Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness Hangover: First Weekend Edition

If you are like me, you woke up on Monday morning with a serious March Madness hangover. From Thursday at noon, until Sunday at around midnight, you were consumed with college hoop. There were the buzzer beaters, controversial missed calls, upsets, and an urge to set fire to your bracket. Definitely enough to make you feel basketball drunk. Here are a few thoughts from what was a wild, first weekend.

Representing B1G Time: Coming into the NCAA Tournament people from Charles Barkley, to fans of teams in the ACC and Big East were praying for the B1G's downfall harder than Biggie felt his enemies were on Life After Death. They were hoping the conference would prove that it was overrated, and have a lot of teams get sent home before we even got to the Sweet Sixteen. That definitely was not the case.

Outside of Wisconsin, the B1G acquitted themselves well during the first weekend. There were dominant performances by Michigan State and Michigan in what were expected to be tough tests. The conference also had controversial(Ohio State) and gutty(Indiana) wins in games on Sunday. Minnesota got a solid win in their first game. They ended up losing to Florida, in a game that was the nail in the coffin to Tubby Smith's tenure there. Then, Illinois fell victim to a questionable call, that cost them a chance to win the game against Miami.

All in all, it was a very good showing for the B1G in the first weekend of the tournament. There is still much work to be done, but to completely silence the naysayers, I think they need to place a team, maybe two in the Final Four. Nothing that I saw from them this past weekend makes me think that is impossible.

"Gone-Zaga"- The groundswell against Gonzaga coming into the tournament was very strong. They were perceived as the weakest #1 seed, and picked by many to be the first #1 seed to be dismissed from the tournament. Their "Second Round"(still can't get used to calling it that...) game against Southern did nothing to change that. On Saturday night, Wichita St hit the Zags with one of the more special three point shooting performances and sent them back to Spokane. This was all that people needed to confirm in their minds that Gonzaga did not belong mentioned with the "elites". There loss will forever tarnish what was a great season for this group, and give pause to people from here on out about giving a team outside of the "Power Six" conferences a number one seed. The Zags had a great chance to change perception, and blew it.

Gulf Coastin- Filling out my bracket, I placed Georgetown in the Final Four. Needless to say, I expected their game against Florida Gulf Coast to be a relatively easy win. Clearly, the Hoyas came in thinking the same thing, and in the end we both were wrong. The crazy thing is, as I watched the game, I found myself saying forget the bracket, this team is fun to watch.

As a favorite, you can not allow the underdog get confidence. You need to exert your will on the team, and make them feel they do not have a chance. Watching the game Friday, FGCU turned the tables on Georgetown, and made it seem like they were the favorites coming in. It was impressive to watch the confidence, attitude, and borderline disrespect they came at Georgetown with. It reminded me of the year that Golden State was the eight seed in the NBA playoffs, and beat Dallas in the first round. They punched them in the mouth, got them down, and kept beating on them with flair. That confidence helped them to a win against San Diego State Sunday night as well, and set them up for a game with Florida in the Sweet Sixteen. Not sure if they can get a win in that one, but I'm looking forward to seeing how they compete.

Well there are my thoughts as I work my way through this March Madness Hangover. The good thing about this hangover is, you don't have to lie in a prayer, and say "If You make me feel better, I'll never do it again". You simply woke up Monday morning, and thought, "I can't wait to start it all over again on Thursday night". At least that is what I was thinking. Is it Thursday night yet???

I'm Jimmy L. Wilson Jr. and I approve this message

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