- By Seth Thompson
- Mar 21 2011
- Volume/Issue: 2/28
March Madness: Day 4
I’ve been watching basketball for the last 12 hours, and I have to admit: Amadeus was right. When March Madness started on Thursday, I thought it would be cool if it lasted year round. He thought it might eventually get old. And at the furious rate it’s been coming at me, I finally agree.
Not to say I’m ready for it to be over—I love March Madness. But I am ready for a break, after 48 games in just four days. Especially because even though the first three days featured just eight upsets—there have been 10 in the first two days alone the previous two years—(dis)order has been restored to the tournament in a crazy, exhausting day.
In eight games today, the lower seeds won four.
I expected an exciting day—I figured the Michigan-Duke game would be close (Duke won by 2 after Michigan missed a shot at the buzzer), and had the same feeling about Texas-Arizona (Arizona won in the final seconds too, but more on that one in a minute). But I didn’t figure on No. 2 North Carolina being taken to the brink by Washington, No. 11 Marquette knocking off No. 3 Syracuse, or No. 2 Notre Dame being beaten by No. 10 Florida State.
Even though in the last 25 years only 23 double-digit seeds have made it to the Sweet 16, this year it features four teams ranked 10 or lower—three of them from the same region. And the winner of VCU-Florida State will become just the third double-digit seed to advance to the Elite Eight.
Obviously, my bracket has gotten the crap kicked out of it. I’ve made at least 22 wrong picks so far (some from later rounds, where teams I picked are already out). I’m going to have to regroup and do a new bracket for the Sweet 16—it’s a lot more fun when you have a shot at picking the right winners. Because honestly, my first bracket is just starting to frustrate me.
The most frustrating loss for me so far was today’s Texas-Arizona game. I needed Texas to win. I had them beating Duke in the Sweet 16, before losing to Uconn. And they should have at least had a chance to make my guess accurate.
Up by 2 points with about 15 seconds left, Texas was called for a five-second violation on an inbounds play, even though Texas’ Cory Joseph clearly called a timeout—video replay confirmed that he seemed to call the timeout before the five seconds was up.
Instead, Arizona got the ball, hit a layup, and got a free throw on top of that. Nine seconds later, Texas missed a shot at the other end, and Arizona was moving on to the Sweet 16.
At that point, I knew my bracket had taken just about all it could take, so I just started pulling for upsets left and right. If my bracket was going to be screwed up, everyone else’s could be too.
Thankfully, the Ohio State Buckeyes were a bright spot on my otherwise tarnished bracket. The top-seeded Buckeyes took it to George Mason, which was playing without one of its better players, Luke Hancock. Not that it would have mattered—the Buckeyes had four players with double digits in scoring, and every player scored at least a point. They also forced 17 turnovers, committing just nine themselves.
At this rate, nobody is going to beat the Buckeyes. Kentucky will get the next shot, but they’ve had two close games so far against lower seeds—while No. 1 Ohio State has won its two tourney games by an average of 30.5 points. Look out, Wildcats.
But before then, the players have a few days of rest—rest I’m sure they need. I’m worn out just covering the tourney, so I can’t imagine how worn out the teams have to be. So, until Thursday, it’s time to rest up and have a temporary recovery from the Madness that comes in March.