There are only so many games a guy can watch during the college basketball season and that means there are only so many teams I can really get a grasp on heading into the NCAA tournament. Either way, I really felt like I had a good idea of who the teams were that would be successful and those that wouldn’t.
It would appear after the first three days that I was in over my head and now I owe some apologies. First, I need to say “I’m sorry” to the Big Ten and especially Michigan. Secondly, I need to apologize to Gonzaga. I put way too much pressure on them. I was confident this was the year they were going to make that run finally but nope. They became the first number one seed to fall. Third, I owe an apology to Marquette who I had losing to Davidson and quite frankly should have! Lastly, I think I’m second in line behind the selection committee in apologizing to Oregon. We were totally duped into thinking this team was really a 12 seed. They are now in the Sweet 16.
Big Ten/Michigan – I thought the Big Ten was the best overall conference all season but I started to think maybe they weren’t as tough as everyone believed. Indiana looked terrible in losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament and Michigan gave up 60 points in the second half of their loss to the Badgers as well.
I sensed especially with Michigan, that there just wasn’t enough defensive toughness and I could easily see an early exit for the Wolverines. Ya, I was a bit wrong. After a sluggish first half against South Dakota State, Michigan has played as well as anyone in the tournament as they blew out the Jackrabbits and then took VCU to the woodshed early and often to advance to their first Sweet Sixteen since 1994. I really thought the Rams would frustrate the Wolverines into mistakes with their pressure but Trey Burke and company had none of it.
Gonzaga – You led me on Bulldogs… You suckered me in with your talented big men and solid guard play and I was sure this was the year where you at least got to the Great Eight. You’ve scorned me and yes you owe me an apology, but I owe you one as well. I bought in hook, line and sinker. Yet there you were last night getting knocked off once again early in the tournament by a very good Wichita State team.
We should have seen the writing on the wall in the opening round game against 16-seed Southern. It was clear you couldn’t handle the athleticism of the Jaguars but you made enough big shots down the stretch. After last night, I shall never trust you again.
Marquette – I fell in love with Davidson and their 17-game winning streak entering the tournament. I had the Wildcats going to the Sweet 16 in fact but they went brain-dead in the final seconds and gave Marquette a chance to steal a win and they did. The next step for the Golden Eagles was to make it pay off and they did by beating Butler last night. I shouldn’t have doubted you Marquette.
Oregon – I’m sorry Ducks. I shouldn’t have doubted you simply because the selection committee duped us all into believing you were nothing more than a 12-seed. I should have known better and now everyone does as you’ve dispatched 5-seed Oklahoma State and 4-seed St. Louis with relative ease.
The Ducks are now a team that must be taken seriously the rest of the way and with good reason. My advice is to pay no attention to the ’12’ listed next to their name.
Please accept my most humble apologies.