Now for Something Entirely Different

March Madness

The seeding at the Big Dance is usually pretty accurate. In the last ten years, 34 of 40 teams in the Final Four have been one through four seeds. Seventeen have been number one seeds. Lowest seed to make it that far was George Mason, a number 11 seed, who got in last year. Lowest seed to win the national championship in recent history was Arizona, a number four seed, who won in ’97. Since then, every national champion has been a one, two, or three seed.

The NCAA went to a 64-team field in 1985. In the 22 years since then only 17 teams out of a total of 88 that made it to The Final Four during that period have been seeded fourth or lower. One of them, Villanova, an eight seed, won it in 1985.

But the Big Dance is about dreams. A number 16 seed has never beaten a number one seed in the first round so it’s fun to watch, to see how close they can come. This year’s one/sixteen matches are Florida/Jackson State; Kansas/ the winner of Florida A&M/Niagra; Ohio State/Central Connecticut State; and North Carolina/ Eastern Kentucky. Any chance for an upset there? Naaah. Dream on, if only for one game, and enjoy the road trip.

Four in the Big 12 and one in Nuevo Mejico. Texas meets New Mexico State, Los Aggies of Las Cruces, in a first round match at Spokane, Washington. Aye Chichuahua.. Spokane? Los Ags, coached by the glass-eyed and sartorially correct Reggie Theus (heretofore employed by the NBA) are respectable but won’t match up.

Your winner will be wearing burnt orange. UT, having lost their last two, both by close margins, and both to Kansas, will be ready. They’re the team nobody wants to play right now, especially KU. Will be interesting to watch Kevin Durant’s final march to the NBA, even though he’s just a fish. He’ll be making enough money in the pros to burn a wet elephant by this time next year.

As will Greg Oden (Ohio State), another highly prized mackerel who will be on the moneyed hardwood of some pro whorehouse, forthwith. We wonder why these guys bother with college, or the colleges with them, for only one year?

‘Horns get the winner of Arkansas/USC in the next round, North Carolina after that. Would be good to see Texas and Arkansas play, renew the old rivalry, the one that brought Abe Lemons and Eddie Sutton into close orbit for a few years. A close and snarling orbit.

If at first football doesn’t succeed, try hoops.

The Hooterville on the Brazos Cadets get Penn, an Ivy League team, in the first round in a game to be played at Lexington, Kentucky. You remember the Ivy League – Princeton, Yale, Penn, Harvard those guys – them’s the ones makes their students go to class, make passing grades, stuff like that. And they play basketball pretty well to boot.

The Cadets get Louisville in the next round, or maybe Memphis after that if they get that fur. But they’re the best team on the Brazos since the Good Doctor Shelby Metcalf was there.

Fun times in the old Southwest Conference, those. Abe at Texas, Shelby at A&M, Eddie at Arkansas, Guy Lewis at UH, Jim Killingsworth at TCU: Some characters. And some character. Them was the good old days.

Rhett’s Raiders as Cinderella.

Bobby “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” Knight leads Texas Tech to Winston-Salem in the Carolinas to meet Boston College. Raiders get Georgetown if they beat BC. I predicts Tech gets by Boston College but will fall to GT. The General is always good for at least one surprise come dance time but his team is a little too short-handed to go far at this year’s Big Baile. One can’t live by Jarius Jackson alone.

Jayhawks jaywalk on the west coast.

Kansas, is seeded number one in the west, and shouldn’t have a problem until they get to the finals of their region where they’ll meet UCLA. The stars pick UCLA to emerge. They made it to the final game last year, losing to Florida. The Bruins want it all this time and have the guns to get ‘er done.

The Picks

Last year I picked our “Madness by the Fours,” with all our picks having to be a four seed or below. Our four were Illinois, Indiana, Boston College, and George Washington.

Not one made it. Only one, BC, even made the Sweet 16.

This year, we’re following the money. The envelope, please. Your Final Four in 2007 will be: from the San Jose regional, UCLA; from the St. Louis regional, Wisconsin; from the San Antone regional, Ohio State; and from the East Rutherford regional … dig it, Texas!

And your national champion: UCLA.

You heard it here first!

Aloha
Charlie Loving

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