Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness

We'll mess with Texas. Or, at the very least, try to cover the point spread. (15) Pennsylvania (+15.5) at (2) Texas, if you're keeping score at home.

I don't have a problem with being seeded as a 15. There weren't really any bubble bursting Cinderella runs during Conference Tournament week to boost us up the curve. But, the committee clearly didn't do us any favors in putting us in a Dallas regional against UT.

I even think it's ridiculous that we fell into the bottom of the 15s, if there is such a distinction. For lowly Belmont (15) to take on overrated, untested UCLA (2) and mediocre happy-to-be-here Winthrop (15) to be slotted against spiraling Tennessee (2), like most irrational fan thinking concludes, we got shafted. We're better than Belmont and Winthrop. Period.

And that's why this is arguably the greatest sporting event in America. Instead of arguing about which two teams get to square off for the College Football Championship or suffering through a two month NBA playoff season, the points of contention here go miles deeper and, ultimately, are resolved by the players themselves in a single, frenetic month.

But, before I reprise my impulsive 5000 mile February voyage to the Penn-Princeton game, there are a few threshold matters to consider.

1) I don't have a ticket to the Friday night game.
2) Last minute flights are nearly prohibitive in expense.
3) Justices Kennedy and O'Connor are speaking on campus this weekend.

Other than that, the gravitational forces of March Madness are needling me towards Dallas. It's drawn me before to Cleveland last year and to Boston in 2003.

I should research this. But, that's never really been my style. There's a lot of variables in the mix. Maybe O'Connor's legacy includes a relevant multifactor balancing test on the matter.


At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jon just wanted to say hey and I really enjoy your blogs although have been less regular recently, I'm very jelous of not really being able to see any of March Madness it really is the one huge sporting event that I personally think the US has over the UK and Europe. Its time for an upset so good luck to Penn Hope to see you visiting camp this summer!

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Michael said...

The tournament seeding really surprised me this year. As a Syracuse fan, I'm thrilled with a 5, even though the team probably doesn't deserve it, despite the most magical run in Big East Tournament history, which allowed them to repeat as champions of the third-best annual basketball tournament on Earth (next to the NBA and NCAA Tourney).

The Committee seems very influenced by history in seeding teams. GW? They're usually about an 8 when they make the Tournament; so that's what they got despite their excellent record and exciting play. UCLA? Sure, give them a 2. They have 11 titles. Tournament tip here: anytime a team not Arizona located west of Kansas receives a high ranking, especially when not deserved, pick against them. It's not a coincidence that East Coast teams continually win the Tournament. And for this reason, a 3 might actually be right for Gonzaga, who has yet to shine since transitioning from perennial Cinderella to perennial under-performing 5 seed.

On a separate note, how much does the media love white basketball players? I love Syracuse. I love Gerry McNamara, and everything he has brought to the program (1 National Title, 2 Big East Championships), but the coverage of him seemed a bit excessive this weekend. I assume I don't need to offer any analysis of the media's (and especially Dick Vitale's) love affair with Adam Morrison and J.J. Reddick. Who would you take in a two-on-two game: Randy Foye and Allan Ray or J.J. Reddick and Adam Morrison? (If you don't know who the former two are, or didn't know how Allan Ray was until his eye popped out of its socket, I've proved my point).

At 1:20 PM, Blogger NYC Guy said...

Duncan - Great to hear from you. Hope everything's going well abroad. I'll give you Champions League, maybe even the FA Cup. But, I too think the NCAA Tournament tops most of what the UK/Europe have to offer the sporting world.

Dirty Dartmouth - How do you like your Orange, now? Definitely a case of post-Conf. Tournament let down. I agree on your other points about history, too. Though I think GW's seeding was more a factor of the Committee thinking Mensah-Bonsu would be a casualty of injury. About media loving whiteness, I think your spot on. Though, I'm really not sure I would take Foye/Ray over Morrison/Redick. Those two really are something special and did, objectively, lead the nation in scoring. I think the white-love factor is more evident in Gerry McNamara, as you said.


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