Happy Bracketology New Year! What a great time of year. Passionate basketball, crying fans, elated fans, lost productivity, shirking and "sicknesses," weird sounds from the cube or office down the hall... Get your bracket!
And here, for your pleasure, a roundup of the basic stories you will read about the tournament. I will go into detail on one or two of these topics later this week, but trust me; once you read these, you will only see variations on the themes.
- And now, the whining:
- Some completely ignorant advice on winning your tournament pool from MSNBC. I am convinced that these people are trying to screw their readers brackets up. I think I will make a bracket using their advice and see where it goes.
- Some incredibly good advice on picking your bracket. I will discuss these in detail later.
- An article on the NCAA first-timers like American and Maryland - Baltimore County.
- You know what's so hot in the news these days? Cornell basketball. They get to play fellow top-national-university, Stanford in a red on red competition for the ages. It's the depressed gorge jumpers vs. the techy sun-drenchers! The Big Redders are thinking about an upset... which will remain strictly the province of fiction, exposition, and argumentation classes.
- You can't fire a guy after a 4 day blitzkreig through a tournament that culminates in an NCAA bid. Dennis Felton at Georgia did a great job with his remaining scholarship players, and has a solid incoming recruiting class coming in. Even the fans are happily eating crow.
- Small gripes about the selections and seeding. I would add that it's interesting how mid majors are playing midmajors (Drake vs Western Kentucky, Davidson vs Gonzaga, Butler vs South Alabama, UNLV vs Kent State). I know it doesn't hold true all the way through the bracket, but it's like they were trying to get some pesky flies off the ship early.
- Florida and Ohio State, last year's finals participants, are in the NIT. Hey, Michigan State and Indiana State didn't go in 1980 after meeting in the Bird vs Magic final the year before. NIT bracket here. ESPN schedule:
Tuesday, March 18
No. 2 UMass vs. No. 7 Stephen F. Austin, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 UNC Asheville, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 8 Robert Morris, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 4 Southern Illinois vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 Akron, 9 p.m. (ESPN Classic)
No. 4 Minnesota vs. No. 5 Maryland, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 6 Rhode Island, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 1 Arizona State vs. No. 8 Alabama State, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
Wednesday, March 19
No. 3 Dayton vs. No. 6 Cleveland State, 6 p.m., (ESPNU)
No. 1 Virginia Tech vs. No. 8 Morgan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN Classic)
No. 4 VCU vs. No. 5 Alabama-Birmingham, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 2 Ole Miss vs. No. 7 Cal State Santa Barbara, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 San Diego State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 3 Nebraska vs. No. 6 Charlotte, 9 p.m. (ESPN Classic)
No. 2 Illinois State vs. No. 7 Utah State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 4 California vs No. 5 New Mexico, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Did you know there is a third tournament, called the College Basketball Invitational (CBI)? It's the first year of the tournament, and some schools were dodgy about participating-- possibly because of pressure from the NCAA, who owns the NIT tournament or because of the cost of fielding more games in a less-prestigious tournament.
The finals will be a best of three affair with the higher seed hosting the first and third (if necessary) games. Get your CBI bracket here.
Opening round schedule:
Tuesday, March 18
Richmond at Virginia - 7 p.m.
Rider at Old Dominion - 7 p.m.
Brown at Ohio - 7 p.m.
Houston at Nevada - 9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 19
Cincinnati at Bradley - 7 p.m.
Miami (Ohio) at Tulsa - 8 p.m.
Valparaiso at Washington - 9 p.m.
Utah at UTEP - 9 p.m.
Man, I'm TIRED after all of that.
Enjoy some photos: