Friday, March 29, 2013

NCAA updates and predictions

Down goes another #1 and #2. Indiana's finest got chucked into the Wabash. Head coach Tom Crean's boys got creamed. The Hoosiers were hosed. This happened at the hands of  #4 Syracuse, which is a quirky team itself. In various games over the year, sometimes they've looked like Orange Crush, and other times more like Orange Marmalade. Tough to predict what Jim Boeheim's squad will do on any given day. They'll face off for a spot in the Final Four against...

#3 Marquette, which caned the 'Canes of #2 Miami. Perhaps there's something to be said for Milwaukee's finest, though I personally always thought that particular brew was nasty. At any rate, weird geography aside, both Syracuse and Marquette are from the Big East conference, so it seems only fitting one of them should emerge from the eastern regional of the tournament and go on to the Final Four in Atlanta. That game depends on one thing. If the Crush shows up, they win. If the Marmalade shows up, they lose.

Out in the west, #2 Ohio State squeaked by #6 Arizona and #9 Wichita State blistered upstart #13 Lasalle. In the regional finals it is the Shockers of Wichita State that will get zapped by the Buckeyes.

The Midwest regional is interesting. Michigan State squares off against Duke. Brains against toughness. A storied program vs one that never seems to get the respect they should have earned. One that plays their home games not far from a bunch of state owned "god's country" and the other not far from a bunch of state politician country. Not counting all the canned goods on supermarket shelves, there's no such thing as a Spartan anymore. And what's up with the Blue Devil thing? People turn blue when they're very cold. The Devil is supposed to reside amongst fire and brimstone -- which is red hot. Beats me. Maybe that's why they call them student athletes. If they stay in school long enough, hopefully their highly educated minds will be able to unravel such enigmas and explain it to the rest of us lowly schmucks. The Dukies obviously have the superior coach. Say "Coach K" and everybody knows who you're talking about. Say "Coach I" and few would have a clue. But in a mild upset, I'm liking the green over the blue. Regardless, neither one will get past #1 Louisville in the regional finals. They face off in the semis against #12 Oregon. Duck hunting season is now open. Nuff said. Speaking of Blue....

#4 Michigan takes on #1 Kansas in the southern regional. The over-hyped at every opportunity against the steady as she goes year after year. Flash against substance. Kansas features a bunch of seniors and a freshman guard that not many have heard of, but might be an NBA top 5 lottery pick. Michigan features some freshmen, a couple second-generation guys named after their more famous fathers, and a highly-touted sophomore guard that gets a lot of press coverage, but methinks is vastly overrated. Prediction? At least the Wolverines get to play in Jerry Jones' palace down in Big D. But for only one game. They're going down to the Jayhawks, which means they'll never get to face the winner of...

#3 Florida vs this year's Cinderella #15 Florida Gulf Coast. FGC is the first #15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet 16. Handily defeating #2 Georgetown in their opening game was quite an eye-opener. These guys are good. Not only that, they've got confidence and even a bit of swagger. Can a little school that's only been in existence since the Clinton administration possibly take down an in-state behemoth that dates back to pre-civil war days?  Maybe, but I wouldn't count on it. The Eagles get snapped up in the jaws of the Gators.

And, of course, as yours truly has often owned up to before --- I have an incredible track record -- of picking losers. So perhaps the best thing you can do is take all the above predictions, turn them upside down, and bet everything you have on the other team.

Either that, or save your money and just kick back with a beer to enjoy the action. But I still don't recommend Milwaukee's Finest. Yuck.

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