The Confidential

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Archive for the tag “march madness”

A Sweet Sweet 16

Say what you will about the way the selection committee selected and seeded this years tournament, whether they seeded for TV match ups or not, but it was an incredible opening  weekend. It featured a record six over time games and ample upsets for the underdog lovers. Our beloved ACC is down to Virginia and Louisville and the SEC went 7-0, who would’ve guessed that? The new Big East has been eliminated while the rest of the power conferences has lost at least half of their teams. The Sweet 16 is dominated by the power conferences with the lone exceptions being Dayton and San Diego State.
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Confidential Bracket: Final!

Well, it’s over.  Louisville represented the future ACC well by defeating Michigan of the imperialist Big 10.  So that’s a double victory for ACC fans.

Winners bracket proved prophetic by, well, winning.  So that individual wins the prize.

If you liked participating in this, please leave a comment below.  We’ll try to do more of them…

Rank
Bracket
1
2
3
4
Semis
Finals
Bonus Pts
Total Pts
1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 8 13 21 (Louisville) 30 184
2
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 16 13 21 (Louisville) 23 166
3
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 16 26 21 (Louisville) 17 160
4
Florida State
50 30 20 16 13 0 (Kansas) 29 158
5
LenVILLE
48 30 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 18 153
6
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 16 13 0 (Syracuse) 21 153
7
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 8 13 21 (Louisville) 16 147
8
Maverick
44 30 20 8 13 21 (Louisville) 8 144
9
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 16 13 21 (Louisville) 11 143
10
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 16 13 0 (Syracuse) 17 143
11
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 0 132
12
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 8 13 21 (Louisville) 0 132
13
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 8 0 0 (Syracuse) 23 128
14
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 16 0 0 (Syracuse) 17 127
15
QBcuse
36 27 10 8 13 21 (Louisville) 4 119
16
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 0 0 0 (Indiana) 18 112
17
win prizes
40 30 20 0 0 0 (Gonzaga) 20 110
18
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 0 0 0 (Georgetown) 12 106
19
KAOS
36 30 20 8 0 0 (Georgetown) 12 106
20
*Commander Caffrey
38 27 10 8 13 0 (Indiana) 8 104
21
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 0 0 0 (Duke) 18 103
22
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 0 0 0 (Miami (FL)) 20 103
23
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 0 0 0 (Kansas) 16 101
24
mikemab wolf
42 27 20 0 0 0 (Ohio St.) 6 95
25
BeerThirty
40 27 15 0 0 0 (Miami (FL)) 8 90

ACC Fans… Are You Rooting For Syracuse and Louisville?

There is no secret here… Syracuse is joining the ACC later in 2013 and Louisville will be joining in 2014.  While the two went to bowls games this past season in football, both schools are known for having near-elite, if not elite, basketball programs.  It is not the least bit surprising that Syracuse and Louisville are part of this Final Four.  The question is whether YOU, the grizzled ACC fan raised on a rivalry with the Big East, will be rooting for Syracuse.

The Confidential will argue that you should  A Syracuse-Louisville matchup will look that much better for the 2013-2014 preseason.  Recruiting battles can be won by these two schools if they meet in the Championship game. Sure, these recruiting battles may be won anyway–but why not want them to have every edge.  You WANT these programs to be good.

The SEC is a great football conference because it is so very deep.  The Big East has been a great basketball conference because of its depth.  The ACC needs to put together that kind of basketball depth too.  The football should be deep, but it just is not there yet. Until the football teams rise up in out-of-conference games and the best programs stop getting upset, the ACC will have to ride its basketball teams.

Well, that starts this weekend.   Syracuse and Louisville may not have placed in the ACC standings in 2012-2013 (except here, of course), but they will be soon enough.  The better they do, the better for the ACC.

So you tell us… if you are not a fan of Syracuse or Louisville, are you going to be rooting for your future ACC brethren this weekend?

 

The Other Final Four Story

Update II: Disregard the below.  The CBI is a 3-game format.  Good grief. 

Update: Congratulations to the Broncos of Santa Clara for winning the CBI.

THE FINAL FOUR is in Atlanta this weekend.  But it is not the only final four in March.  There are three other tournaments, including the venerable National Invitational Tournament (the “NIT”), still ongoing.  The other two tournaments are the CIT and the CBI.  There are more champions to be crowned.

For the NIT, Big 10 basketball is coming to your television set tomorrow.  Although it is unclear who televises the NIT, the NIT semifinals include a barn-burner between Iowa-Maryland.  It is a barn-burner in the sense that, if Iowa loses, they will set their barns on fire.  Maryland, cash poor after being incompetently run for a long long time in the ACC for all these years, does not even have barns.  Yet.  So this is far from a true, double-barn barn-burner.  In any event, this matchup promises to be a preview of all the great Maryland-Iowa rivalry games to be seen in the future.  Jim Delaney must be so very proud.

