Thursday, March 20, 2014

my 2014 ncaa toonumunt picks

“Let’s all pack up and move this year.
Slip the liars, and disappear.
Leave memories for auctioneers,
And those just standing still.

They’ll miss the taste of wanting you.
Call out your name, like I still do.
But they haven’t said a word that’s true,
And they only hold you down.

And this heartbreak world?
We’ve just imagined.
With tired talk,
And better days.

In this heartbreak world,
Where nothing matters?
Come on, let’s make this dream
That’s barely half awake …

Come true …”


--------------------

Welcome, peoples and peepettes, to the world’s longest NCAA Tournament Prediction Post, Version 2014!!!  Oh, I can see you all just drooling with excitement at the nearly twenty page read this bad boy is gonna be for the second office already!

As always, the few ground rules this post has:

1. Someone will be mocked.  Mercilessly.  (For the first time, this someone is NOT Duke.  Ooh, intrigue right off the bat!)
2. This is how my main bracket in any pool I enter, will look.
3. These picks are provided to you free of charge, as a service to the gambling public.  Because I am the worst prognosticator, to attempt prognostication.

Sadly, there are only three ground rules this year.  I’d like to thank the Missouri Tigers for their epic, epic collapse, to go from a top ten squad, to NIT bound, in barely two months, for costing us a second merciless mocking.  Please, pick up your commemorative “We Passed on Bill Self for Quin Snyder!” t-shirts, and please, don’t let the door hit you in the ass, on your way to the “Not Invited Tournament”.

Ready?

Ready! 

(this day and age voice) So here we go …

Memphis Regional:

The First Four Round:

16 Mount St. Mary’s over 16 Albany.  Yeah, I won’t be tuning in for this.

The Round of Sixty Four:

1. Florida over 16 Mount St. Mary’s.  Every year, one region winds up as Stevo’s Site Numero Dos’ Official Children’s Toy, Thomas the Train, every year, one region winds up as the Thomas the Train Memorial Region.  Namely, like my nephew driving Thomas and Friends off the bridge, off the cliff, off the road, and causing mayhem and destruction, the Thomas the Train Memorial Region sees countless favorite fall by the wayside, and you wind up with a “wait, what the hell?” regional final.  The Memphis Regional?  Is this year’s Thomas the Train Memorial Region … although you won’t realize it, until after the next round.

8 Colorado over 9 Pittsburgh.  If – and certainly, I hope this doesn’t happen – but if Bill Self finally makes the leap to the Association, Tad Boyle’s number had better be first, second, and third, on the list of calls AD Sheahon Zenger will be making, to find Bill’s replacement.

5 VCU over 12 Stephen F. Austin.  I don’t care that whoever the hell Stephen F. Austin is (and I’m guessing they’re from the great Republic of Texas**), they aren’t winning this game.  Or, I should say, my bracket is praying they don’t win this game.

4 UCLA over 13 Tulsa.  Poor Bruins fans.  They’re going to be longing for the salad days of Steve Lavin, by the time the Steve Alford era, reaches its fifth straight year of failing to make the Sweet Sixteen.  At least Lavin was good for an Elite Eight run every couple of years.

11 Dayton over 6 The Ohio State University.  Sorry Cooksey.  Your team is going down!  Plus, Dayton is far better than an 11; that’s an outrageous seed.  (judge judy voice) Outrageous!  Especially with BYU as a ten.  (Although to be fair, BYU was moved up a line, to accommodate the fact they don’t play on Sunday.  They also don’t allow you to drink, or have a night of fun casual sex either.  Let’s just say, BYU was never on my short list of schools, I debated attending (gulp) twenty years ago.

3 Syracuse over 14 Western Michigan.  Normally, this is where someone would note “hey – your two teams are set up to meet in the Sweet Sixteen!  That’s gotta be tough for you!”  And normally this is where I’d reply “it’s happened before; twice in the last fifteen years, and I’ve rooted for KU every time.”  But there’s no need to worry about a KU / ‘Cuse matchup next week Thursday or Friday.  Because it isn’t happening.

