Thursday, March 19, 2009

My bracket and basketball jones

UPDATE: You've probably seen this one already but here's President Obama showing advanced aptitude for bracketology. He's going with the Heels, too. It's cool to have a president with an honest-to-goodness love for sports. And I ain't talking about golf or baseball either. h/t PB.

UPDATE II: Leave it to Fox News and Mark Halperin to start a scrum where none existed previously. People can say whatever they want about Coach K. But the man ain't stupid.

Only a few hours into the NCAA men's tournament and I feel pretty good about the "Phi Slamma Jamma Jr." bracket. At the moment, I'm 2-for-3 on the early games - Butler is my only early-round loser so far.

But taking the long view at how things will shake out, I feel oddly at peace with my picks. That could be because I mostly went chalk. Some notable choices from my bracket:

- Memphis going down to Missouri in the West Regional semifinals. I really think Mike Anderson's "40 Minutes of Hell" defense and deep bench will wreak havoc on Memphis, which has converted freshman point guard Tyreke Evans running the offense.

- Villanova over Pitt in the East Regional final. The Wildcats beat the top-seeded Panthers on a "neutral" floor earlier in the season, and Pitt's physical style leaves them prone to foul trouble in a tightly officiated game.

- Syracuse over Oklahoma in the South Regional final. I may come to regret this one because I'm got a basketball jones for Blake Griffin. That said, Jim Boeheim's zone defense could confuse the hell out of the Sooners. I'm not so sure OU can hit the jumpers they need to win that one.

Of course, this could all be bullshit. I didn't watch an entire college basketball game this year until a couple hours ago.

My Final Four picks: Louisville, UCONN, Villanova, North Carolina.

The champ: The Tar Heels. Assuming Ty Lawson can get his toe straight, I really don't see anyone with enough talent to overcome UNC. Roy Williams will have the troops focused, Psycho T will benefit from generous officiating and no one has the firepower to keep up with the Heels when they're rolling.

And now, highlights one of my favorite non-Phi Slamma Jamma college hoops teams of all-time: the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in 1990. They narrowly edged out the Fab Five, OU in 87-88, and, of course, those Running Frogs of 97-98. Guess I had a thing for Billy Tubbs. And losers.


avery said...

larry johnson 'nem? GOAT college b'ball team. imagine if they ain't take the dough the next year.

(you cannot TELL me that game against duke wasn't fixed.)

blackink said...

Man, you know, I still have no clue how Duke took that game from the Rebs. But the difference - other than some shaky reffin' - in the rematch might have been Grant Hill. That's about all I can figure.

One of my favorite players on that UNLV squad was Anderson Hunt. Homie really should have stayed in school.