Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

How’s your bracket?

Posted by mizzou1028 on March 25, 2008

Have I mentioned how much I love the NCAA Tournament?  Have I also mentioned how it can be maddening, frustrating, and annoying while simultaneously entertaining and exhilarating?  That about sums up the first weekend of the tournament for me.  Of the 16 teams remaining in the tournament, I had only nine advancing to this point in the tournament.  How could I have thought that Clemson would make a run into the Elite Eight?  Turns out the ACC was more mediocre this year than I thought, with only North Carolina remaining in the field.  I clearly also overestimated the strength of the Big East, getting burned by Marquette, Pitt AND Georgetown, who I had going to the Final Four.  At least my championship matchup, North Carolina vs. Texas, is still intact. 

Despite my bitterness about my bracket, which is about as useful as kindling these days, it is impossible not enjoy a team like Davidson.  It is the Davidson Wildcats that are responsible for me losing a Final Four team (Georgetown).  I had heard through the grapevine that Davidson had a nice team, that they had played North Carolina and Duke close during the season, and that they were a team to watch.  I had them winning one game, which they did against fellow mid-major Gonzaga, but I didn’t think they would have a chance against the mighty Hoyas, arguably the best team from the Big East.  Perhaps my thinking might have been different had I gotten a chance to see Stephen Curry play this season.  For all the talk about sensational players around the country like Michael Beasley and Tyler Hansbrough , Curry should rank right up there the way he played in Davidson’s two tournament games.  He lit Gonzaga up for 40 points, 30 in the second half, and then scored another 30 in the upset of the Hoyas.  An acquaintance of mine who happens to be a KU fan actually uttered, “I’d much rather play Wisconsin than Davidson if we happen to beat Villanova.  I don’t think we can stop Stephen Curry.”  Never mind that Davidson is a 10 seed from the mighty Southern Conference that has a loss to Western Michigan on its resume, although granted that was early in the season.  It’s a team like Davidson that makes the tournament a special event.

We also saw something we’ve never seen in the tournament before: A pair of 12 vs. 13 matchups in the second round.  This after Western Kentucky blew a 16 point lead against Drake, than rallied to win on a 38 foot buzzer beater that will no doubt go down in tournament annals.  Meanwhile, San Diego stunned 4-seed UConn in overtime, while 4-seed Vanderbilt got run out of the gym by Siena – SIENA!  Honestly, how many of you out there had Western Kentucky, San Diego and Siena all advancing past the first round?  I actually did pick a 13-4 upset, just turns out I picked the wrong one.  I thought I had something when Winthrop was tied at the half against Washington State, but than the Eagles scored a grand total of five points in the first 15 minutes of the second half and got blown out.  Oh, and then we almost saw another 15-2 upset, and had it not been for an errant inbounds pass, Belmont would have upset powerhouse Duke. 

This year I was fortunate in that I got to see some of the tournament in person this year, attending first and second round action at the Pepsi Center in Denver.  It was just my luck though that I didn’t see any buzzer beaters or fantastic finishes or crazy upsets.  No, I sat through five blowouts and one semi-competitive game that Drew Neitzel took over as Michigan State pulled away against Pitt.  The most excitement in the day of first round action on Thursday was about 20 of us huddled around a two inch cell phone screen trying to watch the end of the Belmont-Duke game.    That being said, it is still an amazing experience to be there.  The atmosphere of an NCAA Tournament is a unique, one of a kind sports experience.  In one fell swoop, you can feel exhilaration and frustration.  It is possible to enjoy the excitement of the games while at the same time bemoaning how worthless your bracket has become.  It doesn’t matter which teams are on the court, or even who ends up winning.  The NCAA Tournament is sports at its best because of the atmosphere surrounding the event and the intensity of the competition.  I can only hope that someday soon my Missouri Tigers will once again make an appearance in this event.  Five years is a long time without your favorite team being good enough to participate.  Oh well, there is always next year. 

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