Booyah II

NCAA hoopster junkies:

I’m enjoying the games this year, more than usual. Maybe because I actually tried my hand at predicting outcomes in a formal format.

My outcomes yesterday improved over Thursday’s by three.  Only two incorrect picks: Oklahoma State and Marquette lost. Also, one more of my picks, Louisville, won’t reach the sweet sixteen making that total two, for now.

Through most of the evening I thought I might get all sixteen games right.

My standing in relation to overall contestants improved quite a bit: points/250; pct/96.6; rank/160,151; PPR/1560. (leader so far is: pts/310; pct/100; rank/1; PPR/1600)

As for today’s games:

  • The Tennessee/Ohio game: I didn’t pick either team to advance to the second round so I missed this one completely.
  • I picked BYU over Kansas State before I saw a little bit of the KSU/N Texas game. I don’t think BYU can handle KSU’s speed/quickness nor its size. I missed this one badly. KSU by 10 (at least).
  • WCAC teams Gonzaga and St. Mary’s will perform well. Nice teams that could, if the ball bounces right, eek out upsets.
  • Another possible darkhorse: Cornell.  Their rout of Temple forebodes bad things for Wisconsin if the Badgers don’t play well (after squeaking by Wofford).
  • Winners today: staying with (as per my ESPN sheet),  Kansas, Butler, Kentucky, New Mexico, Baylor, Nova.
  • Winners today: going against (my ESPN sheet), Kansas State.
  • Winners today: missed completely (on ESPN sheet), Ohio (not overly impressed by Tennessee).
  • Overall interpretation and critique: higher seeds will generally win which follows trends as the bracket advances. Darkhorses are hard pressed to advance and I think that will continue despite some fleeting sense of parity. Talk that I’ve heard recently of expanding tournament size seems ludicrous. That would only propagate the notion that anyone/everyone has a chance to achieve what the Dukes, North Carolinas, and Kentuckies of the basketball world have. It’s like grade inflation in education.  Schools have figured out how to get their 20+ win seasons by padding their pre-conference schedules with smaller, weaker competition, even often including Ia and IIa schools and playing most of these games at home, much as the elite schools do. So there’s little chance of a sub 20 game winner getting an at large invite unless they win their conference tourney or are from a major conference. But because of the insularity of the major conferences, their mid-level performers who get at large invites often lose because these conferences don’t play strong mid-majors during the pre-season to actually know the competitive strengths of these teams. (Gonzaga has proved they are equal to or better than most major conference non-elites because they are willing to play single away games against major schools and strong early season tournaments.  That’s why they always seem to over perform which is simply a facile dismissal of mid-major quality.) The word “monopoly” has a ring of truth here… (Thinking of the BCS , in particular. At least mid-majors in basketball can imagine they have a chance as hollow as that dream is because they get to play at least one game, maybe two.) And the ranking systems that calculate strengths of schedules, conferences, etc. only reinforce the conventional wisdom and the structure of power in sports which is political, economic, and cultural just like it is with, as I said regarding educational advancement, grade inflation.

2010 NCAA bracket

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