My gut feeling is that the Huskies will — yes, will — be going to the Big Dance. They’ll make it and it will totally be undeserved. I liken the Dawgs making the NCAA Tournament to a reckless teenager being bequeathed a brand new BMW by his wealthy, oblivious parents…right after he totaled the last BMW they previously gave to him.
This version of the Huskies has been given chance after chance after chance. Amazingly, they’ve continued to blow those chances, one after the other, only to later pay witness to good fortune falling squarely in their lap.
Take, for instance, the Pac-12 regular season championship. Heading into the final days of conference play, Washington had a golden opportunity to win the league title outright by knocking off an embattled UCLA team. They squandered that opportunity, thus putting their fate in the hands of the California Golden Bears. A Cal victory over Stanford meant Washington would share the title with the Bears; a Cal loss meant the Huskies would be blessed with the crown. As we all know now, California lost and Washington signed for a shiny package delivered at their doorstep. They won the Pac-12 title, but did they really earn it? I guess that depends on one’s perspective.
“They’ve got the rings…they’ve said their vows…it comes down to this…annnnd…I do! I do! HOLY MATRIMONY!!!!”
10. That time you ate the best sandwich ever.
“It’s got pickles, onions, lettuce, mustard, mayo, six different kinds of meat, there might even be an endangered species in there! He’s got the bread between his fingertips, he’s leaning in for the bite…TASTE EXPLOSION!!!!”
9. The last day of school.
“Time is running down…just a few seconds left on the clock now and this teacher is gonna need a miracle. She’s up there at the white board controlling the tempo, but I’m starting to hear a few zippers now, some murmurs in the crowd…and THE BELL HAS RUNG! GAME OVER!!!!”
We’ll be keeping up with the Tournament all day long right here. Feel free to join in the conversation.
-Bracket troubles? Memphis up three, 34-31 over 15-seed Cal-State Northridge at the half; A&M up 12, 42-30 over BYU at the half; LSU up four, 35-31, over Butler early in the second half.
-Interesting note about the Memphis game: ex-UW commit Roburt Sallie has half of the Tigers’ points. Sallie has knocked down five three-pointers and has tallied 17 total points thus far. Sallie was originally a member of the ’04 recruiting class (along with the likes of Joel Smith), then went to prep school and was slated to appear on Montlake with the ’05 class (along with Jon Brockman, et al), then completely failed to meet academic expectations and began a journey around the nation. He later committed to Nebraska, but failed to meet academic standards there and was banned for life from the Big 12 Conference based on a technicality. Then he headed off to the City College of San Francisco, where he played until this past year. Now he’s a Memphis Tiger and single-handedly keeping them in their game with CS Northridge.
If you’re a sports fan, it’s Christmas in March. Our favorite time of year is finally here, March Madness and the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. From sunup to sundown this weekend, we’ll be living and breathing college basketball. Mixed in with a little work here and there, and the occasional adult beverage now and then. It’s a great time to enjoy life, and we’re counting down the Top 11 reasons we love March Madness. On to the list.
11. It’s an excuse to slack off. Unless you work under a complete slavedriver, even your boss is into the Tourney. That means, while you have to at least feign concern for your job, you don’t really have to be all that engaged in the business of the office for at least a few hours on the next three Thursdays and Fridays. For most of us, it’s like a five-day weekend. Which is why March Madness leads to a ridiculous drop in corporate production on an annual basis.
10. The announcing. For those of us treated to the bungling missteps of regional television broadcasters (FSN) most of the year, the voices of the big-time national announcers are the absolute icing on our cake during March. No, you might not like all of CBS’s game-callers, but you have to admit they do a much better job than the folks you’re used to hearing. And who can resist a Bill Raftery “Send it in, big fella!” now and again?
Last year, I picked Davidson all the way until their loss in the Elite Eight. I won $5 from a coworker who couldn’t fathom the mighty Hoyas of Georgetown falling at the hands of Stephen Curry’s Wildcats. The rest of my bracket was nothing special, but I found the big upset and rode it deep into the tourney, which is more than a lot of people can say. That’s why I’m here to reveal this year’s big upset, a couple smaller upsets, and some upsets you need to resist picking.
Advantage higher seed
#8 Ohio State vs. #9 Siena, Midwest Region. A lot of pseudo-experts are picking Siena in this matchup of middle seeds. They’re the smaller school that has Cinderella potential, especially against a so-so Buckeyes squad. But while Ohio State is no threat to go deep into the tournament this year, they should be able to stop the Saints, who have zero wins over Top 25 opponents this season (they’ve lost to all the big-name teams they’ve played, unless you count Northern Iowa as a big-name team). Plus, they’ll have the home crowd to help them out. This game is being played in Dayton, Ohio, so expect a large, loud contingent of Buckeye fans to be in attendance. It’s no contest, Ohio State pulls this one out.
Not that Mississippi State is incredible or anything, but they’re hot right now and everyone needs a big upset in their bracket. Sure, they wouldn’t have made it into the tourney as an at-large bid, but they won the SEC Tournament by rattling off four straight victories, upsetting LSU and Tennessee in the process. Those SEC Tourney wins came on the heels of back-to-back W’s to end the regular season, against Ole Miss and Florida; that’s six straight victories, in case you’re keeping score at home. What does that mean? It means that people are going to be picking MSU to beat Washington in the first round, and their reasoning is justifiable.
Of course, you can’t overlook the fact that MSU will be traveling over 2000 miles away from home to play the Dawgs, or that the matchup in Portland will essentially be a UW home game, but how often does that stop anyone? Mississippi State will benefit from the “what have you done for me lately” mentality and garner a ton of attention over the next week. They may not have started the year off well, but they’re a streaky team and are currently on a hot streak (of their 23 total wins, 16 have come during three separate streaks of 5, 5, and 6 wins). Let the debate begin.
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