7 New Mexico over 10 Stanford.  So allow me to give the committee a bit of creative credit here.  The bracket this year is FULL of potential sweet-ass games after round one.  Florida / UCLA in a rematch of the 2006 Title Game is possible in the Sweet Sixteen.  KU / Syracuse in a rematch of the 2003 Title Game is possible in the Sweet Sixteen.  UCLA / New Mexico (“The Steve Alford Bowl”!) is in play for the Elite Eight.  And that’s just in the Memphis Regional!  Congrats committee.  You get multiple Tommy Points, for your work this year.

2 KU over 15 Eastern Kentucky.  Report: Stevo irrationally hates anything with the word “Kentucky” in it.

(**: there are two states with the Constitutional right to secede, because they were independent nations before attaining statehood.  One of them is Texas, which was a Republic from 1836 to 1845.  And God, if they do it, I am so leaving Barack Obama’s America yesterday to “return home”.  The other?  Hawaii.  Because of COURSE the other state with the ability to give us the potential to get the hell out of this collapsing nation, is Mr. Obama’s birthplace.)

The Round of Thirty Two:

8 Colorado over 1 Florida.  I have no idea why.  There is no sane, rational, justifiable, explainable reason for this pick.  I just think Florida is pathetically overrated due to the crappy conference they play in.  Going 18-0 in the SEC?  Is the equivalent of going 5-13 in the Big XII.  Maybe 6-12, if you could sweep Texas Tech or West Virginia, and good luck winning in Lubbock or Morgantown, to make that happen.

5 VCU over 4 UCLA.  I love me some Shaka Smart.  His name better be no lower than four, on that potential Bill Self replacement list.

3 Syracuse over 11 Dayton.  Yawner.

7 New Mexico over 2 Kansas.  Hang on, let me do this up right.  (paul page voice) WHOA!  BIG CRASH!  (good ol’ jr voice) My God, the carnage!  I don’t like this one damned bit!  Yes, peoples and peepettes, I have KU out on Sunday afternoon.  To a team they already beat by nineteen barely four months ago.  Why?  Because I just don’t see how KU can deal with New Mexico’s front line without Joel Embiid. 

And because, as I noted to “The Voice of Reason” last week, “Andrew Wiggins is reminding me of ‘Melo in 2003 at this point.”  To which Mr. Reason replied “But he doesn’t have McNamara”.  Or Hakim Warrick, I’d add. 

And for anyone who says this upset is impossible?  * Cough Northern Iowa 2010 Cough *.  * Cough Bucknell 2005 Cough *.  (Note: I’m not saying Bradley 2006.  That Bradley team was criminitely underseeded, as proven by their run to the Sweet Sixteen, and giving a loaded Memphis team all it could handle, when it got there.)

The Round of Sixteen:

5 VCU over 8 Colorado.  This could be the sneaky good, nobody sees it coming, funnest game of the tournament.  Or, excuse me.  (hootie johnson voice) toonumunt.

(Note: you're damned right, I picked this clip, because Eldrick had to crown Phil.)

7 New Mexico over 3 Syracuse.  From last unbeaten standing, to finished in the Sweet Sixteen.  Or a typical post 1987 Boeheim-coached season for the Orange.

The Elite Eight:

5 VCU over 7 New Mexico.  This is Shaka Smart’s best team ever.  Given that he’s already taken one to a Final Four in the last four years, that’s saying something.

Memphis Regional Champion: The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams.

New York City Regional:

The First Four Round:

There are no first four games in this regional.

The Round of Sixty Four:

1 Virginia over 16 Coastal Carolina.  Smells like a 90-57 tune-up to open the tourney for the ACC champion, both regular and post season. 

9 George Washington over 8 Memphis.  This might be the best round of sixty four game, when it’s all said and done.  Total coin flip.  Both teams can win this game.  Or either is losing by fifteen plus, forty eight hours later.

12 Harvard over 5 Cincinnati.  For as great as Cincinnati has been the last twenty five years (and most years, they’re a tournament regular, a twenty win regular, and a threat to see the second weekend), the fact that the only team they landed in the Final Four was way back in 1991, is incredible to me.  Between Bob Huggins and Mick Cronin, you’d think at least one other squad, would have managed to do it.

