The General’s Bracket Eulogy: 2010 Edition

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The General’s Bracket Eulogy: 2010 Edition

Alright, I said before this even started that an atom bomb would probably be detonated over my bracket.  Little did I know that there would be a “Fat Man”, a “Little Boy”, and a trio of “Baby Triplets”.

It’s time we did some learning from this situation and figured out a better way to build our brackets.  If you’re doing an office pool, creating a “bracket league”, or just going for the cash online we can certainly do better.

When choosing teams look for Juniors and Seniors who’ve played together for a while.  Look for teams that take their conference tournament seriously.  Plus, look for teams that are consistent on the road.

Let’s reflect on these new rules as we pick the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.  Not only will we fair better, but we can avoid extreme anger.

This Team Pissed Me Off

One team really pissed me off this weekend.  I had them going all the way to my Elite 8 and when they lost in the 2nd Round I was really honked off.

Villanova tried REALLY hard to lose to Robert Morris in the 1st Round after they didn’t start Scottie Reynolds.  They were fooling around with Robert Morris in a completely disrespectful way.  What’s worse is that Robert Morris almost slapped the taste out of their mouth.

After their scare with Robert Morris they continued their “tour of disrespect” against Saint Mary’s.  Saint Mary’s got out front and Villanova never recovered.

They actually looked like they were trying to flip their “switch” but the lights never came on.  I’ve rarely been angry at an upset like that, but Nova handed Saint Mary’s the game.  The Wildcats’ “tour of disrespect” is over.

Was Villanova overrated?  Nope.  Is Scottie Reynolds a consensus All-American?  Yes.  Does that mean you just jack-around on some #10 seed?  No.

How do you know if a team is going to go the “disrespect route”?  Just look at how Villanova played the Big East Tournament.  They screwed around with Marquette and lost in their first game.  We should have known.

I hope Villanova taught everyone a valuable lesson.  Don’t sit your starters and give other teams the impression you didn’t respect them enough to prepare—it WILL piss your opponent off.

What’s even more hilarious is that Villanova is the original “giant killer”—winning the 1985 NCAA title over a Georgetown team that took them for granted.  You’d think Villanova understood how its own medicine worked.

I guess not.

These Teams Were Just Stupid

Kansas, Pitt and Georgetown were just flat stupid this past weekend.  Georgetown lost to an Ohio team that has been together for a while, but Ohio had no business beating such a strong Hoya squad.

Basically, Georgetown got dumb.  It wasn’t that they disrespected Ohio—they just forgot how to play basketball.  It was really ugly and very hard to watch.

Pitt lost to Xavier because they waited too long to make a push at the end of the game.  Once again—not disrespect—just a lack of smart play-calling at the end of the game.  You just can’t wait when the clock is under 3 minutes and Pitt waited.  Oops!

Kansas lost for two reasons—Ahelegbe and Farokhmanesh.  I heard both Northern Iowa games on the radio and I felt like the only name I heard was Ahelegbe.  That is, until Farokhmanesh drove in the dagger.  They’re Junior and Senior respectively and they know how to play together.

Those two dudes from Northern Iowa made a name for themselves, their school, and their wallets.  You think an NBA team doesn’t want ballers like that?

Kansas gave away their whole season by not playing up to the level of their opponent.  They didn’t know what to do when they were challenged and it cost them.  I hope they learned a valuable lesson—but they were at least respectful of Northern Iowa.

In summation…RIP:  My Bracket.

The Predictions

I know I’m inviting another episode of “Fat Man, Little Boy, and the Triplets”, but I MUST make some picks for these games.  At some point my luck’s going to change, right?

In the Midwest we’ve got Northern Iowa/Michigan State and Tennessee/Ohio St.  Let’s start with the “gangbuster” game:  Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State.

Northern Iowa has Ahelegbe and Farokhmanesh—it took me 3 minutes just to type that—and Michigan State just lost Kalin Lucas.  This couldn’t be a better time for Northern Iowa to advance.

Michigan State lost Kalin Lucas, his 31 minutes/15 points/4 assists/1 steal per game.  Northern Iowas counters with 60 minutes/21 points/4 assists/4 rebounds per game from the Ahelegbe/Farokhmanesh “monster”.

These two teams will go at each other all night, but in the end Ahelegbe will hold the ball for 15 minutes by himself and Farokhmanesh will drive in the dagger once again.  I know it sounds easy, but Ahelegbe + Farokhmanesh = Death for Michigan State.  Or, as the announcers for their 2nd Round game put it, Kansas was “Farokhmaneshed”.

I think Michigan State is about to be Farokhmaneshed too.  Just look at the stats and the experience.

Ohio State and Tennessee will be a tough game, but not as physical as UNI and MSU.  I know that Ohio State has Evan Turner, but Bruce Pearl has a way of winning when he really needs to.

I don’t think it’s the orange suit as much as it’s his demeanor.  Imagine what he tells his players before big games:

“Go out there and put the “hood” on ‘em boys!”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the “hood” reference.  Anyways, Tennessee will play Ohio State tight, but in the end Evan Turner will probably do something impressive and send Ohio State to the Elite 8.

Turner goes for 35 minutes and 20 points a night.  Tennessee’s minutes and points leaders pull 27 minutes and 12 points a night.  They don’t have anyone who can take over the game and stay in.  The Buckeyes have Evan Turner.

I also have to say that after that Ohio State is on their own.  They don’t look as good as the team that lost the title game a few years back, but that’s another round of play.

The Rest Of The Sweet 16

Let’s keep this simple:

Syracuse should DESTROY Butler.  It’s not that I don’t like Butler, but Syracuse is NOT screwing around.  Plus, if we think for one minute that they didn’t learn anything from watching Georgetown and Nova lose then we’re stupid.

I wish I could pick Cornell to beat Kentucky, but Kentucky has FINAL FOUR losing potential—not Sweet 16 losing potential.  I am going to pick Saint Mary’s to beat Baylor.

Why?  Baylor is great, but Saint Mary’s is emboldened.  They beat Villanova.  They can do anything.  Their coach is going to tell them that until the buzzer sounds.

I’m taking Duke over Purdue because Purdue “caught a wild hare” and won a couple games and now their momentum is gone because they have to wait 5 days to play again.  Sorry Boilermaker fans, but you know your time is up, right?

I’m taking Kansas St. over Xavier because Kansas St. is happy.  They are SO happy that Kansas lost that they could—potentially–play on euphoria alone right into the Final Four.  Yes, even past Syracuse.

Then there’s Washington and West Virginia.  West Virginia could have been a #1 seed.  Washington should have lost to Marquette.  West Virginia COULD have gotten Duke’s region.  Washington is living on a prayer.

As much as I would like to say that Washington can go on a tear and beat West Virginia, I can’t.  West Virginia is too tough, too smart, and too well-coached.

3 of West Virginia’s starting-five pull 33 minutes, 15 points and 7 rebounds a game.  Washington’s top-2 come close, but they’re just out-manned.

Remember, Bob Huggins got Cincinnati to a #1 seed like 500 times.  He went to Kansas State and resurrected their program and now he has the 5th best team in America at West Virginia.  The man can coach.

At the end of the day Washington will get outdone by Bob Huggins and West Virginia will move on.

My Final Four

Based on my predictions I think you can easily guess my Final Four.

Kentucky—don’t forget Final Four losing potential.

Also, don’t forget that this a Calipari team.  He doesn’t win titles–he teases them.  John Wall has one eye on the NBA, but just enough of the other eye on the tournament to get into the Final Four.

When you’re watching Calipari’s Wildcats smoke Cornell don’t forget what I said because you’ll be really “high” on the beatdown and lose all reason.

UNI—yes, Northern Iowa.

When they “Farokhmanesh” and “Ahelegbe” the Spartans you’ll understand.  By the way, listen to it on the radio and the impact of those two players will be dizzying.

Saint Mary’s—yes, the Gaels.  They’re emboldened, remember?

Wouldn’t you remind your team over and over that they downed Villanova, that Duke is basically the same team, and that anything is possible?  Hell, I’d have Adidas “Impossible is Nothing” commercials on a loop in their hotel rooms.

By the way, Saint Mary’s starting-five average 30 minutes a night and their leading scorer–Omar Samhan–puts down 21 points and 10 rebounds per game.  He’s got the numbers to be Evan Turner and take over a game.

Kansas State—On euphoria alone–enough said.

My Final Four may be completely wrong, but I have to start somewhere.  It would be easy to pick the higher seeds, but they haven’t exactly panned out this year.  Honestly, I feel safer picking UNI and Saint Mary’s.

The “lesser known” teams are older and have played together longer.  They know each other.  They know how to get it done when it counts–except for Kentucky, because they have to prove my Final Four losing potential theory.

I know it sounds stupid to find comfort in a #9 and #10, but that’s what the tournament’s come to this year.  Enjoy the carnage as we film “Faces of The General’s Bracket’s Death” this Thursday through Sunday.

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