If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or follow us on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!
For this sports fan, few events offer a prolonged and sustained period of sports enjoyment than the NCAA Men’s Championship Basketball Tournament, affectionately referred to as “March Madness.” As exciting as this annual pilgrimage through the brackets is, we usually find ourselves starting at fearsome foursome of at or near top seeds during the Final Four weekend. Not so in 2011. Salute the infiltration of the Mid-Majors to the Final Four.
This weekend’s games are comprised of the #4 seed Kentucky Wildcats playing the #3 seed Connecticut Huskies (Saturday, 6:09PM EST) and the #11 Virginia Commonwealth Rams playing the #8 Butler Bulldogs. When I watch the tournament every year, after rooting for my local interests, I secondarily have a secret crush on the underdogs. Yeah, I’m telling you that my ultimate wish would be to see four #16 seeds make it to the Final Four and set the bracket right on its ear.
Why VCU is taking the cake after the jump >>
Thankfully, the NCAA avoided depth-charging the preferred college basketball tournament by not expanding it to 96 teams
, something that was quite feared shortly after Duke beat the Butler Bulldogs. While the basketball committee did decide to include more teams in upcoming editions, it won’t be a glut of schools that have no reason to challenge for a National Championship, regardless of name recognition.
According to a new article from Andy Katz, the expansion plans call for the addition of a new first round, one that will pit the last four at-large bid teams against the last four automatic qualifiers, in a newly-created round called the “First Four.” Some details:
The “First Four” will be played either the Tuesday or Wednesday after Selection Sunday. The winners of the four games will advance to what will now be called the “second round” on either Thursday or Friday. The newly named third round — with 16 games — will be Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the tournament — regional semifinals (Sweet 16) and regional finals (Elite Eight) — will remain as they have been, as will the Final Four, which is set for Houston in 2011…
[Tournament selection committee chairman Dan] Guerrero and [NCAA vice president Greg] Shaheen said the last four at-large teams would be put on the seed line the committee decided they earned. So, this could mean that two could be considered No. 12 seeds playing for the right to play a No. 5 and two could be No. 11s vying to play a No. 6 in the second round.
Essentially, these last eight teams will play each other in the “new” first round and the winner advances to play what we recognize as the old first round (now the second). Think of it this way, two teams will fight for the right to be a “12-seed” with the winner facing the traditional “5-seed” in the second round. The other two games will be an extension of the current “play-in game” scenario.
The “First Four” games will be shown on TruTV earlier in the week so they don’t interfere with the traditional start of the Big Dance.
Well, the Sweet Sixteen is set
(I like WithLeather’s bracket a lot more than the standard inverted pyramid) and I hope your brackets are doing alright. I must be the only person in America to only miss two total picks in the East and South regions… and still be close to the bottom of a “league,” rankings-wise. I guess that’s what I get for completely beefing the Midwest and West brackets.
Anyway, here’s the top 10 standing for the Intentional Foul bracket challenge, complete with total points and total possible points and their selected National Champion:
1. Louie’s Sweaters (David Utter) – 51 out of 163 – North Carolina
2. Dave’s picks (dbrait2000) – 48 out of 144 – No National Champion selected
3. jankees suck (Matthew Liddell) – 48 out of 112 – Connecticut
4. Mr. Hand’s… (Chris Canjar) – 48 out of 104 – Pittsburgh
5. DCScrap (Doug Shecker) – 47 out of 171 – North Carolina
6. RussellHIFoul (Russ Hailwood) – 47 out of 143 – Kansas
7. RCS – Gut Picks (Robbie Gillies) – 45 out of 165 – North Carolina
8. Duff4 (duffke) – 45 out of 165 – North Carolina
9. Cleveland Steamers (Chad C) – 45 out of 165 – UCLA
10. Jake D (Jake Dubin) – 45 out of 165 – Kansas
As you can see, there are a great deal of tied scores going on here; something that should be cleared up by next Sunday… Although, I feel for dbrait. He’s in a position to win but forgot to select a National Champion. As for me, well, I’m 24th out of the 35. With a South and East region that’s almost perfect.
Maybe next time I’ll pay more attention to the West and Midwest because I want free beer too.
In all fairness, we should probably show the last place entry as well: In 35th place we have Yeah Right, who scored a whopping 11 points in the first two rounds. I’m thinking he didn’t care where he ended up either.
He has Kentucky as the National Champion.
That’s right folks. We here at Intentional Foul would be remiss if we didn’t start a Tournament Challenge as well. We aren’t remiss.
Because of the last-minute thing, we’ve decided to use Yahoo’s service to provide our Bracket Challenge, so head on over and join in the March Madness fun, Intentional Foul-style. Our league ID 115876 and the PW is letmein.
And guess what else? We have prizes!
The winner of our Bracket Challenge gets a case of beer (with link of said case… 12 oz size, please) — in the form of a PayPal deposit for the cost of a case of your choice; if you are under 21, we’ll limit the deposit to the cost of a case of soft drinks.
Also, if you have a blog, we’ll do a write-up/feature extolling the virtues of your work and winner-picking skills.
So if you aren’t already bracketed out and you want some free beer (or soft drinks) in April, join up and see if you can pick em. Again our league information is:
ID = 115876
PW = letmein
We look forward to kicking your collective ass. Oh yeah, let me know if you have any problems accessing the group.
By now, you’ve entered one or two of the thousands of NCAA Tournament bracket challenges out there in anticipation of this upcoming weekend’s basketball cavalcade. However, sometimes those inverted pyramids can be daunting. Is Butler better than South Alabama? Will all the number one seeds make it all the way to the Final Four? Yeah, lots of questions.
More bracket talk after the jump >>