Monday, March 18, 2013

Let the Games Begin

Protection Racket
I'm trying to figure out the four play-in games.  Why is it that eleven seeds St. Mary's and Middle Tennessee (and 13 seeds La Salle and Boise State) have to "play-in" while the rinky dink teams like Albany and Southern have automatic slots in the round of 64?  Sure, the latter teams face killer first round matchups.  But just bump the whole bracket downwards and push out the bottom seeds to the play-in games.  You could argue that the NCAA Selection Committee is giving its due to conference champions as automatic qualifiers over bubble teams, albeit stronger ones. You could also conclude that the big conferences and the networks want to protect their top seeds from early exits.

St. Louis Blues
After watching St. Louis struggle with VCU's speedy guards in their conference final, I've become more worried about the Billiken's chances in the NCAA tourney.  I thought their guards were better than that.  Still rootin' for them, however.

  • La Salle (of the A-10) and Boise State.  Both are seeded 13 and face each other in a play-in game.  The coup de grace:  the winner gets stuck with Kansas State.  I watched La Salle and Boise State in their conference tournaments.  They are quality teams and deserve better, particularly La Salle.  La Salle or Boise State in a major upset over K-state is not a bad pick folks.
  •  The PAC-12 may be weak, but Oregon deserved better. If they get past Oklahoma State, which is doable, they face my favorite team this year, St. Louis.  I'm bummed because Oregon, which is strong at the guard position, is just the type of team that can take down the Bilikens.   

Flops: Pay to Play?
I watched a lot of basketball this past week.  I was struck by how often the refs across the country made bad calls on charge/block situations.  Granted, it's the toughest call for a ref to make.  But the misses seem more egregious than ever.  I wonder if its because the players on defense are getting much better at "selling" it.  On a hopeful note, I did detect a few instances where the ref may have called a block on a player who took a flop. I wonder if they're trying to send a message.  Perhaps we need to look at the game of soccer, where a flop is considered a penalty?  The NBA is already doing so.

Thank you PAC 12 and MGM Grand for not plastering candy bar logos and other image clutter all over the floor.  Conference banners and arena logo are all we need, thank you very much.

PAC 12
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't follow the PAC 12 like I used to. But after watching Oregon and UCLA in the conference tournament final, I have to say I'm impressed by the level of physical talent.  If the PAC 12 disappoints in the tournament, then maybe we should be looking at the conference's level of coaching as the reason. 

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