If you think I have some thoughts, you thought right. I think.
Let’s just get this out of the way: someone at Duke called in some serious favors. It’s one thing if they had earned the top overall seed to be rewarded like that. But there were reasonable voices who said, on Sunday, that Duke was not deserving of a #1 seed. The way their bracket looks, I’m surprised the committee didn’t do a last second switch and move some games to Greensboro or Charlotte, too.
Whatever. Fuck Duke. KU earned the top overall seed fair-and-square: they won the most difficult league in the country by four games, won the Big 12 tournament, and earned 13 wins over RPI top 50 teams. The reward, as we had hoped all year, is playing in Oklahoma City and, should we advance, in St. Louis. Easy trips for the team, close enough so there should be a lot of blue in the stands. Doesn’t matter who we play, as far as I’m concerned. We may not be flashy, but we win. Our schedule has prepared us for three two game tournaments against the toughest competition. We should be ready.
Looking at the Midwest, it’s a tough bracket. Northern Iowa could be waiting in the second round, and they’re tough and experienced. We know UNLV from two years ago. Michigan State has been a bit of a mystery this season, but Izzo’s teams are never an easy out. Last year they were tougher than us. This year…? Maryland is a quality team. Georgetown has been rounding into shape. And Ohio State is built around, arguably, the best player in the country.
What I like about the draw is that those are name teams. This year’s team tends to play to its competition. I think they’ll be properly focused because of the names on the front of the jerseys of their opponents.
That is, of course, if we can break our Patriot League opponent in OKC jinx. Rhode Island was in OKC, too. Damn.
I’ll do full picks later this week, but for now I’m going to do what I hope the team is doing: enjoying the memories of the last four months for one last night, getting some rest, and then preparing for the most important three weeks of the year. I’d like to have a lot of plans downtown Easter weekend.