Monday, March 25, 2013

March Madness - First Weekend Thoughts

  • Having won the prestigious Frissora Gaming Enterprises March Madness Pool (an FGE "Major") last year, I am so far down the track this year that, well, if I was a horse, I'd be headed to the Elmer's Glue Factory post haste.
  • I have never been one to watch sports events in sports bars, but I have to say that spending last Thursday and Friday afternoons at different establishments on the North Shore with friends was a fun way to go.  Already looking forward to next year.
  • The Pitt loss sure was a disappointment, and it wasn't just the fact that they lost.  They looked really bad in doing so.
  • Still, do not count me among the "Jamie Must Go" multitudes.  Good for Pitt for inking him to that long term extension right away, not that long term contracts mean anything if Dixon decides he wants to coach somewhere else (see Howland, Ben and Graham, Todd).
  • I wasn't sure how I felt when the NCAA went to four networks for coverage of the first two rounds a few years back, but I have to tell you, I now think it is terrific.
  • Showing the scores on screen of the other games being played and indicating which network it is on absolutely defines the term "viewer friendly".
  • Marv Albert remains one of my favorite announcers to listen to, but HD television does him no favors.  How many pounds of pancake makeup do you suppose are applied to Marv's mug before each game?
  • Speaking of Marv, this great quote from Facebook friend Fred Egler:  "Listening to Marv Albert and Steve Kerr broadcast a game makes you realize what a worthless windbag Dick Vitale is."  WORTHLESS WINDBAG!  I love it.
  • Has any athlete rehabilitated his image more than Charles Barkley?  If you remember Sir Charles' playing days, he was more likely to be in the news for throwing some guy through a barroom window than for anything he did on the court.  Now, there are few guys I'd rather listen to when discussing basketball.  Insightful and entertaining.
  • Speaking of commercials, how about the Applebee's one with Digger Phelps and Bobby Knight, where Phelps explodes at Knight, knocks over a chair, and ends with Knight saying "That's no way to throw a chair."  I laughed at first, but then thought, they are glorifying one of the most boorish and offensive acts of bad sportsmanship ever seen.  Knight was a great coach, but he was, first and foremost, a jerk.
  • Speaking of commercials, part 2.  I absolutely love those AT&T commercials where the guy talks to four little kids.  Everyone of those commercials, and there seems to be dozens of them, are terrific.  The kids are great and so is the guy who plays it completely straight the entire time.  Great campaign.
  • Even though Georgetown's loss to Florida Gulf Coast killed both Marilyn's and my brackets, I am glad that they are not around to possibly meet Syracuse in the final four.  I could not have taken another "this is the last time these two Big East giants will meet" story lines.  I think that they have already met for the "last time" about a half dozen times this season.
  • Speaking of Syracuse, I never had any great feelings, pro or con, about Jim Boeheim, but I am really getting tired of his constant whining about Syracuse leaving the Big East and going to the ACC "all because of football".  Shut up, Coach.  Believe it or not, YOU have a boss, and that boss has decided to switch conferences.  Like it or leave.  If he does hang it up after this season and not coach the team in the ACC, I will applaud him for having the courage of his convictions.  If he does stay on as coach, well, then you know the old joke: We already know what you are, now we're just negotiating the price.
  • The Sweet Sixteen is now made up of some of the Usual Suspects: Louisville, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State et al.  There are also some real surprises: La Salle, Wichita State, and, most of all, Florida Gulf Coast University.  I am sure that FGSU will become everyone's sentimental choice, but I recall the words of some pundit that I heard prior to the tournament.  Early round upsets are fun and exciting, but if those schools continue to advance, it can make for a pretty bad Final Four.
  • Having been educated by the Christian Brothers in high school, and having an older brother who graduated from La Salle, the Explorers are the team that has had my rooting interest since their Play In game.  None of their wins have been easy, but they sure have been entertaining and exciting.
  • My original Final Four called for Duke, Ohio State, Georgetown, and Indiana, with Duke beating Indiana in the final.  So, I have three of four and both finalists still alive.  Too little, too late.
  • Marilyn's picks were Michigan State, New Mexico, Georgetown, and Syracuse, with Georgetown over Michigan State in the final.  Needless to say, she is NOT a fan of Harvard or FGSU.
  • If I was starting today, having watched this weekend and with just this sixteen team format, I think that I would go with Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, and Miami, with Miami over Louisville in the final.
  • And need I remind everyone that Robert Morris takes on Providence in a second round NIT game at 7:00 tonight on ESPNews.  Go Colonials!!!

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