If one game has a rather plain Big 10 aftertaste, the other game has some Big XII intrigue.  Current Big XII power Baylor takes on a school that most expansion experts like to shift right into a non-existent Big XII vacancy, Brigham Young University.  So we are looking at an NIT final–on whatever day the NIT final is–between teams between the Big 10 (kinda) and the Big XII (OK, a stretch).  One of these teams will take home the crown of being #69.  Commence giggling.

The CIT and CBI are both are past the final four stage.  The CIT is down to its final game, featuring a future member of the “Big East Leftovers,” East Carolina, and Weber State.  We are not sure what the CIT was thinking, they are holding this game on the same day as the NIT semifinals.  A lot of tough remote control decisions across America.

Did you know?  There is no state named Weber.  Weber State is in Utah. 

Meanwhile, the CBI, which may stand for the Cinderella Basketball Invitation, will hold a championship game between George Mason and Santa Clara.  Santa Clara made a name for itself by beating #2 seed, Arizona, in the 1993 Big Dance.  George Mason made a name for itself a few years ago, with a magical run to the Final Four.

Did you know?  The CBI Tournament Championship Game was actually last night.  Do you know who won?  Seriously, let us know.  It’s hard to find the scores on ESPN.com. 

While the festivities in Atlanta promise to be memorable this weekend, just remember that there are other tournaments wrapping up.  We’ll even let you root for Maryland.  It would be cute if they won something, even if they do end up pawning the trophy to buy socks for their lacrosse team.

Confidential Bracket: Update 3/31/13

The Final Four is set.  Congratulations to Syracuse, Wichita State, Michigan, and Louisville for reaching the pinnacle of college hoops.  Again, the stakes are higher at this stage–losing hurts all the more.  The Confidential noted it recently.

It kind of works like that with the brackets.  If you are in the top 5, you are THIS close to earning $25.  To come this close and fall short would be awful.

Going to be an interesting finish.  Here is the top 20 (including today’s games):

1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 8 Louisville 30 150
2
Florida State
50 30 20 16 Kansas 29 145
3
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 16 Syracuse 21 140
4
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 16 Louisville 23 132
5
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 16 Syracuse 17 130
6
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 8 Syracuse 23 128
7
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 16 Syracuse 17 127
8
LenVILLE
48 30 15 8 Louisville 18 119
9
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 16 Louisville 17 113
9
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 8 Louisville 16 113
11
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 0 Indiana 18 112
12
Maverick
44 30 20 8 Louisville 8 110
12
win prizes
40 30 20 0 Gonzaga 20 110
14
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 16 Louisville 11 109
15
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 0 Georgetown 12 106
15
KAOS
36 30 20 8 Georgetown 12 106
17
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 0 Duke 18 103
17
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 0 Miami (FL) 20 103
19
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 0 Kansas 16 101
20
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 8 Louisville 0 98
20
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 8 Louisville 0 98

The ACC Has At Least Two Final Four Teams to Root For

As the march to Georgia Tech’s hometown of Atlanta continues, fans of the ACC can be certain that they will have at least two teams to root for.  By beating Marquette handily in yesterday’s Elite 8 game, Syracuse ensured that there will be someone from on that side of the bracket to root for.  Meanwhile, there is no doubt that one of Duke or Louisville will be heading to Atlanta too.  So ACC fans can be certain that they will have a rooting interest for two of the teams next weekend.  But that just leads to two more questions.

#1.  Who are you rooting for in today’s game between the Blue Devils and the Cardinals?

For Duke fans, that is easy.  For Louisville fans, that is easy.  But if you are a fan of one of the other thirteen schools, who are you going to be cheering for?  Is the Duke hatred so strong that you are leaning Louisville?  As a future ACC member, it would be fine to root for Louisville anyway.  Then again, they currently represent the Big East (or the leftovers, or whatever they are being called right now)?  And then there is the coaches–some people have strong feelings about Coach K and Rick Pitino.  The one thing that is clear is that both are excellent coaches.  Should be a great game today.

#2. A similar question arises out of the Michigan-Florida matchup.

The Big 10 is becoming the New York Yankees of college sports–throwing their money around without any regard for making sound decisions or the “Butterfly Effect” impact on the rest of college sports.  If that is not bad enough, how can anyone root for the Michigan Wolverines?  The cockiest of all the Big 10 fanbases, the program brought us the Fab 5, and then sanctions for apparently having bought the Fab 5.  And the football team is full of self-worth and entitlement, despite once thinking that hiring Greg Robinson was a step in the right direction for a defense.  But the other option is Florida–rival to Florida State and Miami.  Not exactly the most modest of fan bases either.  And Billy Donovan had his own core of players that, much like the Fab 5, provided two years of outstanding play.  At the very least, it is difficult to dislike Billy Donovan and his Michigan counterpart, John Beilein.

