Yes indeed – the pretenders are getting separated from the Contenders and 16 remain to vie for the National Title. 1/3 of the challenge for the 16 teams that remain has been completed with 4 difficult games left for the Champion and the Runner Up.
Sweet 16 Bracket Update….Let’s run through each region and review the teams that made it (MMQ’s picks in BOLD) and some of the more noteworthy games and or misfortunes of teams in that particular bracket…
West Region: Zona – SDSU– Wiscy – Baylor
Tim Miles ended Nebraska’s incredible season on a sour note as a 1 and done against hot shooting Baylor. I had only seen Baylor play once in a very un-inspired game against ISU and figured that they just weren’t that good…I’m wrong and not afraid to admit it. The BISON of NDState did what they were supposed to do in the 1st round, but couldn’t pull off the upset against Fisher’s Beach Boy’s and Fisher (who has announced his retirement at the end of the Tourney) advance to the Sweet 16. Creighton really disappointed yesterday in a yawner against Baylor where McDermott didn’t even show up. Wiscy surprised a lot of people and beat the Duckies at their own game, playing an up tempo high scoring affair on Saturday night and Bucky is now looking like a real threat to make the F4! Interesting bracket, but not when you look at the
Midwest Region: Michigan- Tennessee – Louisville – Kentucky
Wow…Right out of the gate on Friday, the Mercer Bears, Champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and would probably have finished as high as 3rd or 4th in the SEC had they played in it (as stated to the MMPG earlier last week by a local who has seen them play pretty regularly) came out and beat Dook at their own game. Ball control, interior offensive penetration and making them from the charity stripe. Please, PLEASE someone at CBS/TNT/TBS/TRU continue to give the viewers at home and in the bar INCREDIBLY LONG SHOTS of Coach K seething on the sidelines.
Yes! That’s what I want!!! That’s what I NEED!! Can I get some more, please? When do we get to stop laughing about this? Never? In what was probably the best game and one that I was frankly pulling for the 1 Seed, which rarely happens, Witchy State and the Wildcats went down to the wire and Kentucky pulled off the upset…Sort of like Witchy Stated did last season over the Zags…Michigan rolled in both its games and the MMPG is not sure he’s liking the Tennessee match-up. More on that in a second….
South Region: Florida – UCLA – Dayton - Stanford
This bracket was chock FULL of upsets, starting off but not limited to THE University of Dayton Flyers beating ohio in an early game on Thursday and road that upset and made Juice out of the Orange – Not unexpected by this prognosticator! The Six Million Dollar Man got the best of Shaka Smart’s ‘Dores and Shaka is 1 and done one season after going out in the 2nd round against Michigan. Has Smart worn out his welcome? New Mexico came out flat and 10 Seed Stanford rode the upset train through the desert and continued riding it right through Kansas! Had I known THAT Stanford team was going to show up…Well, that’s the thing about this sport, isn’t it? Too much knowledge is sometimes worse than not enough.
East: Virginia – MSU– Iowa State – Uconn
Sparty is really looking more and more like the favorite to come out of this region….Very few upsets with the exception of the Huskies knocking off what appeared to be an over-rated Villanova squad. ISU lost its third scorer with a broken foot and he is out for the season. Which, in what has to be billed the most unusual finish (That I’VE seen in awhile) the Cyclones score with 1.6 ticks left on the clock and the Tar Heels drive it over the half court line and call time out with some precious tenths left on the clock…but the refs review it….and review it…and review it….and review it…and reviewed it some more…and then they reviewed it again. Than, just to be completely and 100% sure, they reviewed it one more time! Now, I’m not sure all that review was needed, but I get that they wanted to get it right. Finally, they announce that the clock had not started when it should of and that there was NO TIME LEFT when UNC called time out! Which, why try to call time there anyway? Run the play and take a shot, Coach Roy! ACC – Smoke and Mirrors, Smoke and Mirrors…Top 3 seeds still alive and Sparty will have their hands full with the only ACC school left….Let me repeat that – the ONLY ACC school left...S&M Conference!!! Oohh…I like that! And I just made that connection! S&M!!! That’s funny!
Underachievers: ACC – UNC, Dook, Syracuse, NC State, and Pitt. In fact, the ACC is now going to be dubbed the “Smoke and Mirrors Conference” as they have 1 team left in what was supposed to be a wide open Tourney. The Big 12: Oklahoma, Okie State, Texas, Kansas, K-State were all either 1 and done or gone before the Sweet 16! They still have 2 teams left, but for what was supposed to the toughest conference in the nation, I’m throwing the BS flag…
Holding their own: B1G schools left – 3 Michigan, Sparty and Wiscy. Only ohio fans had ohio making it to the Sweet 16…and Iowa has been a disappoint all season. The Huskers just got buzzed by a hot Baylor squad….
OVERACHIEVING: As much as I have bashed them this season, the SEC is starting to look like a relatively TOUGH OUT in this Tourney! Gators are the Gators, Kentucky knocked off the number 1 Seed, and Tennessee is in the Sweet 16 after playing their way in as an 11 Seed! Look out for the SEC and the PAC 12 – Stanford, UCLA, Zona. Luckily, Zona doesn’t have to play an in conference rival (And wouldn’t until the Championship game, if it were to happen) so that helps their chances.
The MMPG only got 9 out of 16 correct in the Sweet 16 (Which Sucks), but at least all my F4 teams are intact…However, the abysmal performance shouldn’t stop the prognostication process for this coming weekend!
Elite 8: I’m going to stick with my original predictions of Zona, Wiscy, Michigan, Louisville, ISU, Sparty, Florida and I will say….Dayton over Stanford in the South Region! (That’s 2 - TWO Double Digit Seeds going at it right there! 10 vs. 11)
Final 4: Zona – Michigan – Sparty – Florida
Michigan will have the toughest road to get to the F4 as they will have to somehow figure out a way to beat a hot Volunteer team. Then, they will have to take down the winner of the Wildcat – Cardinals match-up that everyone will be talking about because Tobacco Road is out of the tourney….Zona will have the next most difficult challenge, followed by Sparty and then Florida. Alford’s first trip to the Sweet 16 will probably end quickly as he isn’t used to coaching this late into March.
State of the Game
If I’ve said it once, it’s worth stating again. Something, ANYTHING, needs to be done about collegiate officiating. I’m not even going to state instances or anything specific because A: There were too many terrible calls over the weekend and B: Some of the bad calls were happening to teams I hate, so somehow that works for me…
But still, can’t there be a way to get some of this stuff right more often than not? I’m still most upset with the Charge – Block call as most of them that are getting called blocks are really looking a lot like charges to the MMPG….But I guess that’s the new college hoops.
It all starts again on Thursday night!