Five Things We Learned From The First Weekend Of The NCAA Tournament

The first weekend-plus of the NCAA men’s tournament has come to an end and, as usual, there has been a lot of madness. People across the country have, as usual, already torn up their brackets and have started cheering for the upsets. We’ve learned a lot from the first rounds of the tournament, so let’s review.

Michigan State Wins In March

As long as Tom Izzo is the coach of Michigan State never count out the Spartans. Michigan State is now heading into their seventh Sweet 16 in eight years. The Spartans entered the tournament as a seventh seed in their region, a reflection of a mediocre Big Ten season, but have quickly become a sexy pick to advance potentially to the Final Four. It, of course, helps that Villanova fell, but some people knew that would happen.

Sexy Picks Will Turn On You

In a world where we all try to win our bracket pools by not selecting the obvious number one seeds to win, every year we learn that the sexy picks aren’t the way to win it. Big time sexy picks like Iowa State and Butler didn’t make it out of the first round and Louisville knocked out the under-the-radar sexy pick Northern Iowa on Sunday. Sexy picks are fun, but they are more flash than substance sometimes.

ACC = Amazing Collegiate Conference

Notre Dame, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Louisville and Duke all hail from the ACC and they all stand tall in the Sweet 16.  Many are in position to advance to the Elite Eight. North Carolina will not be favored in a matchup against number one seed Wisconsin and Louisville and North Carolina State faceoff against each other, but the ACC looks to be stronger than ever and will be a big part of your television viewing for the rest of March.

The Committee Sometimes Knows

When the bracket came out, many where crying about the fact that UCLA made the tournament and I was one of those making noise. UCLA has made us all eat crow as they are one of the lucky 16 remaining teams. UCLA was a benefactor of pulling their own upset over Larry Brown and SMU and being paired in the bracket with the Iowa State upset brought by UAB to allow UCLA to advance, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Don’t Get Emotionally Attached To A Team

I’m a Minnesota Golden Gopher fan and March is usually pretty depressing because the Gophers never seem to make the NCAA Tournament. Over the years I’ve adopted Iowa State, thanks to former Minnesota Timberwolves’ great Fred Hoiberg, Kansas, Minnesota’s own Cole Aldrich, and Northern Iowa, the run a couple years ago and not realizing there was ANOTHER Division 1 team in Iowa. I go into the second weekend without any emotional ties to any team. I love coach Izzo at Michigan State, I like cheering for Rick Pitino since his son, Richard, is at Minnesota and I picked Duke to win it all, but I won’t shed any tears or it won’t ruin my day if any of these schools lose. I am now in an emotionless tournament.

The beautiful thing about basketball is that you can watch any level and learn something from it. You can watch a 5th grade basketball tournament and be amazed by a pass and you can watch the best college athletes and be amazed by the coaching. Basketball is beautiful. Strategy, skill and slam dunks: basketball is always the sexy pick.

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NCAA Selection Committee Screwed Up Perfection

The Kentucky Wildcats are heading into the NCAA tournament as the number one overall seed on the men’s side and there was really no question about it. Kentucky is stacked and is the odds on favorite to win the madness. They are getting the respect that they deserve and that they have earned.

There’s another team in Division 1 college basketball that went undefeated. They didn’t get the respect that they deserve.

The Princeton Tigers women’s basketball team completed a perfect season. 30 wins and no losses. Perfection.

Princeton was seeded as an eight seed in the NCAA tournament. That means the selection committee thinks that at least 28 teams are better than the undefeated Tigers. The selection committee selected 28 teams before a team with the best record in the nation.

That’s ridiculous.

Princeton is a member of the Ivy league which isn’t an athletic power-conference, but it is respectable. Princeton even played a non-conference schedule full of schools that people have actually heard of including Wake Forest, Georgetown, Michigan and a Pittsburgh team that is a 10 seed in the bracket with a 9-7 record in their conference.

There’s an argument to be had that Princeton doesn’t deserve a one seed in the tournament. UConn only has one loss and Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland all have two losses, but those are the only records that possibly can squeak ahead of perfection.

Two seed Tennessee has five losses, Florida State has four losses, Baylor has three… all sort of acceptable, but Kentucky has nine losses with a 10-6 conference record. Princeton has to be better than that.

I am not going to claim that I am an expert on women’s college basketball, but I do believe that an undefeated record should be respected to some extent. Princeton might not win the tournament, but they deserve way better than a seed that says their season was middle of the pact. Just look at some of the scores they put up in their road to perfection.

The perfect season ending in a national championship has happened 11 times in women’s college basketball, only six times by a team that is not the Connecticut Huskies. Six more times a team has entered the tournament undefeated and lost in the tournament. My point is that an undefeated season is not exactly common.

It should be recognized and not just thrown in the middle of the tournament as an afterthought.

At least Princeton was thought of unlike the 1983 Oral Roberts women’s team. That year Oral Roberts also went undefeated, but was not selected to the tournament at all. 36 teams were deemed better than an undefeated team.

The NCAA is a screwed up collection of people, but who knew that they could screw up perfection.

Perfect NCAA Bracket Now Means a Billion Dollars

Think you know college basketball? Well, you could win a billion dollars for your smarts. I’m not kidding.

Renowned business man Warren Buffett has teamed up with Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and founder of Quicken Loans, to offer the contest. All that entrants have to do is get a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket. That’s all.

The USA Today says your odds are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to get a perfect bracket. That long number is 9.2 quintillion, so if you don’t fill out a perfect bracket, you will at least have that knowledge.

Although the chances of filling out a perfect bracket aren’t great, it’s worth a shot because the 20 closest entrants to perfection will receive $100,000, which has to go towards building a home, refinancing a home or remodeling a home, but still its $100,000.

Another catch is you have to be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen, so kids must steal their parents’ identities for one more thing on the internet.

Additionally, Gilbert will be donating a million dollars to nonprofits in Detroit and Cleveland to help education in the inner city which is pretty cool.

The bill more than likely will only end up being four million dollars, assuming no one that enters the tournament actually gets that billion dollars, two million will go to the 20 runner-ups and the other two million will go to charity.

Gilbert and Buffett can find the four million dollars in their couch cushions, so this really won’t be putting a crunch on either of their wallets. It’s a neat deal that will get people to Quicken Loans website and make us further forget about the Cavs actually not winning a championship before LeBron.

The press release was not typed in Comic Sans.