An oddity of this year's NCAA tournament: with New Mexico's loss tonight, the westernmost remaining team is Baylor. Waco is east of the geographical center of the contiguous 48; with 24 teams remaining, the western half of the US has been entirely eliminated.
That's never happened before. Only once in the 62 tournaments played since they went to 16 teams in 1951 has the Sweet Sixteen been without a team west of Texas, in 1985. But UNLV didn't exit the tournament until Sunday of that year, so they were still in at this point.
I don't know what, if anything, to make of this. I'd be more inclined to think it was just a random quirk if some high west coast seeds had been upset, but as it was the PAC-12 could barely scrape together even one tournament-worthy team.
I have a suspicion that the relative lack of exposure of the PAC-12 since their games went to Fox is hurting recruiting there; the MWC has also slid their games onto less exposed networks.
On the other hand you could put together a pretty good team just out of UCLA transfers, so maybe that isn't the whole story.
I have to give credit for the idea of this post to User "ijohnb" and his thread http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/open-work-not-working-tourney-thread but I wanted to create a spin-off and start a different discussion:
What is your favorite personal story relating to the NCAA tournament? It can be anything, no matter how tangentially related to the tournament. Here are my top 2:
(1) Trip to Vegas for the first two rounds of the tournament. That place is insane at tournament time - the games start at 9am and continue into the night. We camped out at Mandalay Bay where they had a huge screen set up and arranged for waitresses to take orders. Oh, and I won a few bucks by betting on Michigan in an NIT game.
(2) Attending a first round game back in 1991 that featured the Richmond Spiders (15 seed) beating Syracuse (2 seed), the first time a #2 had ever beaten a #15. The crowd was going ape-sh-t!
What say you?
It's a 3 or a 4. Here's how it breaks down.
Unless craziness happens, Baylor and Marquette have 3-seeds locked down. Here are the remaining teams competing for the last two slots. Stats according to CBS. In no particular order:
Remember UConn last year shot up all the way to a 3-seed with their Big East tournament run. Louisville, despite finishing the regular season slow, has the opportunity to do similar here. FSU, if they were to beat Duke and UNC on back to back nights, would have a case for themselves as well. Georgetown's numbers are very similar to Michigan's and both had rather ignominous conference tournament exits. At this point, it seems unlikely that either Indiana or Wisconsin would pass Michigan on the NCAA S-Curve, but crazier things have happened.
Tomorrow you are rooting for North Carolina to crush Florida State and eliminate one of the contenders. It'd be nice if Cincinnati won tonight, but it does not appear that is going to happen, so we're stuck with Louisville for the time being. In the most likely scenario it comes down to Georgetown vs Michigan for the last 3-seed, and we're splitting hairs at that point so it's guess work as to what the selection committee will decide.
Fortunately, there have been a lot of upsets in the mid-major conference tournaments and the overall competitiveness of the 13 and lower seeds has seen a significant drop in the last week.
Here are the teams that are likely to be 13 and 14 seeds (Michigan's likeliest opening round opponents, in no particular order):
|Long Beach St||13||38||122|
|New Mexico St||13||64||116|
|South Dakota St||13||45||184|
Long Beach St would be the worst draw here, and I'm hoping they move up in the S-Curve to a 12 seed or better. They beat Xavier and Pittsburgh and they lost by single digits in road games vs UNC, Kansas and Louisville (i.e. they can play with anyone).
South Dakota St's best wins come over Oral Roberts and Washington. Common opponents they split their season series with Oakland and lost to Minnesota by 16.
Colorado has a bunch of Pac-12 wins and not much else to speak of. They lost OOC to Wichita St, Colorado St, and Maryland. They are not a good team on paper but someone had to win the P12 Tournament!
New Mexico St managed to beat New Mexico on the road and that is it on their list of impressive games.
Belmont is another scary draw. Their wins this year aren't flashy but they took Duke to the wire, losing by 1 point at Cameron. They also lost on the road to Memphis.
Montana has an impressive win streak going but they have played the weakest schedule of this pack of teams. Their best win came over Long Beach St at home.
Ohio who nipped Akron for the MAC title, wouldn't it be fun to draw this team in the first round. What would we chant? Ohio (not THAT ohio) has no real impressive wins to speak of and didn't play a grueling schedule. Their best "win" was a 5 point loss at Louisville back at the start of the season.
Davidson's results read something like, boring boring boring, WTF-beat-Kansas, boring boring boring. They beat Kansas on the road by 6 back in December. Their other 4 games vs respectable tournament quality opponents were all losses.
Cackle With Knowing Glee: New Mexico St, South Dakota St, Colorado, Montana, or Ohio
Worry If: Belmont, Davidson, or Long Beach St (or whomever Long Beach Supplants from the 12-line).
Good night and see you after the selection show tomorrow.
TLDR: The three seed is currently a coin flip. We have a really good chance to have a team we should throttle in the opening round.
After reading all the articles and hearing commentators talk about how "questionable" the UM OT goal was (as there supposedly was "no visual evidence"), I was hoping to put this topic to bed.
So instead of being like a normal 28 year living in Austin and going out and having fun, I decided to play with the pause button on my DVR. Nevertheless, I provide you with indisputable evidence that it WAS a goal -- there is no doubt that there is a white gap between the puck and the goal line (sorry the pic is so gigantic... helps to prove the point i guess)
(Here's a link in case I embedded wrong -- http://s3.postimage.org/6dd2o6mc7/UMGoal.jpg)
With North Dakota beating Denver in 2OT to win the WCHA Playoff Championship, the pairwise is set for the NCAA Selection Show tomorrow afternoon.
Miami will be the last #1 seed (joining Yale, North Dakota, and Boston College), as they won their first CCHA Playoff Championship tonight. Michigan finished #5, which means they will be a #2 seed (most likely) in Miami's region. The pairwise does not totally determine the field, it could be adjusted for travel concerns and will be adjusted to avoid intra-conference first round matchups. Also, teams that host regions automatically play in those regions no matter what seed they are.
Selection Show will be tomorrow, 11:30am, ESPNU (I think)
Teams that made the tournament according to USCHO:
Yale, North Dakota ,Boston College, Miami, Michigan, Merrimack, Denver, Union, Minnesota-Duluth, Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, New Hampshire, Colorado College, Rensselaer, Air Force
Let's assume for the moment Michigan is in Miami's region. If you watched both teams play this weekend, you should be (rightfully so) concerned. Michigan played like garbage Friday night and while winning today against ND, they were outshot by about 20. Miami meanwhile steamrolled ND and took care of WMU to win their first CCHA Playoff title and looked like a championship team doing it. However, that is why they play the games. This senior class has one last shot at that nice gold trophy and to hang a nice white banner at Yost. They certainly have the talent to win it all...but will we see the team we all want to see, or the debacle we watched this weekend?
The only thing to be sure about...there is nothing more nerve wrecking than single elimination hockey...game on
USCHO predicts Michigan will be in the St Louis Region
West Regional (St. Louis):
14 Colorado College vs. 3 Boston College
12 Nebraska-Omaha vs. 5 Michigan
I recommend clicking on the link, they do a great breakdown at how they predicted the regions...
So the tournament starting on St Patty's day is about as good as it gets. Both are days that are meant to be speant at a bar drinking all day. I only just realized one hicup in my plans.
I planned on getting into my best green St Patty's gear when I realized I also want to support the team (and not that team). Just a heads up to all the folks like me who only think about 5 minutes in advance. Before heading to the bar tomorrow, remember to include some maize and blue amongst all the to St Patty's green to support the team.
EDIT: Others pointed out I am a dumbass and can't read a calendar. Game day on FRIDAY, not to be confused with THURSDAY. Sorry, I was a student during the Ellerbe years and am still relativally new to this whole "having my team in the tournament" thing and jumped the gun.