Bracket Busters and Odds and Ends Trash Talk

Fairly slow day yesterday on news and events, but the NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing. There are the usual 12-5 upsets that have become tradition, like Oregon over Oklahoma State (not much of an upset if you saw the Ducks play in the Pac-12 tournament), ‘Ole Miss over Wisconsin (now that was an upset) and Cal over UNLV. Three out of four 12-5 games were “upsets. This happens so frequently every year that it is now the expected.

But there have been two more results that were actually shockers. First, on Thursday, Harvard took out Steve Alford’s highly regarded New Mexico Lobos in the 14-3 game in the West regional. First tournament win ever for Harvard. The glory may be short lived however, as the Crimson runs into a much more athletic University of Arizona Wildcat team in the Round of 32. Of course right about the time that was happening, Harvard was showing its real Goldman Sachs like colors by having four years of National Academic Quiz Tournament Championships stripped for cheating.

The even better upset story happened Friday night when little known Florida Gulf Coast University, a 15 seed, demolished the 2nd seeded Georgetown Hoyas. FGCU didn’t even really exist until the mid 90s and is in only its second year of eligibility for the tournament. Wow. And the Eagles have a real shot against their next opponent, San Diego State. The Eagles have real leaders in their guards, Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson. Hot guard play in the tournament will take you a long way, and if last night is any indication, FGCU may have it.

The F1 circus is in Malaysia this week. If there is one thing you expect in Malaysia, it is the wet; and that is exactly what arrived during qualifying at the Sepang Circuit. Sebastian Vettel took pole, with Felipe Massa in P2. Alonso was in P3 and Hamilton beside him in row 2. Kimi Raikkonen qualified back in P7, but came from similarly back on the grid last week in Australia. Button will be beside the finn in P8 and teammate Sergio Perez in P10. Massa has historically been very good at Sepang, can he beat out Vettel and his teammate for the first win of his comeback? Will there be more wet for the race? Coverage starts on NBCSports channel at 4:00 am EST and 1:00 am PST.

In the other set of exciting brackets, our very own @Emptywheel has won her first round in Twitter Fight Club. The second round will be more challenging however, with a formidable opponent in Michael Cohen, aka @Speechboy71.Actual voting does not start until Monday morning, March 25. However, if you are on Twitter, you can help the cause by issuing strong (but good natured) battle tweets in favor of @Emptywheel and against the dreaded opponent @Speechboy71. Say something pithy and substantive. Get in the fight, and don’t forget to vote Monday!

This week’s music is Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress by the Hollies. Great song and nice video. The bonus track is a video by yours truly taken Thursday night on Art Walk in Old Town Scottsdale. The guy pictured was set up in the plaza next to the restaurant where we were eating on the patio, the Barrio Queen. Dude was an amazing showman. He painted the Hendrix canvas to All Along the Watchtower prior to the Stones one in the video.

26 replies
  1. dakine01 says:

    They played Kansas tough but unfortunately, my Hilltoppers of WKU were not able to make history last night

    It does get a little tiresome though to always hear the sports pundits express a level of surprise that the ‘Toppers have so many tournament appearances and are in the top 20 or so of all time victories

  2. What Constitution? says:

    Ah, Hahvahd. I don’t know where I saw the pic this week, but it had the caption of the year on it — a bleacher shot of what was described as “the spectacularly dorky Harvard Band” celebrating their first round win…. Just plain said it all. Life is just so unfair.

  3. P J Evans says:

    I’m following the ‘March to Madness’ tournament at the Great Orange Satan. Divisions for Teabaggers, Theocons, and so on.

  4. What Constitution? says:

    @JohnT: Is this why the head of the NRA believes we all need large capacity clips for our automatic weapons? I mean, if you’re going to be afraid of something, this could be it.

  5. Peterr says:

    According to ESPN, I’m in the top 15% of brackets after Michigan’s win today.

    On the plus side, I correctly picked upsets (as seeded) by Oregon, Wichita State, and Minnesota. On the down side, I had K State going to the Elite 8 and Georgetown in the Final Four.

    Here in KC, the Hilltoppers really had the locals worried a lot, especially after Mizzou and K State both went down. Even though I picked KU, I would have loved to have seen them lose last night.

    Marcy’s got to be happy about Michigan.

