Nick and I are back, no worse for the wear. We break down each of the Final Four teams. In bullets:
• Why do we, and by we I mean I, hate Duke so much? There’s more in there than just them being white guys. Not much more, but more.
• We talk about why nobody picked Michigan State to go to the Final Four, yet everyone is talking about Izzo’s 6 of the last 12 Final Fours. Why didn’t we think of that three weeks ago? Someone, I think Whitlock, said that Izzo is the best basketball coach in the country at any level. Is that fair? Is it true? Or is he a great TOURNAMENT coach?
• We talk about Tennessee shooting too soon on their last possession in that game, and as Chris Littmann tweeted today, we disagree on the idea of ever shooting too soon when your team is losing. He thinks you take the lead as quickly as you can. I think, with a team like MSU doing the same thing to Maryland last week, you milk the clock and either win or lose with the ball in your hands. I would have called timeout and ran the play to leave less time on the clock.
• I’m rooting for West Virginia. The team, not the state. I mean no ill will to those who live there. I bet I like a bunch of people from there. But let’s not turn a bunch of NYC area kids winning a few games into some grand statement about the people from that state. I’m looking at you, Dan Wetzel’s Yahoo column.
• Butler is a great story, but will there be THAT MUCH of a home-court advantage for them? Sure it’s at home, but don’t people root for the underdog everywhere? Will there be that many more fans rooting for them in the stands in Indy as there would be in New Orleans? Will Hoosier fans be so quick to jump on the Butler Bandwagon when their team is in shambles?
Inside the Press Box:
We discuss two notes from Press Coverage this week. The story on Mike Penner in the LA Times, and the PFT story about Tim Tebow’s autograph session and the role the Palm Beach Post played in sponsoring and covering it.
Brackets Brackets Brackets. It’s like Christmas day for everyone who sits at a desk all week. Nick and I peruse the bracket to talk about some of the top storylines, and Nick gives the ridiculous impression that he won’t be filling out a bracket this year.
Ridiculous. He should join our BRACKET CHALLENGE, which you can also join by clicking here. Lots of other blogs involved. Get in now before it fills up.
I then have the opportunity to talk with Kyle Whelliston of MidMajority.com to get some insight into the mid-majors who are dancing this year. Not only do we talk about the Butlers and the Woffords of the world, but we get into some of the theory about what makes a team a mid-major. The Mountain West is no longer a mid-major, but is the A-10? Is C-USA? Heck, with barely two teams in, is the Pac-10? We kid, about the last one, obviously, but there is a huge gray area surrounding The Mid Majority’s “red line” of demarcation for mid-major status.
We also discuss some of the teams you may not know much about in the bracket, and who has a real chance to do some damage in the tournament. Is anything really a true upset when it’s commonplace to have major conference teams like Washington and Florida as double-digit seeds and top five and six seeds going to traditional mid-majors?
Did someone on CBS — I want to give “credit” to Greg Anthony — really call New Mexico a sleeper in the East? They are a THREE SEED. But who are some sleepers? And is it fair to call a major conference team in the double-digits a sleeper, or just an underachiever? Are there any true sleepers out there?
Kyle also implores fans to follow the mid-majors all year, not just when it’s trendy to pick them in your bracket. He uses the analogy that they are cute puppies you can love forever, not goldfish you flush after a few weeks. This actually happens, and is so perfect an analogy it needs to be on a t-shirt.
Nick and I discuss the CBS schedule for the games. The 5:00 p.m. game is the lost timeslot. And why are there so many teams playing at the same time as others in their conference. More on this at TSB.
We try to do today’s show in five minutes bites. Or, I suppose, bytes. It obviously doesn’t work.
Today, we discuss:
• Tiger’s return and the theory that CBS put the kiabosh on Bay Hill because it would coincide with the NCAA Regionals (and be on NBC) as opposed to his enormous, and protected, return on CBS for the Masters.
• The crazy up and down world of the BIG EAST, including the chance that West Virginia could be a #1 seed. Plus, some Big 12 talk as well! See, we aren’t totally east coast biased.
• A complete and utter dismantling of the ridiculous Floating Realignment idea in MLB. More on that at TSB if you want to read my thoughts and see my plan for realignment. Oh, an a bit of advice for the teams who think they can’t compete for their division crowns because other teams are better: get better. If you can’t beat the Yankees and Red Sox, tough darts. Get better. Sure those two teams habitually make the playoffs, but the Red Sox have only been in two World Series since 1986. The Rays have been in one more recently. I’m not saying things shouldn’t change, but let’s back off the radical ideas because of the “success” of two teams.
• MLS labor talks may lead to a strike. So far, both sides have been doing things right.
• RIP Merlin Olsen. Nick puts out the question, for you, of which current athletes (or recently retired) will we think of more as actors/pitchmen/analysts and less for what they did on the field?