Brackets on the brain

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Sports Editor

Have you got your brackets filled in yet?

No? Well only one more day to ponder over wether or not that No. 10 seed can actually upset a seven or if Bobby Knight and the Hoosiers are gonna choke again this year or if Knight is simply going to choke a ref and be done with it.

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There hasn’t been a year go by in the past six or seven years that I haven’t filled out the big field of 64 and rooted for those little upsets the first few days so my teams would stay in it just one more round.

So what about this year’s field guys? What do you think? I’ve heard just about every argument on the radio and TV, around the office and even at the baseball field. There’s only one fact about this year’s tournament and that is no one is really sure about anything.

This is one of those years where any number of teams have a legit chance at winning those precious six games and taking home the big banner, but let’s not dwell on that right now. Heck, I just like all the little stories that crop up here and there this time of year. It’s fun to see the potential matchups and what could be unbelievable upsets in these first couple of rounds.

Upset Specials

Everyone has their own idea of who is going to upset who. Heck, if you read some of the stuff in the USA Today on all the teams there aren’t very many of the teams listed that don’t have a chance.

Now no one is stupid enough to predict a first round loss for any of the No. 1 seeds, but beyond that there is no limit to the craziness.

Personally I like the No. 13 Samford matchup with No. 4 Syracuse. I know a lot of people are picking them to beat the Orangemen, but that just seems like a pretty interesting matchup. You can almost bet on this one being a tight contest and with the Bulldogs getting some experience in last year they might be able to get past those early blisters cinderella’s slippers gave them in 1999.

I also like No. 11 Ball State over No. 6 UCLA mainly because the Bruins look like choke artist this year. Not only that, but this is a Ball State club that handled a ranked Purdue team by 20 points early in the year and has some tough defense to back up a capable backcourt.

Besides those two I have to be pulling for the Hogs, a paltry No. 11 seed after their SEC Tourney Championship going up against a No. 6 seeded Miami. At full strength and full blast this young Arkansas team can run anyone off the court and could pose a tough second round matchup with Ohio State if they get rolling Friday.

SEC getting the shaft?

The first thing I noticed about the SEC bids that were delivered was that the highest seed was a No. 4. That’s kind of crazy considering the depth in the league this season.

The second thing I noticed was that no SEC team was seeded lower than No. 7 besides Arkansas and we got the most of any other conference, but that still doesn’t make up for Vanderbilt not getting in.

Sure if Arkansas hadn’t got that automatic bid everyone is saying the Commodores would have made it, but the committee says it doesn’t work that way. They don’t pick them that way and it doesn’t matter how many make it from one conference.

Bull-malarky I say!

All you have to do is say UNLV, North Carolina, Pepperdine, Louisville and maybe even Wisconsin. None of these teams could stand toe-to-toe with Vandy and they all got spots.

No time to worry about that now though. While the ‘Dores will be NIT’in it this week, the rest of the SEC has a hard row to hoe if they hope to make a respectable conference statement.

Look for Tennessee, Florida and maybe even Kentucky to get hot and go somewhere in the next couple of weeks.

Never say never

Oh, and one last note. To all you folks who avoid the office pools and stuff just on the basis of not knowing anything about sports… I have a story for you.

We used to get into a huge pool at a place I worked about three or four years ago and we talked this girl into throwing in her $5. We helped her a little, but mostly she just guessed at it.

I remember snickering at her when she handed me the sheet and I saw her picking Coppin State over South Carolina who was a very high seed (I had picked them to the final four). She told me that a friend of hers had gone to school there at CSU and I laughed even harder.

Well, all you NCAA Tourney buffs know what happened. Coppin State won and became the first No. 15 seed to every upset a No. 2 seed.

So, don’t give me all that I don’t know about basketball bull. When all is said and done, really nobody knows what the heck is going to happen starting tomorrow! DON’T YA JUST LOVE IT?!!