So now that the first big weekend of March Madness is done, how do your brackets look? Not a lot of upsets so if you went with mostly higher seeds you should be good! Watched a little B-Ball over the weekend, but for me at least the best came last as UCF came ever so close to upsetting # 1 seed Duke. Very exciting game that came down to the final missed put back and a Duke team being given all they could handle. CBS had to be happy for two reasons, one they kept you until the very end of the game because it was so close and two because in the end the #1 team won! Both good for ratings now and going forward. Phil Rosenthal and Tim Bannon had some great insight in this mornings Trib. from the first four days that I thought was worth sharing:
There is perhaps no better stretch of five days in college sports than the first 100 games of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
So many winners. So many losers. Let’s take an accounting.
Winner: CBS’ Zion Cam
You could almost hear the network execs breathe a sigh of relief as Zion Williamson and top-seeded Duke escaped with a 77-76 victory over Central Florida on Sunday. The network knows fans — especially in NBA lottery markets such as Chicago — want to see the prospective No. 1 pro pick in action. “Because of Zion, we have added a camera dedicated to him the whole time he is on the floor,” CBS producer Mark Wolff told the News and Observer of Raleigh, N.C. Wolff said the network is out “to record everything he does.” This is believed to be unprecedented but of course raises the obvious question of why viewers can’t access an all-Zion stream. It would be a big hit.
Winner: Admiral Schofield
Not only does the 6-foot-6 Tennessee senior have the best name in the tournament, he’s building quite a reputation to go along with it, helping lead the Vols to the South Region semifinals. He’s also proof there is more than one Zion relevant to this tournament. Schofield, who was born in London, played his high school ball at Zion-Benton High School.
Losing to Duke, even if only by a point, didn’t feel any better than those football playoff snubs, did it? It’s a shame. Tacko Fall was fun to watch.
Winner: Atlantic Coast Conference
The ACC had three of the four No. 1 seeds, so this was looking to be a good tournament for the conference. But it doesn’t get much better than having five of their seven tournament teams — Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Florida State — still alive heading into the second week and the round of 16.
Winner: Big Ten
Eight Big Ten teams made the tournament, the most of any conference. Then all of them but Wisconsin quickly answered doubters by winning their first-round games. Three conference teams — Michigan State, Michigan and Purdue — advanced to the Sweet 16. Not on par with the ACC, or even the Southeastern Conference (which has four of seven tournament teams still alive), but not bad. Loser: Big Ten
Michigan State and Minnesota had to face each other in the second round, something the tournament used to avoid until the Elite Eight. But now such early conference matchups are difficult to prevent with mega-conferences sending so many teams to the NCAAs. “Playing another Big Ten team in the second game?” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Thursday. “(I) question that. But that’s the way it is. I think we’ll be ready to play.”
Loser and winner: Tom Izzo
The MSU coach was criticized in some circles for berating freshman Aaron Henry in a first-round game on Thursday. On Saturday the coach led the Spartans past Minnesota for the team’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2015.
Loser: “Rocky Top”
Anybody ever pay attention to the lyrics of this song? Long associated with the Sweet 16-bound Tennessee Volunteers (albeit not their official fight song), it’s apparently about an isolated, barren place without telephones that’s recalled fondly as home to a woman who’s “half bear, other half cat” and moonshiners who apparently offed a couple of revenue agents.
No, not the college team that gave No. 2 Tennessee team a battle in Friday’s first round before losing. The toothpaste, which got tons of free publicity.
Winner: Charles Barkley
Is there anything more entertaining than watching Charles Barkley watching his Auburn Tigers in the NCAA Tournament? And now we get at least one more dose as they play again Friday against Kenny Smith’s North Carolina Tar Heels.
Winner: Max Hazzard
Before the 6-foot redshirt junior guard led UC Irvine to a first-round victory over Kansas State, the Anteaters’ biggest postseason victory was a 1986 opening-round NIT defeat of Reggie Miller and UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The
Bruins’ coach at the time? The late Walt Hazzard, Max’s grandfather.
The sixth-seeded women’s team was upset in first round by No. 11 Missouri State, extinguishing its chance to play in the Sweet 16 this weekend on its home court at Wintrust Arena.
Loser: “60 Minutes”
Samuel L. Jackson is the highest-grossing actor in Hollywood history, and more than worthy of a profile by Steve Kroft. But the timing — showcasing Jackson when a credit card company is paying CBS big bucks to run an onslaught of ads with him in it during the tournament — makes one wonder. Lesley Stahl better not be sitting down with the Geico gecko next week.
Winner: Porter Moser
Loyola’s coach couldn’t get the Ramblers back to the NCAA Tournament — and then they lost to Creighton in first round of this year’s NIT. But at least he got a gig as a guest studio analyst for CBS and Turner’s weekend tournament coverage.
Loser: The Bradley brand
The Braves should have tried to ban Michigan State’s Cassius Winston.
Winner: Ja Morant
Anyone who didn’t know much about the Murray State sophomore guard does now, after his performance Thursday. Morant recorded the eighth triple-double in NCAA Tournament history, as he led the Racers past
Marquette. Despite his 28 points in Murray State’s second- round game, Florida State proved Morant’s breaker. Loser: NCAA lawyers
Among the many tournament phrases trademarked and zealously guarded by the NCAA is “The Road to Minneapolis.” Honestly, how does that not belong to Interstate 94?
Winners: TruTV’s true fans
After Sunday, no more nettlesome college basketball. Back to “Impractical Jokers” marathons, the way it ought to be.