So while I was trying to finish writing about the round of sixty-four before the first game of the round of thirty-two, my infernal helper droid wanted to go back to bed. So I tried to be patient and drink my coffee, and considered saving the dregs for the keyboard in vain hope of waking the damn thing.
Well, the first game of this round is done, but it swung the way I thought it would (I have brackets visible for all to see on Facebook and at espn.com), so I will continue to March on (not pun intended, but it works), and this little persnickety device at my fingertips will have to trudge along behind at its inefficient clip.
Right now, I need to address First Friday. No art festival this, as many of the illustrious teams of the NCAA Tournament had trouble scoring in the double digits. I don’t speak of heralded players but ENTIRE TEAMS. Ugh.
Let’s take Cal Poly: The only team in the tournament with a losing record, for the season, the Mustangs scored 81 points in their play-in game. They had an unbelievable ONE turnover in that first half. In the first half of the game against Wichita State, Cal Poly had one field goal. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But Cal Poly did only manage twelve field goals for the entire game. They scored 37 total points, with less than half provided by their starters. The Shockers of Wichita State managed only 64 points, but let’s make sure to note that their starting five got A LOT of rest. And their bench got a bunch of NCAA Tournament minutes, which may serve them well when called upon in their next game.
Kentucky vs Kansas State: Wildcat versus Wildcat, paw a paw. Now, despite being over-hyped as the preseason number one team in the country, Kentucky has shown their youth and its pitfalls, and that continues and will continue to shadow them throughout the remainder of their time in the tournament. But they have played well of late, and hell, their coach is John Calipari. He may not know how to get his players a college education but the man knows how to peak at the right time. The score is what we’re dissecting right now, and 56-49 does not make anyone feel good about their chances moving forward. These two can score, particularly Kentucky, and they’ve done so against a very strong schedule. I did not include this game as one to watch, because the outcome seemed obvious. Kansas State, a team that needs to make its bones playing the best competition it can muster, decided to cakewalk through their non-conference schedule. They played the 296th weakest non-con in the country, and it shows. That flavor of cupcake might work for Louisville (298), but not for the Wildcats of Kansas State.
Enough of that. Let’s get to first Saturday.
I’ve done my rant about Ohio State, and Dayton steps into their shoes. I had OSU going to the round of sixteen, meaning neither Syracuse nor the Flyers would win this game, so I don’t really care who crawls out of this one, but let’s just say Syracuse. Both teams score at the same clip, but Syracuse boasts a defense ranked 18th in the country, against the 19th strongest combined offense. Dayton’s D is ranked 101. You see where I’m going with this, and with that, I move on.
Good for Harvard. I can’t reiterate enough: read the first post. I think my take on the Harvard/Cincy match-up is hilarious. And now they face the hated Michigan State. Hated by Michigan fans like me. With talent through the Breslin Center ceiling, and a fine coach in Tom (love the name) Izzo, they will Be in Arlington, Texas, at the stupidest venue in the history of ever for college basketball, Cowboys Stadium, to compete in the Final Four. Double boo.
I did not foresee the University of Saint Louis winning against North Carolina State. Even watching the second half of the game, I didn’t see it, until I did. Yuck. Nonetheless, Louisville was going to win this round. But let’s talk Billikens. One of their players is named Rob Loe. I loved him in Bad Influence, you know, the movie where he films himself having sex with two women, only to shortly thereafter be busted in real life for filming himself having sex with two underage girls? Watching the Billikens, he is truly timeless. And how about Jordair Jett? Are you thinking what I think his mom was thinking? “These are gonna be his favorite shoes. I bore him to play hoops.”
Villanova vs UConn. Cats versus Dogs. Another great movie, probably. I’m sure my niece and nephew have it in their library. Myself, I’d rather watch this game. Villanova scores a little better, gives up a little more in opponents’ offense. Barely. Villanova has a faster tempo (again, barely), but they’ve proven they can go bucket for bucket against the nation’s best offenses. UConn wins in the defensive category, but Villanova wins the game.
I will not be writing much more about Villanova in the future, so my computer can settle down and stop telling me I’m spelling Villanova wrong.
I didn’t see North Dakota State coming. I mean, I had heard that they were strong, and I believed it, but Oklahoma crushed them in every single statistic except for the head-to-head match-up. North Dakota State won the first/last one. The match-up against San Diego State should be a good one, with SDSU’s seventh-best defense in the country, and NDSU not caring one bit about who they play. San Diego State has a pretty good record against well-matched teams, and they have Steve Fisher. And I don’t know about his shot-making ability, but he’s a damn fine coach. I mean, where the hell were the Aztecs since Tony Gwynn was their point guard? Answer: they were waiting for this coach. SDSU takes it.
Oregon vs Wisconsin: Much like their football compatriots, Orygun (see bumper stickers) is always a run-and-gun team. Unlike their football brothers, the Ducks’ basketball team yields less offensive production. Wisconsin plays a slower tempo, with better offensive results. Wisconsin also played the fifth toughest schedule in the country, against the third best average offenses. Badgers eat Duck for dinner.
Last but not least, it’s Michigan versus Texas. I don’t want to talk about it; I’d rather focus my energy on wishing. Big Blue. Dah dunt dunt Dah dunt dunt dunt Dah dunt dunt Dah dunt dunt dunt Dah Dah …
See ya later. I have balls to watch.