Tag Archives: the big dance

my very own sweet sixteen party.

In Focus...Rick Pitino's top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

In Focus…Rick Pitino’s top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

We started with 68 on Tuesday, and now we’re down to the Sweet Sixteen™. Now that the field is set, I have the itinerary of games for next weekend’s Midwest Regional games for which I’ll be the PA announcer at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Game 1
(1) Louisville Cardinals vs.
(12) Oregon Ducks
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 2
(3) Michigan State Spartans vs.
(2) Duke Blue Devils
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 3
Louisville/Oregon vs.
Michigan State/Duke
Sunday, 31 March 2013 | Tip-off: TBD
Television: TBD

Am I nervous? Not yet. I’m excited. This regional features college basketball royalty: Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo. I’m most looking forward to the Duke-Michigan State game. That will be like a championship game all by itself. The game will also feature a kid from my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, freshman Matt Costello. Not sure if he’ll get in the game or not, but it’s kinda cool.

I expect these games to be well attended. Louisville fans will make the short trip from Kentucky, no doubt. Sparty fans and Duke fans travel well, too. I have no idea how many Oregon fans will make the trip, but their Ducks should give Louisville a run for their money.

Prior to this weekend, the largest event I’ve ever worked was in front of 4,000 – 5,000 people over at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Lucas Oil Stadium will be set up to hold 45,000 for these games. That is a HUGE crowd!

But I’m not nervous…yet. 🙂

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march madness is here!

Things to do today:
* Watch college basketball
* Watch college basketball at the NCAA headquarters
* Watch college basketball at home
* Fall asleep watching college basketball (at home…not at the NCAA headquarters. That would be bad)

It’s no secret the first two rounds of the NCAA National Championship Tournament (well, second and third rounds, technically) are my favorites. Why? Because it’s NONSTOP BASKETBALL! And it’s within this first weekend of basketball that upsets are most likely to occur. I’ve got a few upsets picked along the way, but not as many as I need, I imagine. I think the biggest upset I’ve got on my bracket is Minnesota beating UCLA. But is it really an upset when one of UCLA’s best players is out with injury?

The Bracket
As I mentioned, the bracket is already complete. No, I do not wager any money or partake in any pools. It’s purely for fun. I’ve been filling out a bracket every year for the past 23 or 24 years. My best year was 2001. I picked three of the Final Four teams, the championship game and the National Champion. That’s all I remember. I don’t even remember who won…oh wait, it was Duke (yes, I cheated and looked it up).

Write Right
Before I go to the NCAA, I’ve got a couple other things to knock out at home. I’d like to wrap up a couple writing projects as well as retool my resume. The resume may have to wait another day.

Brrrrr!
The word on the street is we were up around 80-degree weather this time last year. We’ll be lucky if we break 32° today.

Warming Up the Pipe
I’ll be gearing up for the NCAA National Championship Tournament Midwest Regional Semifinals, which will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium here in Indianapolis. Oh yeah, did I mention I’ll be the PA announcer at those games? While I have no rooting interest in the teams in the Midwest Region, I’m really hoping to see the top seeds advance. It might be the most competitive of the four regions. Either way, it’s going to be fun next weekend.

That’s all for now. Enjoy your Thursday, kids!

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bracketology breakdown: cardinals, jayhawks, hoosiers and zags…oh my!

NCAA_FinalFourLogoOnce Indiana fans get over the disappointment of not locking down the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, they’ll quickly realize it’s probably for the best. Louisville may be the overall No. 1 team in the tournament, but they also have one of the toughest roads to the Final Four. Look at the top four seeds in the Midwest Region:
* Louisville
* Duke
* Michigan State
* Saint Louis

Three of those teams are championship caliber programs every year.

Hoosiers Begrudgingly Decamped East
The East Region, where the Hoosiers will be playing, is no slouch. Indiana, Miami, New Mexico and Syracuse are competitive, but Syracuse has a propensity to lose very winnable games. Then again, same goes for Indiana and Miami. Steve Alford’s Lobos could be the dark horse in this region.

Rock Choke Chalk JayHawk
Even though I thought Duke was a No. 1 seed, I can’t argue with Kansas earning the top seed in the South Region. They seem to be completely over whatever was ailing them in the middle of the season and are poised to dominate this bracket. For my money, Florida is the least deserving No. 3 seed in the field. They won the SEC regular season—and lost to Ole Miss in the postseason tournament—in a very, very weak year for the SEC.

Zags Already on Upset Watch
If you want a possible major upset, look to the West Region. Gonzaga has a very tough road ahead of them, with Ohio State, Marquette and Kansas State looming. I don’t think we’ll see a No. 1 seed fall to a No. 16 this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pitt or Wichita State take out the Zags.

In the end, I correctly picked 10 of the top seeds:
No. 1 – 3/4
No. 2 – 3/4
No. 3 – 2/4
No. 4 – 2/4

I would’ve been perfect on the top two lines, but I felt Duke still deserved No. 1 over Kansas. I still think Syracuse and Kansas State deserve higher seedings over Florida.

I had 15 of the same 16 teams as the selection committee. The only difference: I gave Memphis a No. 4 seed over Marquette because the Tigers won both their regular season and conference tournaments. Why would I do that? Because, unlike the committee, I do not view the Big East through a romantic prism that allows me to believe a third-place Big East team is better than a top-ranked team that wins both its regular season and tournament championships.