4 Michigan State over 13 Delaware.  How pumped would you be, to be in Spokane, for this beauty of an opener?  Circle me sound asleep and drooling drunk, Bert!

6 North Carolina over 11 Providence.  The fans in San Antonio are going to need someone to poke them with a stick, to stay awake through this half of the regional.

3 Iowa State over 14 NC Central.  Too bad there isn’t a seventeen seed.  Get it?  NC 17?  (Pause).  Hey, wouldn’t that be funny if it was a police line?  (Rimshot!)**

10 St. Joseph’s over 7 UConn.  This is Phil Martelli’s best team in a decade.  That team ten years ago fell by one in the regional final.

2 Villanova over 15 UW-Milwaukee.  What number will ultimately be higher: UW-Milwaukee’s seed (15), or the Milwaukee Bucks win total (currently 13)?  Sadly, that’s a legitimate query.

(**: a few of you will laugh out loud, reading that one liner … you’re welcome.  As always, my life exists to provide others, an avenue of cheap entertainment.)

The Round of Thirty Two:

1 Virginia over 9 George Washington.  Wait, wasn’t G-Dub from Virginia?  Those crazy cats on the NCAA Committee, they never fail to amuse me.

4 Michigan State over 12 Harvard.  Tommy Amaker couldn’t beat Tom Izzo when he coached Michigan.  He ain’t beating them coaching Harvard, either.

3 Iowa State over 6 North Carolina.  OK, I’ll go there, I’ll ask it.  Anyone think we’ll get a Larry Eustachy wearing a ISU sticker shot, during this game, ala Roy Boy in 2008 during the National Title Game?  For the record, my answer is not just “no”, it’s “hell no!”, because we all know Ol’ Lar will be getting his drink on at one of the fine Mexican dining establishments on the Riverwalk, while hitting on some shapely co-ed half his age.  (Pause).  You’re damned right I love Larry Eustachy!  He’s me in five years!  Wait, did I just type that out loud?

10 St. Joseph’s over 2 Villanova.  Either way, the committee did us a positive here.  If it’s UConn / Villanova, we get a classic Big East showdown for free.  If it’s St. Joe’s / Villanova, we get a Philly Five showdown for free.  (And if it’s UW-Milwaukee vs anyone, we get one amazing upset to enjoy, forty eight hours earlier).  Viva la committee!

The Round of Sixteen:

1 Virginia over 4 Michigan State.  The Wayne Allyn Root Memorial “Contrarian” Pick of the bracket.  Every man and his fifth cousin four times removed is picking Sparty to reach Dallas.  I’ll take the ACC champion for the win, Alex.

10 St Joseph’s over 3 Iowa State.  You live by the three, you die by the three.  Iowa State can beat anybody … but if they finally have an off night from behind the line, they’re toast.  Which makes St. Joe’s the butter and strawberry jam.  Mmm, jam.

The Elite Eight:

1 Virginia over 10 St. Joseph’s.  Somewhere, Ralph Sampson is sitting thinking “wait, this Cavs team accomplished what mine never could?”  Sorry Ralph.  They will.

New York City Regional Champion: The University of Virginia Cavaliers.

Anaheim Regional:

The First Four Round:

There are no first four games in this regional.

The Round of Sixty Four:

1 Arizona over 16 Weber State.  True story!  1993 NCAA Tournament, I pick Arizona, the two seed in the West, to win the whole thing.  They actually went on a 25-0 run at one point in their opener against Santa Clara.  And they lost, 64-61.  Which begs two questions: (1) how the hell do you go on a 25-0 run, and lose, and (2) (good ol’ jr voice) My God!  That’s … that guy truly is the world’s worst prognosticator!

9 Oklahoma State over 8 Gonzaga.  I’m far more offended with Gonzaga as an 8, than BYU as a 10.  At least BYU beat a team higher than 10 this year.

5 Oklahoma over 12 North Dakota State.  Congrats to Lon Kruger – fifth team he’s taken to the big dance.  His alma mater (Kansas State), his Final Four berth (Florida), his pure cash grab (Illinois), his career rehabilitation after crapping the bed in the NBA (UNLV), and finally, the end destination job (Oklahoma).  Hoping for good things for that guy.

4 San Diego State over 13 New Mexico State.  You can do worse, than pick a Steve Fisher led team, to win a game or three in this tournament.

11 Nebraska over 6 Baylor.  Everyone loves to point to the trivia fact that Northwestern is the only BCS level school to never reach the NCAA tournament.  And that truly, truly, truly, must be painful for Wildcats fans.  (I root for KU and Syracuse; I wouldn’t know what total failure for a program feels like.)  But my Lord, how much have Nebraska fans gotta be feeling, having made the tournament a few times, and never winning a game?  To finally break through, with Sebree’s team awaiting?  I might have to haul out the old school Lawrence Phillips 1995 Fiesta Bowl jersey for this one.

3 Creighton over 14 Louisiana-Lafayette.  Just for sh*ts and giggles, I think everyone who knows my “good friend” Sebree, should send him fake trade proposals all game long to get Doug McDermott onto their team’s roster.  You know, for old time’s sake, for those “I’ll send you Brodie Croyle for Tom Brady, straight up!  It’s a steal for you!” insulting trade proposals he used to clog our inboxes with. 

7 Oregon over 10 BYU.  And as if UNL / Creighton this weekend wasn’t enticing enough of a potential matchup, we could have Dana Altman against his former employer to open the Sweet Sixteen.  I told you the committee nailed it this year.

2 Wisconsin over 15 American.  In the interest of full disclosure, there is no team in America I hate more, than your Wisconsin Badgers.  They’ve never met a shot clock they can’t bleed 34 seconds off of.  They’ve never met a fast break they couldn’t slow down.  They’ve never run a set play that doesn’t give off visions of Mike Woodson’s “clogged toilet” offense in New York.  I hate watching Wisconsin play.  I hate it.  But there’s no way they’re losing to whatever the hell American University is.  Is this that National American University thingy you see ads for all day long?  Is this Native American University?  No, wait, that’s Haskell.  American University.  It sounds like a seedy operation.  Really seedy.  (Pause).  You’re damned right I’ll be their biggest fan come whenever their game tips off.

The Round of Thirty Two:

1 Arizona over 9 Oklahoma State.  If I had to rank the one seeds, in likely order to lose in the round of 32, I’d rank them Arizona, Florida, Wichita State, and Virginia.  If I had to put odds on them losing, I’d say Arizona 50% (if facing OSU) / 10% (if facing Gonzaga), Florida 40% (if facing Colorado) / 5% (if facing Pitt), Wichita State 35% (against either KSU or Kentucky), and Virginia 0% (against either Memphis or G Dub).  Let’s just say, in the words of the great Mr. Hugh M. Hefner, “this one could be something … REALLY special!”

5 Oklahoma over 4 San Diego State.  Contrarian pick.

3 Creighton over 11 Nebraska.  What will be whiter – Sebree’s knuckles, or the towel he keeps nutting on after every McDermott bucket?  For the record, I vote knuckles; I don’t think he can squirt enough, to turn the towel white (rimshot!)  (Pause).  Oh come on!  The one drawback – the only drawback – to winning my fantasy football league this year, is that I didn’t get to taunt Sebree every step of the way!  You’re damned right he’s replaced Duke as the token punching bag in this year’s column!**

7 Oregon over 2 Wisconsin.  Give me a team that can score 80 over a team whose ceiling is 43, any day of the week.  I hate all this “Big Ten is the best conference” crap.  (chad ochocinco voice) Child, please.  Texas Tech could beat Michigan on a neutral floor.  Why?  Because they actually can score.  Sorry, but when Illinois and Nebraska – not exactly two powerhouses of the sport – destroy your league champ, in Sparty’s building?  You’re not the best conference.  Not even close.

(**: it is a friendly rivalry.  I’d have a beer with that guy any day … except he’d opt for a cosmopolitan or a white Russian.  Which to be fair, I wouldn’t opt for a beer either – I’d take a SoCo with lime, on the rocks.  Mmm, SoCo with lime.  I think I know what my drink of choice for today is!)

The Round of Sixteen:

1 Arizona over 5 Oklahoma.  Smells like one of those “you talk yourself into a potential upset, then the lower seed sh*ts his pants and loses by 30” games I hate.

