Remember when we used to be gearing up for that inevitable “will they or won’t they make the sweet 16″ second round round matchup this time of year (because winning in the first round was a foregone conclusion)?
Remember when we used to argue about the merits of getting the three seed over the two seed?
Remember when we didn’t have a losing record for 23 years?
Well those days are over and unless you believe, like me, that OSU has a legit tourney team pawing down the 2012-2013 doors, they aren’t coming back any time soon.
But you’re still going to watch the dance this year, we all are. This isn’t “occupy anything other than the channel LSU and Bama are playing on for the title” type stuff. It’s March, you watch, I tweet, Jim Nantz thumbs through his Masters media guide while halfheartedly calling North Carolina games. It’s madness!
So to swipe a page out of the CRFF manual, I’m going to pick a team from each region to hitch my wagon to. This isn’t me jumping ship, this is me pulling a Simmons and backing a quartet of tourney teams (the Clippers) while my team (the Celtics) is on hiatus (4,000 miles away).
South | South Dakota State – I know you’re not going to believe this but this pick has nothing to do with how I feel about Baylor. In fact, I have Baylor in my elite eight (and Kentucky in my Final Four), but I’m all in on the Jackrabbits, a squad that beat Washington by 20 while Nate Wolters (its best player with the worst haircut) had 34. Also, 13 of their 15 players are…um…let’s just say…they’re going to whitewash a couple of lottery picks for about 38 of 40 minutes on Thursday. And it’s going to be awesome.
West | Mizzou - I’m sold, they’re unbelievable. And since we’re all going to work for Kim English some day we might as well get a head start sucking up to him by picking his squad to make the Final Four. I actually think they’re the best team in this region and I KNOW they’re going to be the most fun to watch. Also, if you could bet on things like “Ricardo Ratliffe will shoot 85% in this tournament” and I could get 4-1 odds or better, I’d do it.
East | *Copout Alert* Winner of the Harvard/Vandy game - So I’m guaranteed to have a team in the second round! Quick tangent here: I refuse (and you should too) to call the first and second rounds “the second and third rounds” just because eight crappy teams are playing on a Tuesday night because the NCAA needed to make a few more bucks. It’s the first round, it’s the second round, it’s the sweet 16, and so on. While we’re here, do you think the cumulative SAT scores from either of these teams is higher than all the SAT scores combined in the Kentucky Mississippi Valley State game? I say it’s a lock.
Midwest | N.C. State (although I always root for KU) – All because of this….pretty much everything you want March to mean: