Sunday, March 09, 2008

March Madness: Early Psychosis!

We're getting some of our first teams into the Tournament of Insanity, and we are all fevery ourselves.

I should quickly mention that North Carolina beat Duke at Duke, and thus is almost certainly the #1 seed in the East. If they somehow lose in the first round of the ACC tournament, and Georgetown just destroys everyone in their path in the Big East tournament, maybe, MAYBE, the Hoyas sneak into that #1 spot. I don't see that happening, though. I'll say that neither team really impressed me, though. In part, I suppose because I look at these two teams the way a gay intellectual in 1949 may have looked upon a fistfight between Hitler and Stalin. There is no one to root for, you see? If I attempt to put my hatred for the two aside, I still think I saw a pretty sloppy, though compelling game. I think Duke was criminally overrated going into this game, and UNC marginally so, despite Dick Vitale's super-sweaty man love for Tyler Hansborough.

But let's not dwell on my negative feelings for the top of the ACC. Let's talk about the teams who are now officially in the Dance!

Earlier, Cornell shocked anyone not paying attention to the Ivy League by winning the Ivy League. There is no tournament, presumably because all of those scholars are busy trying to figure out new ways to screw the working man. Except Barack Obama, of course. Regardless, the part of tough out Princeton will be played by Cornell this year. Hard to imagine that they will be a very tough out, though. Princeton, when they qualify for the tournie, have a history of almost upsets on their side in the seeding. Cornell has no such love, and I'll be surprised if they draw better than a 14 seed.

On to the teams that qualified today.

Austin Peay, who I remember as being practical perennials in the March Fundamentally Skewed, despite the fact that this is their only 6th appearance, won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament against a team that had no business being there--the 15-17 Tennessee State. For a while, Tennesseein' was Tenneebelievin', but not against the mighty Governors of Austin Peay. Every Bubble team sighed a mighty sigh, because Austin Peay's record might have been enough for them to get an at-large bid if they lost this game. (Probably not--they are almost certainly a #15 or #16--but given the flightiness of our top 8 teams this year, that doesn't mean they can't fuck up a lot of brackets).

The mighty Belmont Bruins won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, and they too could prove to be a very problematic first round match up for some high seed. They like shooting 3's, and they are good at it, and they've been regular visitors to the March Unhealthy Paranoia for the last couple of years. It would go down as one of the upsets of the ages, but they could maybe scare someone. Be wary of the team that was in the Top 5 3-point shooting teams in the nation.

My love affair with the Winthrop Eagles began last year, well before they upset Notre Dame. This team is without last year's MVP, Craig Bradshaw, but they beat UNC-Asheville in the Big South Tournament, and their ridiculously huge center Kenny George. George (7' 7"!) was held to four rebounds, which should suggest that Winthrop won't be fazed by big men, even if they are more talented than George (most are). I don't think they'll repeat their magic from last year, though. I'll be rooting for them, and it always comes down to match-ups, but in general, this team seems less dangerous than last year's version.

There you go--Four Teams Definitely, Officially in. I'm willing to wager that 50% of them put the fear of God into their first round opponent.

No comments: