- If there was ever a time where the NCAA should be thankful for what gambling does to promote its sports, it is now. Because if it weren’t for the satisfaction that comes from winning an office pool, there would be just one game worth watching over the next three weeks.
And it wouldn’t be the one that falls on the first Monday in April either.
It would be the one that comes just two hours before Lost this Thursday night, the 6-11 matchup between two schools led by freshmen - O.J. Mayo’s USC team and Kansas State, with Michael Beasley, the best player in college basketball.
The two future lottery picks are among the few names that the average (and even slightly above average) sports fan will actually recognize in a tournament that has never been filled with so many anonymous faces. Sure, all the top schools are in along with their big name coaches, but wouldn’t it be nice to know more than two freshmen and someone nicknamed Psycho-T?
The best 35 minutes of the tournament will come on the first night. But with five minutes left, no matter the score, America will collectively turn to ABC so we can Meet Kevin Johnson.
At least we’ve seen him before.
- Forget not knowing most of the players, who are some of these teams? Mid-Majors are fun when they are pulling off stunning upsets over the top ranked teams, but it’s different when they are paired against each other in first round games.
There’s a time and place for that. It’s called the Bracket Buster and ESPN plugs it more than NASCAR.
- Not even the NCAA believes the Opening Round game is part of the tournament anymore. If it did, Coppin State would be playing Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday night. But because the committee didn’t want to deal with the blowback it would have gotten for placing two HBCU’s in a game that doesn’t matter (even know they are the lowest ranked teams in the field), it stuck Mount St. Mary’s in MVSU’s spot.
- North Carolina doesn’t have to leave the state in order to get to the Final Four, but they still might have the toughest draw of all the No, 1 seeds.
- UCLA had to go through UConn the last time it won a National Title too.
- Kansas and Georgetown might have the two easiest roads to the regional final in the history of the tournament.
- My picks: I’ll go into more depth with my guests on the podcast later this week, but my initial picks are Louisville, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis.