My Noles went into Gainesville tonight against #5 UF and won by 17. Now 7-0 and lookin' good. The UF class of 2018 never experienced a win over FSU in either football or men's basketball. Luckily, my daughter is class of '19, so there is always next year.

The ACC-Big 10 Challenge was also a mismatch this year with the ACC taking it by a record 11-3. The Big 10 may still end up getting the last laugh, as Michigan State is ultra impressive with a dominating front court and looks destined for the Final Four and a sure title contender. Duke is also very impressive with their super Frosh Bagley.
Original Post
Yes, I’m pleasantly impressed with my Spartans this year.
The MSU-Duke game looked like a battle of serious heavyweights. The game was even most of the way, with the difference being MSU missing a couple of open 3’s down the stretch. MSU throttled UNC and Notre Dame to go 2-1 against top-10 ranked opponents so far this pre-season. Izzo’s toughest job will be keeping his kids focused as they play through a relatively “down” Big Ten Conference this year.
The Gators have been a confounding team to put it mildly. They started the year with a bang, blowing out teams with a barrage of threes. They then won a classic against Gonzaga in Portland (no way a neutral site) before blowing a late lead against Duke. There were visions of deep March runs but then FSU and Loyola exposed them. They fought back last night with a gut check win against a ranked Cincinnati squad, shooting far less threes. They need center John Egbunu back in the worst way.

The SEC is vastly improved this year with as many as seven teams making the dance, and I am not including last year final four participant South Carolina.
I have tried to make sense of this season and cannot at all. I know that it is wide open, more than usual. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 are the best leagues. If you had to pick teams at the top you would go with Villanova and Virginia, but UVa is a team I have to see do well in the tourney to believe it. Duke has the talent but has to mature. We will see in February who can rise to the top.
My point was was they now have the best resume, not about their tourney chances. Yes, recent UVA teams have not made it as far as expected, but none of those teams won at Duke, who is better this year than the last two years and probably the hardest place to win in the country.
And Bagley still had the kind of day (30 pts, 14 RB, 2/4 3 pt) that makes him the #1 draft pick. In their previous game, they beat #18 Clemson 61-36. They would be favored over every team in the country right now on a neutral court.
FSU up on UVA by 10 at the half, but lose by 4 at the end. Villanova loses to St John's so UVA takes #1 spot they deserved 2 weeks ago. St John's had not won a single game of the 9 played in 2018 and then beat #4 Duke & #1 Villanova in consecutive games. So goes the 2018 season.

My son will be in the student section behind the basket for the UNC-Duke game Thursday which means a lot to him as he missed last season's NC run as he was studying abroad. Both sons and mom and dad will be at the NC State-UNC game Saturday. Enjoying this season with all the unexpected results.
quote:
Originally posted by BRR:
My UW huskies beat #25 Arizona State at home and then, a few days later, beat #9 Arizona at home. Come Tuesday morning this week...they're STILL NOT RANKED!!! What gives?!?

...aaaaand then, last night, they get shellacked by an unranked Oregon Ducks squad. Barf. That's probably why they shouldn't be ranked. Hell, I just want them to make the tournament for the first time in several years!
Here we are, what CBB has become, the best playoff in sports. It does diminish from the regular season, but the payoff may be worth it. Here are my initial thoughts concerning my teams, and I will give my tourney preview on Wednesday after digesting the "experts" shows.

Am I ever proud of Davidson. They needed to win the Atlantic 10 tourney to make the dance and they did it, beating St Bonnie and Rhode Island. In fact, the Cats beat RI twice in a week and are very deserving of their bid. When Davidson jumped up from their Southern Conference roots to the A10 there was trepidation, but they have competed very well in this league. Hopefully the Cats can continue to build on their success and recruit better players to establish themselves as a solid mid-major. Anything else is a bonus for this team. #CatsAreWild.

From there we go to the roller coaster that is the Florida Gators. When on, meaning Jalen Hudson and Kevaughn Allen are nailing threes, the Gators can play and beat anyone. However, when this does not occur, the Gators can lose to anyone. I think that they can win two games and get to the second weekend, but no result in any game will surprise me. Such is life with a team whose best big men were injured and unable to play all year.

Finally, a shout out to the SEC for sending a record 8 teams to the tourney.
The UMBC team (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) made the dance, and play Virginia in the opening round. Don't expect an upset here.

UMBC has a total enrollment of about 11,000 undergrads. The freshman class this past year is over 50% minority.
Typically, the UMBC chess team wins national championships, the swimming and diving team does as well. UMBC is the nation’s #1 producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete MD/PhDs.
The faculty has won lots of awards and grants.

They can't possibly beat Virginia though.
My bracket picks and overall thoughts.

This is always a guessing game, but more so this year as parity is at an all time high. Despite that, there are certain teams that you trust this time of year and that is my deciding factor in my picks. Last year most brackets were trash by the second weekend and this could be the case this year as well.

South Region

While I am impressed by Virginia winning both the ACC regular season and tourney, I still think that their lack of an elite prospect and their limited scoring ability will get them in the end. The Wahoos rely on dictating their tempo and one game will get away from them. Besides, they lost their most athletic player, 6th man, Hunter for the season yesterday. As such, I have Arizona beating Tenn for the region. Arizona is on a mission with embattled coach Sean Miller, caught for something many are doing. I do have Davidson upsetting Kentucky only because I am wishing it true.

West Region

Xavier is #1 seed and not winning it. Michigan is a trendy pick, but I went with last years title game, UNC and Gonzaga with the Zags getting revenge and advancing. UNC-Mich will be a great game, but I trust Joel Berry to win this one for Ol Roy.

East Region

Villanova is the #1 seed that advances to San Antonio. I have the Gators losing to them in the Elite 8 for two reasons, one a wish and two that is where they usually end up. The likely opponent for Nova is Purdue.

Midwest Region

A loaded region with three title coaches in Self, K and Izzo. I have Sparty beating both Duke and Kansas to advance. Izzo got a huge break when Miles Bridges decided to return to Mich St and Izzo will take advantage of that. Most of my upsets are picked in this region.

In the FF, I picked Gonzaga to best Arizona to reach the finals for the second consecutive year. I picked Sparty to edge Nova to meet the Zags. I then have Sparty winning it all. Either two or three years ago everyone picked Sparty and they lost early. Who knows but it is always fun.
quote:
Originally posted by bhauk:
Ohio State's coach made an ass of himself in his post-game interview. What a clown! Let's hope Gonzaga wipes the floor with them like they did earlier in the season.


I must've missed that part of the interview. I did hear him say that he appreciated all of the doubters because it gave his team fuel.
quote:
Originally posted by Jcocktosten:
quote:
Originally posted by irwin:
Loyola of Chicago?
Huh?


Was probably the most picked upset - this was not much of a surprise


I see that President Obama picked Loyola. (He also picked Arizona to go to the final 4)
Yes, Arizona is gone and Gonzaga barely made it. The Pac 12 is pathetic this year. Not only did they miss getting a team in the CFB Playoff, I think they only won one bowl game and now they exit the entire hoops tourney on day one.

Many teams broke droughts with wins yesterday including Loyola (had that one), Houston and Alabama (sure there are a few others). Davidson did fine but Kentucky has too many athletes. The Gators got going late to win nicely.
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
Yes, Arizona is gone and Gonzaga barely made it. The Pac 12 is pathetic this year. Not only did they miss getting a team in the CFB Playoff, I think they only won one bowl game and now they exit the entire hoops tourney on day one.

Many teams broke droughts with wins yesterday including Loyola (had that one), Houston and Alabama (sure there are a few others). Davidson did fine but Kentucky has too many athletes. The Gators got going late to win nicely.


I thought Davidson hanging tough with Kentucky was pretty impressive
quote:
Originally posted by irwin:
The UMBC team (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) made the dance, and play Virginia in the opening round. Don't expect an upset here.

UMBC has a total enrollment of about 11,000 undergrads. The freshman class this past year is over 50% minority.
Typically, the UMBC chess team wins national championships, the swimming and diving team does as well. UMBC is the nation’s #1 producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete MD/PhDs.
The faculty has won lots of awards and grants.

They can't possibly beat Virginia though.

Good morning, Irwin.
Smile
quote:
Originally posted by billhike:
quote:
Originally posted by irwin:
The UMBC team (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) made the dance, and play Virginia in the opening round. Don't expect an upset here.

UMBC has a total enrollment of about 11,000 undergrads. The freshman class this past year is over 50% minority.
Typically, the UMBC chess team wins national championships, the swimming and diving team does as well. UMBC is the nation’s #1 producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete MD/PhDs.
The faculty has won lots of awards and grants.

They can't possibly beat Virginia though.

Good morning, Irwin.
Smile


Yeah, I nailed that one! Tied at the half, and then blew out Virginia in the 2nd half by 20.
74 points is the most Virginia gave up all year. 2 months ago, UMBC lost a game to Albany by 44 points.
Golly.
I may have not gotten the teams correct (although I am 61% in my brackets to date), but I got the overall gist of the tourney right. I told you guys that I did not trust Virginia. The lack of elite athletes will bite you in a playoff setting. However, no one expected them to become the first 1 to lose to a 16, and it was not even close. Tony Bennett better change his system fast because someone will score more than 60 points on you when it counts.

Brief summary of seeds remaining - 1-3, 2-4, 3-4 and 4-2, so only three top 16 seeds are out. 5-4 (no 12 seeds won unusual), 6-2, 7-3, 8-1, 9-3, 10-1, 11-2, 13-2 of course 16-1.

The conferences are too diverse to count, but I think that the ACC and SEC each have 6 teams still left.

On a personal note, I know two of the coaches involved in yesterday's upset. Dan D'Antoni of Marshall coached locally at Socastee HS for 30 years (yes, Hunter Renfrow's school). Coach D then went to the NBA and was an assistant to brother Mike for a few years before taking the job at his alma mater Marshall. I am so happy for him. I did not know where Ryan Odom had landed, but I immediately recognized him on the sideline last night. About 15 years ago he sat in the stands with me at the annual Beach Ball Classic when he was an assistant recruiting. I met him briefly a few years later and he remembered the night. His dad coached at Wake, and maybe Ryan will follow him.

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