Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rock Chalk Shock and the Rest of The Sweet 16

We warned you last week that if the “First Four” games of the NCAA Tournament were a harbinger of things to come and the carnage to your brackets over the next two rounds would be severe and it was. The amount of accurate brackets among the tournament contest is the lowest since their inception and the East Bracket has become a bigger free-for-all than the toga party at Delta Phi House at Faber College. One top seed is gone, two 2 seeds, and two 3s but all could be forgiven if Kentucky and Duke meet in the Finals. Until then, we have to take a step back and look at how we got here with more 1-point games than we’ve ever seen at this stage in the tournament and probably a record for tears shed as well. The good news is we have until Thursday to catch our breath before the roller coaster starts again and here are some the games that took our breath away. #7 Wichita St. over #2 Kansas – As big a prize as a birth in the Sweet 16 is, for some Kansans, particularly the roughly 400,000 in the city of Wichita, there may have been something much more important on the line. Pride. As for only the third time in history, the Wichita State Shockers beat the University of Kansas in basketball, and the fact that it came in the tournament only made it that much sweeter. To understand the magnitude of this you have to dig a little deeper and understand that Kansas pretty much refuses to play Wichita every year for reasons they seem to keep to themselves. True in prior years it wasn’t worth their time, but over the past 5 years the tide has changed a bit as well as their motives. No doubt, KU has always been in the mix but recently the Shockers have been as well and losing to your “little brother” doesn’t do much for your self-esteem, or your recruiting. On this day the Shockers simply were playing like a little brother who was all ‘growns up’ and ready to take his place at the table. They outworked the Jayhawks and dominated the game from the 10 minute mark in the first half on. Now if they are satisfied with this win they can still say they’ve had a successful season, but if they want a shot a Final Four they they’ll need a repeat effort and then some, to get revenge on the school that knocked them out of the dance when they were a top seed, Kentucky. The circumstances are now reciprocal and it’s the Wildcats who are top-seed, but if Wichita State feels loose and like it’s house money then they may have one more shock in them. #1 Nova fails to get out of the opening weekend, again. – Villanova fans have to be wondering what in the world they have to do to get out of the round of 32. They put together a gargantuan 32-2 record against good competition, get a number one seed, and get pitted against a team with 13 losses with a chance to advance in a bracket where the second seed gets sent home early. Tailor made for trip to the Final Four right? Well the woes continue and the Cats are left pondering how their best team in years is sitting at home before the end of the month. Honestly, you could have switched the jerseys and you wouldn’t have been able to tell who was the top seed an who was the 8. NC State didn’t play like a team that finished 7th in their own conference and was barely over .500. They even finished below Miami whom didn’t make the tournament. What they do have is a balanced attack, with four starters in double digits and had a lead at the half they wouldn’t let go away. Now they will take on a Louisville team that has a week to prepare for them so don’t look for Rick Patino and his group to be caught off guard but if the Wolf Pack can duplicate the effort it may not matter. Next up…..Was Virginia the victim of bad bracket seeding?

No comments: