The General’s 2010 NCAA Bracket: Character Edition
Ah, it’s springtime and March Madness is here. I can already hear the buzzer, the shrieking crowd as a big-name goes down—and the sound of some 14 seed setting off an atom bomb on my bracket…
I love to pick my bracket every year, don’t you? Every year I think I’ve totally got it locked down and then it dies a painful death.
Well, I’m a glutton for punishment so here I am again making my bracket public. You can view by clicking right here. Feel free to follow along with me during the tournament. Also, feel free to bust my balls when I start getting stuff horribly wrong.
Since I’ve been doing this for about 25 years I also have some rules I live by:
- A 12 always beats a 5
- A 13 almost always beats a 4
- 8/9 matchups aren’t always as tight as they seem
- Some team that makes a run in their conference tournament always get a seed that’s too high
- NEVER pick that team
Since I’ve linked to my bracket I’m not going to reproduce the whole thing here, but I will make a case for advancing some teams and not others. Of course, this will all change as soon as “Fat Man” or “Little Boy” is detonated over Nagasaki—I mean my bracket.
First Round Shockers
There are a couple games that fall under the rules and will result in “upsets”. I don’t think they’ll be “shocking”—unless I get them wrong.
Maryland will lose to Houston. Why? Maryland shouldn’t be a 4 seed (rules #2, #4 and #5). They couldn’t beat an inconsistent Georgia Tech team in the ACC Tournament. Meanwhile, Houston won their conference WITH consistency.
Cornell will beat Temple (Rules #1, #4 and #5) for the same reasons. They’re consistent and they have dominated the Ivy League. Temple struggled to get through the A-10 tournament and they looked good on paper, but weren’t good to watch.
Missouri will beat Clemson because Clemson basketball will probably never be worthy of a 7 seed. Georgia Tech will beat Oklahoma State in a 2004 Final Four rematch because Georgia Tech, as Pat Forde wrote (I’m paraphrasing):
“The Jackets can’t dribble, they can’t shoot, they can’t pass, they do anything, but they’re unbeatable!” He’s right, they can’t do anything, but they seem to win when it matters.
Siena will beat Purdue(rule #2) because Purdue is a High School team without Hummell, and Utah St. will beat Texas A&M(rule #1)—because I don’t think basketball when I think “12th Man”. Oh, and UTEP will beat Butler (rule #1) because can’t hang in the tournament. Never have.
Minnesota and Florida will win because they’re well-coached. After that, all bets are off, but I really like Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith. Actually, that applies to a lot of these teams.
And while we’re at it—Texas will destroy Wake Forest (rule #3).
Sweet 16 Bound
Siena, Murray State, and Cornell are going to the Sweet 16. Why, you ask? Murray State will get UTEP in the second round. Even if I’m wrong it’ll be Murray State and Butler and Butler’s ride will end there.
Siena gets to open with a High School team—Purdue—and even if I’m wrong they’ll be fresh for A&M OR Utah St. Plus, Siena is a good basketball team and a good basketball school. We SHOULD expect a lot from them.
Cornell is a strong and dominant team. They play consistently and they can beat Wisconsin. Wisconsin made one run deep in the tournament once, and I like Bo Ryan, but I think Cornell has a Sweet 16 run in them—I can’t explain it, but it’s just a feeling.
Elite 8 Almosts
Ohio State has Evan Walker. He’s the National Player of the Year, and that usually means nothing in the tournament. They’ll be stopped by a stout Georgetown team. GT plays REALLY tough and I don’t think Thad Matta’s kids can hang with that.
Michigan State will beat Kansas because Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. Don’t get me wrong, I like Bill Self, but Tom Izzo is a transcendent Basketball coach. Bill Self is just a really good basketball coach.
Other than that there are lots of high seeds going in because the MAJOR talent still resides at the biggest and most prominent schools. You can’t predict a George Mason, but I just don’t see it either.
Final Four Losing Potential
This is a new system I’ve got going on. I may have to apply it to other teams, but this “pseudo stat” started with John Calipari.
When Kentucky was trying to lose the SEC Title to Miss. St. I tweeted:
#Kentucky needs to stop screwing around with Miss. St….or are they showing us their #Calipari Final-4-loss-potential?
#kentucky is about to lose this game…they ARE showing us their #finalfour losing potential #calipari #ncaa #basketball
This IS #final4 losing potential #kentucky #ncaa #basketball
Right after that Kentucky got lucky, went on a run in overtime and won the tournament. However, they exhibited—with great clarity—John Calipari’s “Final Four Losing Potential”. I tweeted as such:
#kentucky is celebrating tying a game they should win like they just won a title…what classless jerks!
What I should have said was, “Kentucky has no character”.
Calipari’s teams—when the game is on the line—when it matters most—when character reigns above talent—cannot get the job done.
Sure, you can argue that Kentucky won the SEC Title. But they were playing MISSISSIPPI STATE! The Bulldogs didn’t even make the tournament field this year. That doesn’t count.
What is Kentucky going to do when they run into an inspired Villanova in the Final Four, or Syracuse in the title game? Wanna guess? “Do ya wanna a shot at the title Hank, do ya!?”
In the “front lawn” fight with Mel Gibson from “Lethal Weapon” they’ll get pounded. They’ll do exactly what Memphis did against Kansas and what UMASS did against Kentucky in 1996. They had the tools and they didn’t have the character.
Everyone craps on John Calipari for recruiting kids who are not, shall we say, the best kids. Now we see why that’s a problem for HIM. His kids don’t have the character to close.
I said a few months back that this John Wall kid at Kentucky couldn’t win a title with one eye on the NBA. I now know that I was exactly right.
In a shocker—to most—Syracuse will claim its second National Championship in 7 years with a 75-68 win over Kentucky in the Title Game.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!