Day three, and the first marathon of the tournament. I hung in there pretty valiantly, but must admit I packed things in about 11:15 eastern when none of the games were particularly close. Fortunately I didn’t miss any amazing comebacks or crazy last-second shots.
All-in-all, it was a kind of boring day. There were a couple close games, a couple other that had moments of entertainment. But for the first time in three years, I did not lose a Final Four or Elite 8 team in the opening hours of the tourney. Not that I’m complaining about that.
I was checking my brackets this morning and surprised at one pick. Apparently in my rush to get everything locked in yesterday morning, I picked Maryland to go to the Sweet 16 in one of my pools but not the other. Sadly the one I picked them over Florida State, who I meant to pick, in the higher money pool. Not that I’m going to win either, but there’s a good lesson there, kids: always double-check your work.
That pool is run through CBS Sports. As some of you know, that site crashed about an hour before the first game tipped off and was unavailable for over an hour. Maybe I should be glad I rushed my picks through while I still had the chance.
On to the games…
As I mentioned, one of C’s classmates has an older brother who plays for Princeton, so I paid extra attention to the first game of the day. Unfortunately, big brother had kind of a rough game. He went 2–11 from the field and finished with 7 points. And he was the kid who got the great look from 3 as the clock wound down, but just missed a potential game-winning shot. I was up out of my seat, half-yelling as he let his shot fly. “OOOOOOOHHHH-awwwwwwwww.”
C said their class got to watch most of the game. Actually, sounds like most of the school got to watch as least part of the game. She was pretty confused by most of what was going on, and argued with her sisters about some of the details after school. Making things more confusing, not everyone in her class was rooting for Princeton. As you might expect at a Catholic school in Indiana, a number of kids were pulling for the Irish.
The end of the Northwestern-Vanderbilt game was also quite exciting. I had to get up from the dinner table to watch the final moments. Like about half of the games I watched yesterday, this one featured a kid from Indiana in a prominent role. Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh is from Greensburg, and I covered one of his games way back when he was a junior there. I’ve followed him closely ever since, as he ever-so-slightly resembles a good friend of mine from college. I was glad to see McIntosh hit the game winning free throws.
Of course, it really sucked how he got to the line. Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Harris apparently misheard his coach, lost track of the score, or just lost his mind and immediately fouled McIntosh after Vanderbilt had just taken the lead with 15-ish seconds left. Poor kid.
I don’t understand why everyone assumes Jeff Capel will be the next Duke coach. He was a complete failure at Oklahoma despite a roster filled with talent. How does Duke not hire Chris Collins when Coach K finally decides to retire?
The other super entertaining game of the day was Middle Tennessee and Minnesota. The Blue Raiders are a hell of a lot of fun to watch. They seemed to be putting the wood to the Gophers, but Minnesota put a huge run together midway through the second half to make it fun again. And then Middle Tennessee did more Middle Tennessee stuff to put the game away. Of course, seems like most people picked this upset, so that makes it slightly less fun. Also less fun is that they play Butler next.
What a day for Indiana! Butler, Purdue, and Notre Dame all win and IU fires Tom Crean! Some year for Crean. He opens the year on the hot seat, immediately beats KU. Then loses to Ft. Wayne. Then beats North Carolina. Then loses to Butler and Louisville. Then has a handful of crippling injuries, his team falls apart on him, they miss the tournament, refuse to host an NIT game, lose to Georgia Tech, and he loses his job. I have a feeling someone will hire him rather soon. For the thousandth time I thank the Hoops Gods that Bill Self was up for replacing Roy Williams 14 years ago and KU didn’t go with Crean, who was rumored to have been their second choice.
Brad Stevens is not taking the IU job. And I seriously doubt Steve Alford is leaving the comfy confines of Westwood and the pool of talent that hides his many coaching weaknesses, to return home. Gregg Marshall, Chris Mack, or Tony Bennett would be my top three choices if I was in charge of things in Bloomington.
We got teased a little as both Gonzaga and Villanova had shaky first halves, but then got their shit together and routed their opening opponents.
Beyond that, a pretty pedestrian day. Does that mean wackiness is in order for today? Or that this is going to be a pretty sedate first weekend of the tournament?
One of my favorite things about watching games is all the nutty hair that kids are showing off these days. Minnesota was a team-full of Sideshow Bobs. VCU had a kid with Sideshow Bob hair and a crazy, James Harden beard. There are bleached dreads, puffy Afros, and Kid ’n’ Play fades. Good times.
I expressed my disappointment in so many kids wearing short-shorts again to a college buddy. He pointed out the irony that his dad used to complain about our generation wearing long shorts, and now that we’re older, we’re bitching about kids wearing a different style.
Current KU Mood: Can we just get on the court and play some fucking basketball?
I’ll likely do doing daily recaps over the weekend, so check back.
- Florida State, Xavier, and Virginia all start kids from Indy. ↩