  6. Peterr says:


    “. . . got ticketed . . .”? Uh, bmaz, did you read the story at your link? Here’s the headline:

    Police: No ticket for Jets coach Rex Ryan in Bethlehem crash

    A couple of thoughts . . .

    (1) Must be nice to be able to walk away with only a warning after admitting to police that you caused a three vehicle accident while running a red light.

    (2) How many vehicles have to be involved before you get an actual ticket in Bethlehem?

    (3) Can you get a warning for running a red light instead of a ticket even if you don’t hit anyone else?

  7. P J Evans says:

    It must be nice to run a red light and live through it.
    (Driver ed at work a couple of years ago had traffic camera video of people running red lights. Some of them made it. I’m still getting flashbacks on the car that went under the semi and got dragged.)

  8. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Um, no, didn’t really read the article. Started to and then started getting a strong mental image of Rex not paying attention while driving because his wife had his pant legs rolled up and sucking on his toes. Had to quit at that point….

  9. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Nope, did not buy one. I might would if I had a place to put one, but they are pretty big. Very cool though in person, not sure the iPhone video really showed it as good as it really was.

    Got to say though, pretty awesome video for a phone being hand held by a dude with a few margaritas in him. Not to shabby at all.

  10. Quebecois says:

    Vettel trying to look contrite after ignoring team orders was a perfect ending to a nice GP. Webber had an exceptional drive. Hamilton looked quite contrite when he said that Rosberg should have finished third. A shame that Alonso was too eager and determined his own exit, the race would have been quite different if he had been there. Massa made an exceptional outside pass close to the end, a thing of beauty. Overall, a good time was had, it’s going to be a tight season…

  11. bmaz says:

    @Quebecois: Agree completely with whole comment. What the heck were Ferrari and Alonso thinking?

    Have not seen our new friend Nigel, from last weekend, here this weekend, but it seems he was right about McLaren. I still hope they will sort things out in the break before Europe, but pretty ugly so far.

  12. Quebecois says:

    Went to read last week’s trash, Nigel has some very valid points. To add to my reactions, button reminds me of Prost, so very smooth, easy on the tires, lovely driver and driving.

  13. bmaz says:

    @Quebecois: Right. Especially in the wet he can make up for a lot; I think he could have gotten a reasonable result in Malaysia. But today was a disaster. They may have fallen back further equipment wise than I thought – as Nigel tried to explain to me.

  14. Nigel says:

    @bmaz: Actually, I don’t think McLaren looked quite that bad (apart from messing up Button’s pitstop). They’ve certainly found a decent amount more speed since last weekend. Like Martin Whitmarsh, I expect them to win a couple of races later on in the season.

    Not impressed by Vettel mugging his teammate after they were both told to turn down their engine settings – and then doing his best not to own up to it after the race. The post race interviews were pretty entertaining if you like watching celebrities expressing extreme discomfort (OK, I’ll cop to that).
    Aside from the skulduggery, the side by side racing was pretty impressive.
    Not good for the team though – “Red Bull leaves a bad taste in your mouth” is hardly a slogan that works for a soft drinks company.

    In contrast, the Mercedes drivers seemed pretty relaxed about their own mini drama – possibly because they were pleasantly surprised to be so near the front. Europe in three weeks’ time will be very interesting – we’ll start to see which of the top teams are genuine contenders.

  15. bmaz says:

    Nigel!! Agree with all that. It was a great race in most all respects anyway, but man it would have been fascinating with both Alonso and Button alive and well at the end. Well, such is racing.

    I too am really excited to get into the Europe portion of the schedule.

  16. Jim White says:

    Dayum, that was a cold and wet weekend in nowhere South Carolina for a horse show.

    Gators did okay in their first two tourney games. Their game Friday night against FGCU should be very interesting.

    My bracket is decidedly so-so. Only got 11 of the Sweet 16. Two of my Elite Eight and one Final Four (damn you, Zags!) are out, so I can’t get a whole lot better.

    Gator baseball almost did the impossible. They went into #2 Vandy and took game one on Friday, 7-1. After falling 6-1 on Saturday, they had a 4-1 lead on Sunday before weather (especially a crappy synthetic field that played hell on our shortstop when it was wet) and a travel deadline messed with their heads and they fell 5-4 in only seven innings. At least they finally seem to be playing better. They are at an impossible part of the schedule though, with another mid-week FSU game and then highly ranked Ole Miss comes into town for the weekend.

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