So, you tell us, who are you rooting for in today’s Elite 8 matchups?

Confidential Bracket: Update 3/30/13

At the midpoint of the Elite Eight stage, half the participants are not picked to win by anyone (Florida, Michigan, Marquette, and Wichita State).  Meanwhile, the entrants that picked Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami, and St. Louis are in trouble.

Going to be an interesting finish.  Here is the top 25 (excluding today’s games):

1
WinnersBracket
48 39 25 Louisville 30 142
2
Florida State
50 30 20 Kansas 28 128
3
Cuse Stormin the ACC
48 30 25 Syracuse 20 123
4
Boeheimian Rhapsody
50 27 20 Syracuse 22 119
5
TheEssentialsOfCool.com
48 30 15 Louisville 22 115
6
Da Cuseman Cometh
42 30 25 Syracuse 16 113
7
Will Bonn’s Bracket
42 27 25 Indiana 18 112
8
LenVILLE
48 30 15 Louisville 18 111
9
win prizes
40 30 20 Gonzaga 20 110
9
Boeheims possible farewell
44 30 20 Syracuse 16 110
11
Bye Bye Big East
46 33 15 Georgetown 12 106
12
KC’s Bracket
46 33 10 Louisville 16 105
13
Goop’s Bracket
40 33 10 Miami (FL) 20 103
13
Rebecca’s Dandy Bracket
40 30 15 Duke 18 103
15
Maverick
44 30 20 Louisville 8 102
16
BracketBuster.
46 24 15 Kansas 16 101
17
KAOS
36 30 20 Georgetown 12 98
18
Cards 80 86 13?
44 21 15 Louisville 16 96
19
mikemab wolf
42 27 20 Ohio St. 6 95
20
Allen’s Bracket
40 27 15 Louisville 10 92
21
My Legit Bracket
42 33 15 Louisville 0 90
21
BeerThirty
40 27 15 Miami (FL) 8 90
21
Otto the Great and Powerful
42 33 15 Louisville 0 90
24
Mr. Tar Heel
36 24 15 Saint Louis 8 83
24
*Commander Caffrey
38 27 10 Indiana 8 83

March Madness? More Like March Sadness

Well, we are down to 8 teams left for the NCAA Championship.  There are 347 teams that compete in Division 1 basketball.  Aside from the other post-season tournaments, there are 8 teams left.  What an amazing accomplishment for those teams.  March Madness can be the greatest of times.  But it really is also the worst of times.   A March Sadness, if you will.

Each year, there are 16 teams given 1 through 4 seeds.  If a #1 seed wins it all, that means that 15 of those 16 seeded teams will end the season with a loss.  In fact, 67 of the 68 teams in the Big Dance end the season with a loss.  All but one.

Of course, that happens in the NFL too.  And the other major sports have playoff series that end.  The difference with the pros is that those teams can, in theory, remain fully intact for the following year.  There is always “next year.”

There is no next year for college Seniors.  And if you are a very good college underclassman, there is no next year either.  It just makes it so…. “final.”  As a fan, it’s tough enough to know that this is the last time you will see that superstar.  But it is even harder to say goodbye to that 4-year Senior who went from a clueless Freshman to a capable Senior.  The guy who went from a boy to a man right in front of your eyes.  And then he loses, sheds tears on TV, and is gone.  Forever.  At least in that jersey.

And it is never easy.  Think being Georgetown is tough?  Losing to a 15-seed is embarrassing and difficult-to-stomach.  But what about Indiana–a #1 seed losing to ANYONE is tough.  They were, in theory, “supposed to beat” Syracuse.  And now it’s over.  It is not limited to being a high seed.  Pittsburgh and North Carolina State had low expectations and exited without much fanfare.  It’s still ending the season with a loss.

Of course, some team will lose in the National Championship and consider THAT to be the worst-type of defeat.  Syracuse fans still mourn the Keith Smart shot–even though they were the last team to taste the bitter pill of defeat in 1987.  They may have lost on a shot with a few seconds left, but everyone else was at home.  Syracuse had it better than all but one team.  And yet there is only painful memories.  So there is nothing great about losing late.  Or early.  Or in the middle.  It’s all about losses.  And yet the late losses sting the most.  So as the teams continue to win, the emotions increase.  The desire to win is as much to taste victory as it is to stave off the inevitable sadness that all but one fanbase will be forced to suffer through.  What a paradox!

March Madness may be the greatest event in sports, but one cannot help but notice just how much sadness permeates the whole process.  For this year’s crop of Elite 8, losing this weekend means no Final Four.  It means walking off the court as the net-cutting ladder is coming on.  The only consolation is that you did not have to endure the same thing on the final night of the season.  Maybe the bowl season is not so bad after all?

