until Texas vs Kansas

Monday, March 28


An elite weekend

WOW. That is really the only appropriate word to describe this weekend’s tournament action. As a whole, these were the best Elite Eight game in history. Four games, four overtime periods. We started with maybe the sanest of the overtime games in Albuquerque where Louisville overcame a twenty point first half deficit to beat West Virginia 95-83 in a single overtime. It looked through the entire first half like West Virginia was shooting into an ocean. They simply could not miss. Louisville played fairly well, but was lucky to be down only twenty. Texas would have been down thirty five points, at least. The hot shooting continued during the second half but Louisville’s toughness prevailed.

CBS then shipped us to neutral Chicago for Arizona vs. Illinois. I thought going into this game it would be upset city. I though Zona would have another hot shooting night, dominate inside, and the Illini would not be able to keep up. I was exactly right for thirty six minutes. What would Lute Olson do to have the final four minutes back? Illinois played fantastic, making three after steal after three to erase a fifteen point lead. Zona collapsed for sure, but Illinois played unbelievable as well. As the game entered OT, the momentum and fate had switched sides. Zona came close, but it was all over. Arizona had a terrific season claiming the Pac 10 regular season title, but it will all be remembered for what might have been.

And then Sunday. I woke this morning hoping for two more classics but realistically just wanting two close games. I watched a lot of the Carolina game before heading to the Erwin Center. Every time it looked like the Tar Heels were going to run away and hide, Wisconsin came back. The Badgers are overmatched at every position, except maybe coach, but more than held their own. This was the only one of the four that was not an Instant Classic, but maybe the one with the most impressive performance by the losing team.

Then, onto the Austin regional final, Kentucky vs. Michigan State. This was the best of the four. Both teams are deep, talented at every position, well coached, great rebounders, and better defenders. Neither team disappointed. I thought whoever could score 70 would win. I was wrong, which is not too surprising considering my picks. Kentucky came from eight points down in the final five minutes to tie it on Patrick Sparks ridiculous three from the top of the key. I have never seen a play like the final one of regulation. Three shots, one air ball, one long rebound, and one that suspends time as it balances on the rim before falling into the lore of Kentucky basketball. The overtimes were just as amazing. The only disappointment was that the Spartans free throw shooting success in the second overtime didn’t allow another last second shot. Michigan State deserved to win. Kentucky deserved to win. I was just thankful to be in attendance for maybe the best college basketball game I have ever seen.

Now onto the Final Four. I will write some predictions later this week. Be sure to bet against them heavily. My bracket should be burned. I did two brackets actually and neither is worth even looking at. I apologize to anyone who read my tourney thoughts on this site before the Madness began. I of course lost one Final Four team in the first round, Syracuse, and two more in the second, UConn and Wake Forest. The only one I got right was Illinois and picking the number one team in the country to make the Final Four should not be applauded. If anything it should be scorned for not having the guts to make a real pick. My upset picks went 0 for 4 in the first round. I lost one sleeper pick in the first round, LSU, one in the second, Georgia Tech, and another in the Sweet 16, Villanova. The only part of my post that was prophetic was Michigan State out of the Austin regional. I’ll hang my hat on that one. Remember to check back later this week to see my picks and bet heavily against them.

Oh yeah, if using my red pencil on my own picks time after time wasn’t depressing enough, my girlfriend’s picks are in first place. She will now be in charge of my sports betting account until further notice.

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