Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Hangover - Sports Addict 2010 Bracket Challenge

It’s the Degenerate Holiday Season!!! Go get your bible for the season – today’s USA Today special section which has team-by-team capsules, stats, rankings, etc. I remember in elementary school spending all morning folding up the paper so I could sneak it inside my books and notebooks to read all of the team capsules on the Monday after the brackets came out. This week I’m going to postpone the typical “Love/Hate” Monday column but it will be back next week. First some information and details of The Sports Addict Bracket Competition, then some initial thoughts on the bracket. We’ll highlight who got the benefit of the doubt and which team the selection committee treated like a baby treats a diaper. Tip your waitresses because I’ll be here all week.

The Sports Addict Bracket Competition

Here is a link to submit your bracket to compete with the rest of The Sports Addict fans – it’s free to enter and you have a chance to win swag from your favorite college team and some Sports Addict gear.

Password: Addict32

The rules of the competition are pretty simple:

1 – In order to enter, you must be either a Facebook fan of The Sports Addict or a follower of the site (through Google, Blogger, etc.) in order to qualify. Sign up via the links on the right side panel of the blog.

2 – Only one entry will be allowed per person.

3 – Title your entry with your first initial and last name or the name of the account that you follow the site with, so it is easier to contact the eventual winners

4 – Scoring will be counted by CBS’s bracket manager – points per round: 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24 and the tie breaker will be total points in the championship game.

5 – Brackets must be completed prior to tip off of the first game Thursday morning and any brackets for people that are not Facebook fans or followers on the site will be deleted.

So sign up, fill out your bracket and try and get some bragging rights. What do you have to lose? It’s free. It’s as easy as finding topless pictures of the girl that stars in She’s Out Of My League – Alice Eve. And it is also an opportunity for bragging rights and to watch me humiliate myself with an awful sheet of picks.


I will be going through and breaking down the brackets in more detail the next few days, but my initial thoughts…………..

- I am not going to spend any time on arguing who got screwed by not making the tournament. It isn’t that hard to figure out the formula: win more games, preferably against better competition than you did, and you would be in the tournament. More importantly, you’re arguing that you should be given the opportunity to lose in the first round – you’re not winning the championship anyway, so no one cares. Seth Greenberg is like Katie Holmes – you feel for them because of their unfortunate situation, but they made their own bed and they have to sleep in it.

- I never ever want to hear them talk about the “S-Curve” that they rank the teams on. It doesn’t exist. They use travel and cost savings, not an s-curve to bracket the teams. If they used an s-curve, the top #2 seed would be in the same bracket as the bottom #1 seed, or the #5 overall ranked team would be in the same bracket as the #4 overall seed, the #6 with the #3, #7 with #2 and #8 with #1. How else can you explain Ohio State being in the same bracket as the #1 overall seed, Kansas? If there were an s-curve used, that would mean Ohio State, the regular season co-champ and tourney champ in the Big Ten, would be the #8 overall seed, or the weakest of the #2 seeds. Really? You think Kansas State and Villanova, neither of whom won their regular season or tournament championships, were ranked higher? But they kept Ohio State closer to their home by having them play in Milwaukee. Don’t you think Thad Motta would gladly travel a little further to get out of the bracket with the best #1 and #3 seed (Georgetown) in their bracket? T hat is a huge mistake that completely throws off the balance of the overall tournament.

Bracket of Death: Midwest

It’s not even close. What was the reward that Kansas got for the #1 overall seed? Seeds #2-5 are all teams that won their conference regular season or tournament titles (Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan St), and a Georgetown team that made the Big East tournament final. The top 5 seeds have combined for 22 sweet sixteen and 13 final four appearances in the past 10 years. I mentioned the influence of having All-Americans last week, and this bracket alone has Sherron Collins, Greivis Vasquez, James Anderson and Evan Turner – likely all first or second-team All-Americans. Finally, this bracket also has the only team that has beaten both of the top teams in the country this season: Tennessee. The Vols beat both Kansas and Kentucky during the regular season and they were rewarded with the same seed as Notre Dame and Marquette, and behind Texas A&M.

Easiest Bracket: South

The team that got a gift as the third #1 seed ahead of Syracuse, also got the gift of the weakest bracket. The only teams in the South bracket with conference titles (regular season and/or tournament) are Duke and Purdue, and we know Purdue is not the same team that won that regular season co-championship. Villanova has to be the weakest of the #2 seeds, stumbling to the finish line of the regular season then bowing out in their first Big East tournament game. It is hard to find a team in this bracket that I like to go deep in the tournament, but someone has to win it.

Team that got treated like a baby treats a diaper: Temple

Aside from my railings above about how Ohio State got the shaft, who else got dumped on? Temple got treated like the hottest women in Hollywood get treated by John Mayer – they got screwed. Although I didn’t make many friends in Part II of my top 25 review last week with my thoughts on Temple (and I probably made a few less at the bottom of this column), the fact is that they won the regular season and tournament titles in the Atlantic-10, which should have rewarded them with a better situation than they are in. They are the #5 seed in the east bracket with a very difficult matchup in the first round against a Cornell team that Jay Bilas claimed could have been as high as a 5 seed. If they get by that matchup, they get a tough, disciplined Badger team that will not be bothered by the physical, tough defense that the Owls like to play.

Team that should be happier than a fat kid in a candy store: Baylor

Aside from Duke, who was protected like Dick Vitale was the head of the selection committee, it has to be Baylor. I mentioned last week (also in Part II) how Baylor could be a sleeper and the brackets broke really well for them. They have enough fire power to get to the sweet 16 without breaking much of a sweat (sorry Notre Dame fans), which is good for a team that has no tournament experience. Baylor reminds me of Missouri last year, another Big 12 team that earned a #3 seed, yet was not known to the national public and therefore the general population wanted to see them lose early. Look for a great guard matchup if the Bears can make their way to the sweet 16 against Villanova and their experienced backcourt.

Other random thoughts:

- Michigan coach, Jon Beilein, please report to the Athletic Director’s office immediately, and bring your office key – you won’t be needing that any more. Do you not recall the 1992 regional final game between Duke and Kentucky with the infamous Christian Laettner turnaround? Didn’t we learn that you MUST have someone guard the inbounder? Or at least put some pressure on Ohio State before midcourt? Or maybe, just maybe, consider trying to keep the ball out of Big Ten Player of the Year Evan Turner’s hands? Then why would you act surprised that Turner hit a 35 foot shot to win the game? Beilein managed the game worse than Carrie Prejean managed her time as Miss USA.

- All the fans of New Mexico were whining that they weren’t getting any respect last week, including comments like “watch them play” among their complaints. So I tuned into the MWC conference tournament final to check them out……..only they didn’t show up. They lost in the semifinals of their below-average conference tournament. It’s kind of like Kate Gosselin arguing she’s not a fame-whore when she’s neglecting her kids while she gets another make-over and trains for her Dancing With The Stars appearance (note to Kate: no matter what you do with your hair, your face and attitude are still the same, and that’s the problem). Look at the bright side Lobo fans, at least now it’s a little less embarrassing when you lose in the opening round as a #3 seed.

- Speaking of the Mountain West, maybe Jon Beilein should get ready to coach in the MWC. Why? Well in the conference tournament final, it was a coaching matchup of former Big Ten flameouts Lon Kruger (current UNLV coach, former Illinois coach) and Steve Fisher (current San Diego St coach and former Michigan coach). And who is the coach of New Mexico, the team that lost in the semis? Former Iowa failure Steve Alford. Does Steve Yoder coach at TCU? Or Clem Haskins at Wyoming?

- Temple has a chance to go fairly deep in the tournament, and a big part of that is their guard Juan Fernandez. He reminds me of Manu Ginobili in that he has that awkward, herky-jerky game filled with off-balance shots that look horrendous, yet manage to go in more often than not. He is one of those guys in the rec center where you don’t pick him for your team because he’s not big, fast or strong, then he’s on the other team and he lights you up with an array of shots that leave you shaking your head in disgust and disappointment. Also – what was up with the United Nations convention that broke out after Temple won the game? Players were wearing flags from all over the world on the court to celebrate. As my brother sent me in a text: “That’s because no one from this country wanted to go there.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Check back all week as we break down all the games, and find all the information you need to dominate your pool. And you could win The Sports Addict bracket and collect some free gear.

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