3 Creighton over 7 Oregon.  Hang on, we have to do this truly old school.  And I apologize in advance for one of the two “voices” about to appear, because I DESPISE Billy “Fudge” Packer with a passion only equaled by my despise of everything denver broncos.

And … action!

(jim nantz) What a matchup we have here, Billy.

(billy “fudge” packer) Jim, what a tough decision this Sebree guy has to make.  On the one hand, its his alma mater, its every white guy’s greatest dream team since the Hickory Huskers of 1954, or Adolph Rupp’s Racists of 1966.  On the other hand, it’s his homo-erotic stalking sensation’s alma mater, and his cruise ship buddy’s school.

(jim nantz) A matchup this special, you almost expect to see Fred Phelps protesting outside the arena.

(billy “fudge” packer) Jim, in the end, you have to go with the pull of the heart, over the tear of your vaginal area.  He has to cheer for Creighton.  Has to.

(jim nantz) Either way Billy, it’s called pressure!  (cue cheezy grin).

And … scene!

Just think folks, we’re only three weeks – only three short weeks away, from today, before “a tradition unlike any other” returns to our lives.  The Masters.  Only … CBS.

(Also, congrats to Mr. Nantz on the arrival of his daughter last week.  Mr. Nantz is 54, and was Fred Couples roommate at the University of Houston back in the day.  Mrs. Nantz is 33.  Someone let Jimmy know that another Jim, in this case, Boeheim, is on line five to offer his congratulations …)

The Elite Eight:

3 Creighton over 1 Arizona.  Maybe CBS can get Joey Harrington to play the piano, as the closing credits for this regional roll.  Because somehow, I envision this scene occurring, with Sebree and his Cayman Buddy.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Damned right, to the exact song from this classic clip!

Anaheim Regional Champion: The University of Creighton Bulldogs.

Indianapolis Regional:

The First Four Round:

16 Texas Southern over 16 Cal-Poly.  Whoops.

12 NC State over 12 Xavier.  Bango!

11 Tennessee over 11 Iowa.  Bango! 

The Round of Sixty Four:

1 Wichita State over 16 Texas Southern.  Report: Stevo refuses to pick directional state schools, to win in the NCAA tournament.

9 Kansas State over 8 Kentucky.  I ask this question with all due respect, seriousness, and credibility: which school’s fans moonshine smuggled into this contest, will make you vomit first?  True story time – again!  Wow, two in one post!  2002 NCAA Second Round, at the Dome in St. Louis.  Me and “The Voice of Reason” make the trek, and this is actually my favorite KU game I’ve ever attended.  I arrived convinced Stanford would beat us.  KU was up 15-0 two minutes in, and (florida georgia line voice) cruised!  That was memorable.

More memorable?  The tickets we had, landed us squarely in the heart of the Kentucky fans section, for the prior game (Tulsa v Kentucky).  Their fans are passing around a few flasks, and ask us if we want any.  Being grizzled veterans of the drinking process, absolutely we’ll try some!  I go first, and I nearly puke on the spot.  The booze reeks like a bathtub, it’s some kind of gin-like product, and it is horrific.  I guarantee you, I took six functional months of my liver’s already threatened existence, with that one swig.  Gregg?  Like a pro, takes the swig, wipes his mouth, and simply says “yup, it’s shine”.  The lesson?  I don’t think there is one, other than I’m not the only person who’ll try anything once, if it says “alcohol” on it.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Good point – I’ll try it once, provided the word “rubbing” doesn’t appear in front of “alcohol”.  My God, do I look like the Democrat nominee for President’s wife?

12 NC State over 5 Saint Louis.  I really miss Rick Majerus.

4 Louisville over 13 Manhattan.  OK, this game is being played in Orlando … and that city’s most famous – or at least arguably, most famous – resident pulled out of the Arnold Palmer tournament this weekend … so I gotta ask: you think Rick Pitino seeks out Eldrick T. Woods, for advise on fat, ugly waitresses to nail on top of the dining room table at various Orlando area dining establishments?  Is this the real reason Eldrick T. pulled out (hee hee, he said “pulled out”) of the tournament, was to help his ol’ pal Ol’ Rick score some repulsive tail?  Look out, Orlando area Perkins and Bob Evans – Rick Pitino is gunning for you!

