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Monday, March 14, 2011

Initial Thoughts on the 2011 NCAA Tournament

The brackets are out, and March Madness can finally get into full swing. That’s not to suggest that the conference tournaments weren’t a great kickoff, but despite the fact that the NCAA seems determined to mess up Thursday and Friday of the first week of the tournament – formerly known as Round 1 – they are still the best two days of the year in sports.

While we all try to find truTv on our televisions – as far as I can tell it’s not even in HD on FiOS – here’s a few early thoughts on the tournament. My brackets will be posted before the Thursday’s games.

• I guess I’m a subway alum of Villanova since I went to a state school not initialed PSU and root for the Wildcats, but even I don’t think ‘Nova should be in this tournament. They are a perfect example of why the field of 64 was just fine and should have been left alone. Villanova lost 10 of their last 15 games, and didn’t win a game in the Big East Tournament. The only argument I’ve heard for them getting in is that it was a “weak bubble” this year. Well, stop expanding the bubble and we don’t have that problem.

• Despite the above, writing on Sunday night, I think Villanova gets a win against George Mason. Temple is definitely beating Penn State, and I don’t know that I’ll pick it, but I don’t think it’s impossible for them to beat San Diego State. By the way, can Philadelphia claim PSU as a local team? I vote to dump LaSalle or Drexel from the Big 5 and bring them in.

• I was thrilled several say how ridiculous it is to hear so much debate over the seeding. Go play basketball. You’re playing for the national championship. If you’re good enough to win it, playing as a 1 versus being a 2 seed doesn’t mean anything. The media kept making a big deal about how many 1 seeds have won the title. Give the tournament selection committee credit instead of crying about it. Those teams didn’t win because they played a 16 seed instead of a 15 seed. They were the best teams.

• I was ok with the additional play-in games until I saw how they were being done. The NCAA is so desperate to have them viewed as Round 1 instead of play-in games, they have games between two 11 seeds and two 12 seeds, along with the two games to decide two of the 16 seeds. It’s completely illogical, and an obvious attempt to make the games more attractive to television. How do 11 and 12 seeds have to play more games than 13, 14, 15, and two 16 seeds?

• I’ll post some official picks later in the week, but I love Kansas +500 to win it all. Obviously, I wouldn’t go nuts with it, but I’ve been riding them as a pick a lot this year with some solid success.

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