So, did you enjoy the TWER Bowl Pick-a-palooza last December? No? Too bad, sucka, because you have to join the TWER Bracket Bustin’ tournament challenge anyway. Instructions:
1. Visit the Yahoo! Tourney Pick ‘Em home page.
2. Sign in using the username you used in the Bowl Pick-a-palooza, because you do have one of those, right?
3. Join group ID number 93409.
4. Type in password twer.
5. Fill out bracket.
6. Lose to NCAA Tournament EXPERT yours truly.
OK, so No. 6 just kind of happens automatically after you complete the other five steps, so don’t worry about it too much*. Winner gets to hire the new Auburn men’s basketball coach.
While I’ve got your attention, a few thoughts (you long-time readers know I’ve got ’em) concerning the brackets:
— Overall, I’ve probably got fewer complaints with this Committee and this bracket than I’ve had in a long, long time … principally because my personal pet peeve, the mid-major snub, finally took a year off (after Creighton in 2009, Drexel in 2007, Missouri St. in 2006, Utah St. in multiple years last decade, etc.). The highest-profile snubees–Virginia Tech, Illinois, Mississippi St., etc.–were all power-conference teams. As it freaking should be; a season like Utah St.’s this year–10 top 100 RPI wins, a 14-2 cruise to a conference title, a couple of big nonconference wins–was just better than a mediocre ACC season like Virginia Tech’s. Besides: is there any non-Hokie out there who’s be more interested in seeing Va. Tech take on Texas A&M on Friday than Utah St.?
Outside of that there were a goodly number of seeding issues, maybe more than the last two years’ … but nothing all that out of the ordinary.
— When Tennessee first popped up as a 6-seed during the Selection Show, I wondered what the SEC had done to earn a permanent seat on the Committee spitlist. Last year the league got two teams in, both poorly seeded, and now it starts off with the Vols two seeds below where they’d been projected? Then Vandy turned up as a 4 and Florida appeared as a 10, and that was the end of that. Sure, Miss. St. didn’t make it, but dude–two top 50 wins (and only one regular season, that in November) paired with a home loss to Rider? It was close, but it wasn’t likely.
— For all the dithering on the Selection Show about Duke getting the No. 3 seed overall over Syracuse–and getting the Houston regional that went with it–the much bigger outrage was what happened on the 2 line. Duke won two major conference titles (regular season and tournament) and Syracuse didn’t; yeah, maybe the Orange’s overall resume was a hair stronger, but they got conked in the first round of their conference tournament, maybe lost their starting center, and Duke won theirs. Not what I expected, but it made sense.
But the 2-seeds being ranked 1. Kansas St. 2. Villanova 3. West Virginia 4. Ohio St.? What? ‘Nova and K-St. combined for zero titles, regular season and/or conference; WVU and Ohio St. took three, two of them belonging to the Buckeyes. Who, again, were ranked fourth out of the four on the S-curve. This, I do not get.
— And thanks to that … yeah, Duke and Syracuse got easier regions and Kansas and Kentucky the loaded ones. But again: this happens every year. Ohio St. landing as the Jayhawks’ No. 2 is the only thing truly beyond the pale, Stewart.
— Well … Temple getting a No. 5 was pretty damn lousy, come to think of it. But USU getting in and Butler getting a No. 5 makes up for it.
— Saving my upset picks for tomorrow–and yes, since I know you’re all wondering, there’s going to be a Million Dollar Bracket post as well–but a few match-ups that jump off the page at me:
Baylor vs. Sam Houston St. Two teams that looooove to get up and down the court, shoot the 3, and only play defense when they have to. (Baylor Ekpe Udoh excepted.) So sort of like two better versions of Auburn facing off against each other.
Richmond vs. St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s is one of the nation’s best three-point shooting teams. Richmond is one of the nation’s best three-point stopping teams. Winner gets a very winnable game against an overseeded Villanova team next round.
Notre Dame vs. Old Dominion. Monarchs have some size to throw at Harangody and are just fine playing at the Irish’s newfangled slowdown pace.
Vanderbilt vs. Murray St. As evenly matched as a 4-13 game can possibly get.
BYU vs. Florida. Two more teams that would much rather get into a shooting contest than actually, you know, play defensive basketball.
Syracuse vs. Vermont. Ah, the impossible dream. If it’s happening this year, this is where. Catamounts have a couple of shooters to go over the top of Orange zone, ‘Cuse will be adjusting to life without Onuake, close game could lead to Orange nerves after the ’06 upset, and UVM’s Marqus Blakley can do some amazing things, man:
— Lastly, I’m sorry, really I am, but … I have to point out that 1. yesterday’s WBE bracketology correctly picked all 34 at-large teams, had 31 teams seeded correctly, and had 58 teams seeded within one line of their actual seed; People This Makes Me Better Than include these guys and Jerry Palm 2. that makes for one at-large miss the past three years. Boo-yah.
*Actually, what happens more often than not is that I lose to Mrs. WBE. Score!