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.
I never thought I’d trot out this picture in relation to anything regarding the NCAA, but lo and behold, thanks to their brilliant decision concerning the NCAA Tournament, here it is. What’s more, I completely agree with the sentiment the pooch is offering. Again, this post and all the accolades I’m throwing is in regards to the NCAA and their decision NOT to expand the Big Dance to 96 teams.
I know, I know. There’s still a great deal the committee could address — one and done rule being number one — but the fact they ignored the temptation and actually expanded in a logical fashion — that is, four play-in games, giving us 68 teams instead of the oft-mentioned 96 practically makes today a red-letter date. At least in my book.
The Hoop Doctors were quick with this one. For all his first half efforts, Blake Griffin got tangled up with Morgan State’s Ameer Ali, who decided he’d do his best DeJuan Blair/Hasheem Thabeet reenactment by pulling Griffin over by the arm. For his efforts, Ali was asked to finish the game in the locker room.
The lesson being, don’t try and manhandle the Player of the Year — especially if you are in the process of getting crushed by him and his team.
I could change the word “productive” to “Alley-oop-filled” and the point would probably get across a little better. During the first half OU’s and Griffin’s destruction of Morgan State (The Player of the Year currently has 28 and 14), the OU forward had a number of alley-oop finishes, effectively demonstrating his incredible athleticism and control. The initial catch-and-layup is something to see, especially for a player of Griffin’s stature.
Perhaps the reports of OU’s demise — due to the lingering effects of Griffin’s concussion — are perhaps a little premature. The Sooners look strong tonight where some other high seeds have struggled. Is it a stretch to say the upcoming number one overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft might have something to do with that?
There’ll be better video of this up a little later, but I just couldn’t wait. A little less than 30 minutes ago, Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo simply emasculated one of Akron’s guards. I heard the name, but it escapes me right now. I’ll look that up eventually. For now, this is just too good to miss.
Pargo is listed at 6-2, but I’m guessing he wore some Prince boots the day he was measured. Whatever his stature, he certainly has some Nate Robinson-like rise.
Good morning, folks. Norm Sloan and I would like to remind you what today is, as if you didn’t know. Today is the first day of the rest of your bracket’s life. If you haven’t already, join in the IF Bacon Explosion Challenge — that is, if you want to win a golden achievement in bacon recipes. We’ll be back in about two hours to live blog all of the festivities. Be here. We will.
Oh, the things an overall number one seed can inspire. Take this little ditty in the lead video. It was put together by a couple of Louisville Cardinals fans who are quite excited about the upcoming NCAA Tournament. So much so, they make fan songs with pop music lyrics to demonstrate their excitement and support. On the YouTube page, the song’s creation is credited to Phillip L. Fletcher and Rodney V. Noble Jr. Here’s an example of their lyrical genius, with the punctuation [sics] included:
give it all you got_
don’t be a flake_
hey, hey, hey
Incidentally, the song’s name is, of course, called Go Cards, Red Hot. If that doesn’t motivate and vault the Cardinals to a Final Four Shangri-La, maybe Pitino’s white suit can.
Earlier today, Darren Rovell introduced to a March Madness-related ad from M&Ms. In it, they used the likenesses of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately, the guys at Mars, Inc. used their professional colors instead of, you know, their college colors. Magic in yellow is, of course, a nod to his Laker years, much like the Celtic green with Bird. The problem is, Bird’s college colors are blue and Magic’s are green. I understand the mistake–to a point.
Yes, both are synonymous with their professional teams, but seeing how they took part in one of the most important National Championship games ever–in effect, bringing March Madness to the masses–wanting to see Bird and Magic’s M&M avatar in their collegiate colors is only natural. With that in mind, I thought I’d do some quick-and-dirty color alterations in an effort to correct this oversight. Magic’s green is a little light for Michigan State, but you get the picture.
It’s better than using professional colors for a college basketball event.