If I’m going to give Gonzaga a No. 1 seed—and that is still a very weak No. 1 seed—I can’t discard a Memphis team that has a similar resume as the Zags. Unlike the committee, I was consistent.

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bracketology prediction: hoosiers no. 1 in the midwest. period.

Indiana's junior guard Victor Oladipo.

Junior guard Victor Oladipo scored 21 points in IU’s 75-70 win over Michigan State on Jan. 27. The Hoosiers travel to East Lansing Tuesday night in a battle between the B1G’s two first-place teams.

All the guessing, politicking and pontificating ends in two hours. We’ll know who’s playing where and who’s No. 1. All four No. 1s. I’m not saying I’m absolutely correct. I may be completely wrong, but if I were in that room with the selection committee, this would be my opening salvo.

No. 1 Seeds
Louisville — East
Indiana — Midwest
Duke — South
Gonzaga — West

Yeah, a lot of people are calling for the Cardinals to get the Midwest top seed, but why? They beat two teams that previous beat them. Indiana has three quality road wins against ranked teams (Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan). Hoosiers in the Midwest, Louisville gets the East.

I rejected the urge to place Kansas No. 1 in the South. I suppose it could still happen, what with the Jayhawks winning the Big 12 conference tournament while Duke choked in the ACC. Nevertheless, Duke’s done enough to keep a top seed.

And Gonzaga is my justification for it all. While all the experts are shifting and shuffling Indiana, Duke and Louisville around—praising/punishing them for postseason performance, why are the Zags too sacrosanct? Because they’re 30-2? Because they’re ranked No. 1 by the AP and USA Today?

Everyone agrees Gonzaga is the weakest No. 1 seed in the field, yet no one will dare move them. Sorry, “experts.” Not all wins and losses were created equal. If we’re going to keep the Zags No. 1 in the West, we keep Indiana No. 1 in the Midwest. End of story.

No. 2 Seeds
Ohio State — East
Georgetown — Midwest
Kansas — South
Miami — West

I may know nothing about the regions, but I think I’m right in the seedings. Ohio State show itself to be the best second-place team in the toughest basketball conference in the nation. They earned their No. 2 seeding.

Georgetown and Miami, at one time, might’ve been No. 1 seeds. They’ve had too many bad losses along the way.

For Kansas, a No. 2 in the South is sort of a 1a seeding. The Jayhawks are the best No. 2 seed.

No. 3 Seeds
Michigan State — East
New Mexico — Midwest
Syracuse — South
Kansas State — West

Any one of these teams can cause real trouble in the tournament…for themselves as much as their opponents. Sparty might be the strongest of the four, but New Mexico and Kansas State will be strong challengers in their brackets. Syracuse? Depends on which team shows up.

No. 4 Seeds
Michigan — East
St. Louis — Midwest
Memphis — South
Florida — West

St. Louis is going to be a real dark horse in this tournament. They play in a very competitive conference, but got smoked by Kansas early in the year. How they’re playing now—15-1 down the stretch—is important.

I’m not sold on Florida being a bona fide No. 4 seed, but given the performance of teams around them, this Gators backed into this seed. I’ve never been convinced of Florida’s prowess this season anyway.

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march madness forecast: cloudy, with a chance of shocking upsets.

We’ve still got five games involving Top 25 teams to play on Sunday. But the March Madness™ brackets are starting to take shape.

The Four Tops
Gonzaga and Duke both won convincingly last night. Unless Duke suffers a major collapse in the ACC championship tournament they have probably done enough to earn a top seed. The Zags won their opening round game against Loyola Marymount. That should be enough for them. The remaining two top seeds are up for grabs. Kansas could’ve cemented it yesterday, but Baylor had other plans. Now at least five teams are vying for the last two No. 1 seeds: Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and Michigan.

The current No. 1 forecast is:
* East Region No. 1—Duke
* Midwest Region No. 1—Indiana/Michigan
* South Region—Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville
* West Region—Gonzaga

Although, if I’m Georgetown, I think I’d rather be a No. 2 in the East than a No. 1 in any other region.

Only Game That Counts
Indiana at Michigan. Whomever wins will likely be rewarded with more than just a share of the (or outright) B1G regular season championship. The winner will probably get the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. The loser still has a chance at a No. 1 seed, depending on their postseason conference tournament performance.

We’re No. 2!
Thanks to 1-1 weeks from most Top Ten teams, Michigan State is looking like a solid No. 2 seed right now. Oklahoma State and (potentially) Ohio State could make their cases for No. 2 seeds as well. Okie State knocked off Kansas State, so they’re all but a lock if you ask me. The Buckeyes made a strong statement by knocking off the Hoosiers at home. A win over Illinois puts them in the conversation.

Stay Tuned
The picture will be in focus by Monday morning.

EDITED: 5:03 A.M. EST
Just received clarification that Georgetown cannot play in the East Region at all, due to being the host school of the regional finals. That means their best hope for a No. 1 seed is the South Region. Right now, I’d slot them ahead of both Kansas and Louisville for the NO. 1 seed. I still think Indiana or Michigan will earn the No. 1 seed in the Midwest. Let’s say they face one another again for the B1G tournament championship. Is that enough to reward both schools No. 1 seeds? Hmm…

That means the

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