6 UMass over 11 Tennessee.  Has UMass made a tournament since John Calipari and Marcus Camby went bye-bye back in 1996?  I ask in all seriousness.  I truly have no idea.

3 Duke over 14 Mercer.  At least it’s not Lehigh.

10 Arizona State over 7 Texas.  Hey, it’s Underachieving Coaches Bowl 2014!  Barnes!  Sendek!  Only on … whatever network this is airing on!

2 Michigan over 15 Wofford.  It’s been nearly a full calendar year, and I still have nightmares of Trey Burke’s miraculous forty foot three pointer to force overtime last year against KU.  Of course, it’s been seventeen calendar years, and I still wake up screaming in utter horror at least four times a year, reliving 4th and 6 against denver in the 1997 Divisional Round.  The lesson?  Damned if I know.

The Round of Thirty Two:

1 Wichita State over 9 Kansas State.  Yo, Bill Self – dare to play BOTH of these teams, going forward.  You don’t “lose” anything, by playing a top flight team, or a rival.  Everyone GAINS.  Seriously folks, it is indefensible that KU and MU don’t play at Arrowhead every September, don’t play at Sprint Centre every New Year’s Day, and KU and Wichita don’t play on campus every November.  Seriously folks, it is indefensible … (pause) … my God, this IS indefensible.  Hang on.

On behalf of Stevo’s Site Numero Dos, and its (likely) intoxicated lead writer, I apologize to you that we’re almost eight pages into this post, and the Vice President of the United States, has yet to check in.  THAT?  Is indefensible.  Mr. Biden, if you will please.


Thank you sir.  Let’s just hope Chuck Graham, state senator from the great state of Missouri, is in the house, to watch this game play out.

4 Louisville over 12 NC State.  The gutless chicken sh*t cowards pick, of this bracket.  NC State can win this game, and I actually think they will.  I just don’t have the balls, to predict it.

3 Duke over 6 UMass.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

2 Michigan over 10 Arizona State.  Has it really been twenty six years, since Ol’ Bo Schembeckler fired Bill Frieder for taking the ASU job, because “Michigan will be coached by a Michigan man” in the tournament?  Holy crap, I am old.

The Round of Sixteen:

1 Wichita State over 4 Louisville.  Or NC State.  Either way, the Shockers roll on.

3 Duke over 2 Michigan.  Has it really been twenty three years, since the Fab Five got rolled by Duke in the national title game?  Twenty three years since Duke / Kentucky, the greatest collegiate game ever played?  Twenty four years since Duke stunned the world, and beat UNLV, unbeaten, untied, 34-0 and unstoppable UNLV, in arguably the biggest upset in tournament history?  Has it really been twenty four years since Thomas Hill damned near decapitated the KU defender on a tomahawk alley-oop dunk?  Good God, there are people old enough to drink, who weren’t alive for any of those classic early 1990s moments! 

The Elite Eight:

3 Duke over 1 Wichita State.  Just like the last unbeaten team to enter the tourney lost to Duke, so will this one.

Indianapolis Regional Champions: The University of Duke Blue Devils.

The Final Four:

Memphis Champion VCU over New York City Champion Virginia.  How great is this undercard going to be?  (The answer: pretty damned great).

Indianapolis Champion Duke over Anaheim Champion Creighton.  And how great is this main event going to be?  The whitest university in America, against the best white guy to play ball since Jeff Boschee!  (I kid, I kid – Doug McDermott is the best since Chris Mullen.  And God, that was twenty nine years ago, when the Big East had not one, not two, but three, of the Final Four berths.)

The National Championship Game:

Duke over VCU.  I picked Duke to win it all in 2010, because I just became irrationally infatuated with Jon Scheyer.  It worked.  I pick Duke to win it all in 2014, because watching Jabari Parker play, I feel that irrational infatuation all over again.  (dick vitale voice) This kid is special!  And I mean special!


NCAA National Champions: The University of Duke Blue Devils.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's why you're the best..

NCAA National Champions: The University of Duke Blue Devils.