 

Sweet Sixteen: The Best Cinderellas in the Modern Era

The Cleveland Fan has put together a list of the top 40 Cinderellas since 1979.  40?  Must be an homage to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.  Regardless, the Confidential does not like the list very much.

First–take Kansas, Villanova, and North Carolina State off.   Those teams did not overachieve in the post-season.  They underachieved during the regular season.  That Villanova team was stacked with talent, including experienced players that were ideal for their positions.  Besides, Cinderella cannot come from a major conference.

Second, here is the remaining list:

 

Sweet 16 of All-Time Cinderella teams:

  1. George Mason (2006) – Seed #11 / Finish: Final Four–including an epic defeat of #1 UConn along the way.
  2. VCU (2011) – Seed: #11 / Finish: Final Four–an outstanding run, especially from the play-in game.
  3. Butler (2010): Seed #5 / Finish Finals Runner-Up–the seed is a bit high for a Cinderella, but look at the great teams they beat along the way.
  4. Davidson (2008) – Seed: #9 / Finish: Elite Eight
  5. Gonzaga (1999) – Seed: #10 / Finish: Elite Eight
  6. Louisiana State (1986) – Seed: #11 / Finish: Final Four
  7. Florida Gulf Coast (2013)–Seed #15/ Finish: TBD
  8. Loyola Marymount (1990) – Seed #11 / Finish: Elite Eight
  9. Kent State (2002) – Seed: #10 / Finish: Elite Eight
  10. Xavier (2004) – Seed: #7 / Finish: Elite Eight
  11. LaSalle (2013): Seed #14 / Finish: TBD
  12. Northern Iowa (2010) – Seed: #9 / Finish: Sweet Sixteen
  13. Butler (2011) – Seed: #8 / Finish: Finals Runner-Up
  14. Tennessee-Chattanooga(1997) – Seed: #14 / Finish: Sweet Sixteen
  15. Cleveland State (1986) – Seed: #14 / Finish: Sweet Sixteen
  16. Valparaiso (1998) – Seed: #13 / Finish: Sweet Sixteen

How did we do? Did we miss anyone?  Disagree?

Sweet Sixteen: Oregon vs. Louisville, LukeRuss Oil Stadium

(Credits: Disney/University of Louisville)

(Credits: Disney/University of Louisville)

When the University of Louisville takes the court to face the Oregon Ducks in the Sweet Sixteen in Indianapolis on Friday, there will be much speculation as to whether the Cardinals can extend their tournament domination by beating up on the Ducks like they did the Aggies and Rams.

Of course, the team Rick Pitino & Co. will face is unlike the previous foes in rounds two and three; Oregon hails from a power conference whereas NC A&T and Colorado State hail from conferences which are not at the top of the college basketball food chain.

The Cardinals have made their way to the Sweet Sixteen by beating their opponents by an average of 28.5 points and shooting over 56 percent from the field.  The Cardinals shot better from the charity stripe against Colorado State and scored 24 points off 20 Ram turnovers.

Enter the Ducks of Eugene.  After defeating ranked UCLA in the PAC-12 conference title game, Oregon beat its first two opponents by 13 points (Oklahoma State) and 14 points (Saint Louis) by shooting over 45 percent from the field.  One disparity jumps out when studying the statistics from the Ducks’ victories thus far – they shot 38 percent from behind the arc versus OK State and 72 percent against Saint Louis.  This inconsistency from three-point range could murk the waters in the Round of 32.

However, when the casual observer looks further into both teams’ overall shooting percentages this season, the teams appear comparable.  Louisville is shooting 44.5 percent from field goal range and Oregon is averaging 44.7 percent.  Louisville is averaging 33.17 percent from behind the arc and Oregon is shooting 33.27 percent.

In a game where offensive statistics can tell a story of two similar teams, one must dig deeper to find a true winner on paper.

Horses and Hoops prediction: this game will come down to turnovers.  Louisville committed 456 turnovers (12.6 per game) on the whole while Oregon turned the ball over 543 times (15 per game).

Guard play and defensive pressure will play pivotal roles in this matchup.  With Louisville’s tendency to force more turnovers and to score lots of points off those errors, I expect the Cardinals to keep up the intensity and stifle the Oregon offense.  Besides, the Big East was strides better than the PAC-12 in the 2012-13 season and these figures must be viewed in light of conference competition and defense.

My analysis hinges upon there being no hiccups or surprise injuries (knock on wood) in Friday’s matchup at 7:15 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Hopefully, Russ Arena’s furor and Luke Hancock’s consistency will travel with the Cardinals to Indianapolis and descend with the same intensity to create a LukeRuss Oil Stadium all clad in red.

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