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LCB Hoops Picks: The Madness Begins

March 17, 2010

For the better part of this season in college hoops, we have picked two games that are must see television. However March Madness offers a little more than the typical Saturday. So, for the tourney , myself and Berndon will share a thought or two and finish by giving you our sweet sixteen teams and upset picks for the opening weekend.
Langston: During the selection show on CBS, they showed various teams and their reactions to the seedings. For the most part, teams and fans showed a lot of excitement when they were announced. But for a couple schools, it looked like someone had just stole their sandwich and punched their sister. The latter was true for the University of Tennessee. During most of the season they were projected between a four and five seed, and most believed with their marquee wins and highly ranked RPI that they were worthy of, at worst, a four seed. It was obvious to anyone watching from home that they too believed they deserved better than a six.

After hearing the news, I immediately texted Berndon and Teach so I could share my distaste for this atrocious error. I then moved to the interwebs looking for an answer. Some of my fellow Vol fans say they got the screw job because of 2005, when they were given a two seed with a 21-7 record and bowed out early in the second round to 7th seeded Wichita State. But that should be forgotten since they've made the sweet sixteen in two of the last three years, oh and it was 4 fucking years ago. Some say it's due to a lack of marquee road wins. On the other hand, they became the first team to beat a #1 and #2 ranked team in the same season which should trump almost any of the explanations. Some say that the Vols last opportunity to prove they deserved better was blown, playing like hot garbage the last nine minutes of the game against Kentucky. However, if that's the reasoning, should Florida even be in the tournament? The Gators somehow snuck into the dance after finishing the season with a record of 1-4 in the last five and a loss in the second round of the SEC tournament. All of these excuses are fair and understandable. Still the only one that holds any water with me is the committee's task of seeding teams while avoiding rematches before regionals. With 65 teams in the mix, the charge of assuring that all of these teams from the same conferences and attendants of the same invitationals don't play before the sweet sixteen  must be a painstaking process. In the end, the committee's defense of the entire selection procedure was a mixture of the ones listed above. And whatever the true reason, it's now something the Vols and all the other annoyed teams need to move past. If they fail to move forward, an early exit will certainly be the end result. 

Berndon: I like many others, have grown a little tired of all the bitching and complaing about how so-and-so didn't get into the tournament field. If you're Illinois, VT etc, you have no reason to complain. All of these bubble teams had plenty of chances to play their way into the tourney. That being said, I do think that the committee needs to have a more clear cut way of making their selections. I really hate the BCS, but I really think the powers that be need to have some sort of formula that is similar,  where they definitively look at RPI, schedule strength etc to have a specific formula to rate teams and put them into the field. There shouldn't be a variance from year to year where certain things count one year, then it changes when the next committee comes in. Have a distinct formula for deciding this thing, taking away the talk about how so and so was better than this team that made it. It annoys me because it takes away from the actual teams that made it. We instead have to listen to all kinds of talk about these "last 4 out" teams that weren't going to cut the nets down anyway.

Upset Picks
(13) Siena over (4) Purdue: Siena has moved onto the second round in each of the past two seasons, and Robbie Hummel's ACL tear is looming large over this once tough Purdue squad.

(11) Washington over (6) Marquette: The Golden Eagles have been escaping close games all year long. But with a long trip to San Diego and a hot Huskie team ahead of them, they might not have that opportunity this time around.

(11) Old Dominion over (6) Notre Dame: You can call this a combination of four things; school blinders (Monarch Madness!), gut feeling, Blaine Taylor's awesome cop 'stache, and state pride.

(12) UTEP v. (5) Butler: Over the years, Butler has used being a underdog as motivation to move past the first day in the tourney. Now they're the favorites and the ones to be ambushed. UTEP is badly under-seeded after losing in the C-USA tournament finale to Houston and are talented enough to go deep in the tournament.

(12) New Mexico St. v. (5) Michigan St: I love Izzo, but I don't necessarily like his team this year. They've been highly inconsistent, and don't rebound or play defense nearly as well as his squads in the past.

(13) Murray St. v. (4) Vanderbilit: I've like Vandy all year, but the Racers went 30-4. The Commodores tend to have dry spells, and I think they'll come out cold here.

(10) St. Mary's v. (7) Richmond: Not really that much of an upset, but I already have Siena and UTEP winning as well, so I'll go in a different direction. The Gaels looked really good against Gonzaga in the WCC championship, and Richmond does not have anyone who can stop Omar Samhan.

(10) Florida v. (7) BYU: I seemingly pick BYU every single year to win in round 1, and every year they burn me. This combined with Billy Donovan's championship pedigree made my decision for me.

Sweet Sixteen 
(Editor's Note: All picks are subject to change with the wind)
Midwest Region:
Langston: (1)Kansas, (4)Maryland, (3)Georgetown, and (2)Ohio State
Berndon: (1) Kansas, (4) Maryland, (3) Georgetown, and (2) Ohio State

West Region:
Langston: (1) Syracuse, (12) UTEP,  (6) Xavier, and (7) BYU
Berndon: (1) Syracuse, (12) UTEP, (3) Pitt, and (2) Kansas St.

East Region:
Langston: (1) Kentucky, (5) Temple, (3) New Mexico, and (2) West Virginia
Berndon: (1) Kentucky, (5) Temple, (11) Washington, and (2) West Virginia

South Region:
Langston: (1) Duke, (5) Texas A&M, (3) Baylor, and (7) Richmond
Berndon: (1) Duke, (5) Texas A&M, (3) Baylor, and (10) St. Mary's


Deckfight said...

i fear vandy will lose to murray st. they lost to siena last yr.

vandy getting a higher seed than tennessee makes no sense. florida in the tournament makes no sense. someone felt sorry for billy donovan, since this would've been what 3? straight misses in the NCAA & donovan is no longer mentioned as a coaching genius.

March 17, 2010 at 6:51 PM
Langston said...

Vandy and Tennessee should have been given 5 seeds, they are both top 20 teams in the country.

I don't really see the Murray State upset. Vandy has proven themselves against tourney teams all year long, while Murray State had one of the weaker schedules in the country. I know winning 30 games is tough for any team, but I just don't see them winning 31. Though, I really shouldn't talk, as I have a bad feeling Tennessee will let the Aztecs hang around too long.

Agreed on the Donovan sentiment, if anything he is a great recruiter (I'm sure coaching in Gainesville helps) with average coaching abilities.

March 17, 2010 at 7:32 PM
Russ said...

So many people are picking Siena, I would consider Purdue the upset pick.

Love Cornell to get the sweet 16.

March 17, 2010 at 10:23 PM
Langston said...

Couldn't you say the same thing for almost all of the upset picks? I mean there's a reason everyone has the same 5 or 6 upsets in their brackets, because they're the most likely to happen.

March 17, 2010 at 11:02 PM
Langston said...

The Cornell/Temple game is one of the few in round one that I will go out of my way to watch. They match-up really well together, especially when Cornell has the ball. If the big red can makes it past them, I wouldn't bet against them going far. Well, for an Ivy league school.

March 17, 2010 at 11:12 PM
Langston said...

For those of you who want to know what games you will be subjected to, this site has the TV maps for each time slot.

March 18, 2010 at 12:51 AM
Teach said...

for the record, I've got Murray St against Vandy but that looks to be in doubt with 4 secs left

March 18, 2010 at 4:43 PM
Teach said...

nevermind...message boards are too slow for real time

March 18, 2010 at 4:43 PM
Teach said...

Russ: with that Cornell talk, are you sure you're not Jay Bilas?

March 18, 2010 at 4:44 PM
Langston said...

Sorry Deckfight, your intuition was right. I should have never doubted you.

March 18, 2010 at 4:52 PM
berndon4 said...

5 out of the 7 games so far have been amazing.....hopefully it keeps up

March 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM
Langston said...

The first time slot (ODU-ND, Nova-RMU, and UF-BYU) may have been the best in recent memory. In one game you have the teams separated by one point, another goes to OT, and another goes into 2OT. Simply awesome.

March 18, 2010 at 6:06 PM
Iceman, AD said...

I think I'm naming my first born son Jimmer. Just so long as he isn't Mormon we'll be set.

March 18, 2010 at 8:53 PM
berndon4 said...

haha....i'm contemplating either naming my first born son either Jimmer or Xavier, pronouncing it (X AV I A) like Xavier Henry. Then whenever he does anything remotely productive or intelligent, I can just make like Xavier fans whenever they do anything good in a game and just cross my arms in an X. Cue to 2020, where young Xavier just learned to piss in the toilet and not in his pants anymore. Out I come out of the bathroom with a grin directed toward my wife, crossing my arms and exclaiming "X." I don't think this would get old at all.

March 19, 2010 at 2:07 AM

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