There have been a lot of good games this NCAA Tournament. We’ve even had monumental upsets like Norfolk State and Lehigh toppling Missouri and Duke respectively. A #7 seed nearly made the Final Four and we’ll have an in-state rivalry in the 1st semifinal (Louisville/Kentucky) for the first time in 50 years!
And yet, this tournament is lacking something. It’s lacking drama and excitement and it’s showing. We’ve had just one overtime game (UNC vs. Ohio) so far and it’s the lowest total in the field of 65/68 era. Even more shocking is the lack of game-winning shots in the closing seconds. Do you want to count the number of buzzer-beaters? You don’t need to. We’re currently at ZERO. That’s right, ZERO game-winning shots and zero game-tying shots in the final 5 seconds of every basketball game played thus far.
It’s just not entertaining. And the end-of-game situations have been abysmal. Wisconsin and NC State both inexplicably fired away three-pointers down just 1 with time winding down. Their seasons unsurprisingly ended. NC State in particular against Kansas managed a failed cross-court pass down by 3, only to get a 2nd chance off a missed FT and not even get a proper shot off in 3 seconds. Louisville in a winning effort had a mindless turnover up by 2 against Florida only for the Gators to immediately travel not even a second later.
I guess the opening game between Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky was a preview of what we were going to get in the few down to the wire finishes we’ve had. The Delta Devils ended the game airballing a wide-open three from the corner, capping off a collapse for the ages. While blown leads have not been a big issue, late game situation failures have been. Maybe the most prominent foul-up was when Notre Dame committed a lane violation down just 73-70 against Xavier, and promptly lost by 5 as a result.
Is it me or is this tournament just lacking that special moment? I’m not advocating another Butler story, but in general the quality of games has gone down in my view and the late-game drama that makes March Madness great has really been a disappointment.
According to Yahoo and ESPN, there are no perfect brackets left. If there are any perfect brackets not registered online I’ll consider it to be 100% lies. Tragedy struck the hearts of every college basketball bracket known to man, when little known Norfolk State stunned everyone with an 86-84 win over Missouri, marking only the 5th time a #15 seed has beaten a #2 seed. Later in the day another shocking upset occurred when #13 Ohio knocked off #4 Michigan 65-60 in Columbus, marking another upset for Ohio, who comfortably beat Georgetown as a #14 seed a few years ago. Everybody’s bracket lasted just two days.
There was reason to feel at ease with only VCU and Colorado winning of yesterday’s lower-seeds, and the referees did a magnificent job of handing Syracuse a victory over UNC-Asheville. But today saw an astonishing 8 double-digit seeded teams win, torpedoing every single bracket known to man. I, of course, managed to pick Missouri to win it all, and they decided to bow out immediately.
All is forgiven, though. With no hope of a perfect or reasonably accurate bracket in store for the majority of participants, all of the United States outside of Durham, North Carolina just got a kick out of Lehigh eliminating Duke, making it two #15 seeds advancing in one day. Oh wait, did I say Lehigh? I meant CBS Sports’ team known as “Leghigh”.
You may be upset that you’ve probably lost your office pool, but when Duke loses your despair quickly turns into smugness and joy.
It’s all come down to this. No #1 seeds are in San Antonio in this year’s edition of March Madness Simulated. Instead we have #3 Baylor, #4 Louisville, #2 Ohio State, and #2 Kansas. Who will be crowned our simulated champion? Find out after the jump.
Final region to simulate! So far, Baylor, Louisville, and Kansas have all made it to New Orleans. The East features Syracuse sans Fab Melo, so will they be able to defy odds after I’ve tinkered with their lineup to ensure he doesn’t play a second of any game? Or will Florida State or Ohio State wallop them? Heck, why wait for that when UNC-Asheville could provide the upset? Answers are after the jump. In the interest of time the recaps are going to be even shorter, especially the blowouts.
Phew! Was last night entertaining enough for you? Okay, the Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State game was a full-on car crash of a basketball game, but it featured one of the most
incredible comebacks horrible chokejobs you will ever see. Iona also solidified their case for tournament inclusion when they raced out to a 55 point first half against BYU before closing up shop the remainder of the game and losing. Two games, two come-from-behind victories, March Madness is here!
Okay, now on with the March Madness simulation. Helping me do the Midwest Region is frequent site follower/commenter/live-blog participant kt1000. Check out the results after the jump!
Baylor has advanced out of the South region, so who will prevail from the West? Michigan State is the favorite but Missouri and Marquette are also contenders to win that part of the bracket. Also featured is Murray State, having lost just 1 game all season long. Games are after the jump.