Matt (4:50 p.m.): So close Southern...a couple of things jumped out:
1) Gonzaga and Marquette both made huge shots down the stretch to avoid monumental upsets. That's the difference between the higher and lower seeds. The higher seeds know they can make those plays. Lower seeds? Uncharted territory. It can happen. That's why it's called March Madness. But when it's close, you can almost always expect the higher-seeded team to know how to pull it out.
2) Olynyk will absolutely be a dude opposing fans hate in the NBA. He's got the who-me look and hand gestures down pat. His hair makes it look like he's flopping every time he gets touched. And he looks like Luis Scola's brother. It's a no-win for him, popularity-wise.
3) Pangos just leapfrogged up the national awareness list. His crunchtime jumpers carried way more swagger than a sophomore should be able to have. No hesitation, no doubt.
4) Anyone who picked Gonzaga deeper than the Sweet 16 has to be sweating bullets right now. Olynyk's cute rolls to the rim are slower than molassus, and sooner than later the Bulldogs are going to run into a frontcourt that knows how to rotate and A) draw the charge or B) block his under-the-rim attempts.
Matt (4:21 p.m.): Kudos to Marquette for the pair of contested 3-pointers. Defense was all over them and it didn't matter.
On the flip-side, shame on Davidson for allowing the game-winning layup. Let me repeat that: GAME-WINNING LAYUP.
Pure fans are surely disappointed, just as bracket-fillers are thrilled over that outcome.
Meanwhile Olynyk is just destroying Southern right now. It's concerning, however, that the Bulldogs needed this kind of performance just to pull away from a 16-seed. I doubt anyone had the guts to pick Southern, but if you had to pick the weakest No. 1 seed of the past five years, wouldn't it be Gonzaga?
Also: let's not ignore that other than Wichita State's win, it's been all chalk today (plus I doubt anyone really considers an 8/9 matchup an "upset" if No. 9 wins).
Landon (3:57 p.m.): Oh, wow. What a finish to Davidson-Marquette. Who saw that one coming? Three made buckets in the final 40 seconds, two of which were three pointers, and a lay-up to win it.
Little did you know that I filmed myself cheering as Marquette saved my perfect bracket. http://youtu.be/eEgj2Jww5Fk. Was I overreacting? Maybe. But hey, it is the madness, and I'm still perfect six games in.
Personally, I'm struggling to believe that Southern is staying this close to Gonzaga. Do you think this could be the first ever 16-seed to upset a 1-seed? Only a matter of time.
Regardless, I echo the comments of J.A. Adande. It is very good to see a Stockton on a court in Salt Lake City. I wonder how dad must be feeling...
Matt (3:26 p.m.): Now that I've gotten the newsroom to switch from Gonzaga-Southern to Marquette-Davidson, let's remember these Wildcats haven't won a tourney game since 2008, when they went all the way to the Sweet 16. Could you imagine it happening again? Sure. This year against Marquette? No way.
Pretty sure a lot of people had Marquette going to their third Sweet 16 in a row...me included.
Landon (2:45 p.m.): I'll see your mildly-relevant NBA analogy and raise you another. My bracket right now is like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Tall, rebounds well, and doesn't miss much. We are very early on, but the results so far have been good for me. I'm four for four, and about to go five for five.
Man, those untypically hard video games were the best. I miss them.
I have Marquette beating Davidson too, so I feel your pain. I have Indiana getting upset in the second round though, so the more painful moments of this first weekend of March Madness are most likely yet to come.
I mean, really, Temple over Indiana? That game's still a few days away and I can't believe I thought the Owls can pull that one off... IF they get past NC State. What was I thinking?
Oh, one more thing. Seeing Mitchell Young's face in this St. Mary's-Memphis game is giving me fond memories of this: http://youtu.be/2sHZAcW-p2s. What. A. Dunk.
Matt (2:25 p.m.): I'm getting less and less enthusiastic about this blog. You're batting 1.000 compared to my Allen Iverson-esque performance — all-out enthusiasm, very little efficiency.
One thing about March Madness: it's one of the few remaining things without an Undo or Most Recent Save function. You have to live with it. It's like those epically hard video games 25 years ago...or your favorite pro team's really bad draft. You look back and sarcastically think, "Wow...great call, there."
I'm due another one of those if Marquette keeps letting Davidson get under their skin. Maybe it's destiny. One Wildcats team has to advance. It's obviously not NIT blooper Kentucky, and I'm already second-guessing my home-state Arizona picks.
Landon (1:53 p.m.): No, I don't blame you at all. Looking at my bracket so far, I'm probably the envy of everyone in the office. Everyone, that is, except for DJ Jazzy Jody Genessy. He and I are the only ones to pick this Wichita St. game right. (Shout out to you Jody.)
Maybe that's how I should pick going forward. Every team with the slightest hint of blue in their colors from now on deserves my picks. Yeah... Maybe that could work...?
Matt (1:45 p.m.): That's another annual guarantee of March Madness. Guys puff their chests and nod their heads when they make their picks. Girls reluctantly do it because everyone at work tells them to, then they make their picks based off of names, mascots, favorite colors etc. In the end, is one way significantly more successful than the other? Yearly returns say no.
As far as my in-office rampages, can you blame me? So far I look like a shoe-in for the Picked All the Wrong Upsets award. Davidson is stifling Marquette (picked Marquette), but Bucknell couldn't close out Butler? Really? Let's not forget my bold NMSU pick that's about to join Bucknell in the what-was-I-thinking toilet.
Landon (1:35 p.m.): I know anyone who reads this can't hear what you're saying, but I'm sitting right next to you, so I think it's fair game.
Did you really think that foul in the Pitt-Wichita game was flagrant, or are you just frustrated that your bracket is going down the toilet? I'm thinking it's the latter, but I don't blame you. I can just see millions of people nationwide doing the same thing you're doing. Wichita St., if they keep this up, are going to make me look like an NCAA prophet.
Man, after the second round of last year, I burned my bracket. It was a nightmare. A bad dream. I only had two teams making it to the Sweet 16 that actually made it. My wife's bracket beat the tar out of mine, and I work in sports.
You can imagine the humiliation...
Matt (1:25 p.m.): The last two years have been an absolute crapshoot. I know Kentucky won it all as a No. 1 seed last year, but the Sweet 16 was littered with lower-seeded teams that messed everyone up.
My biggest regret from last year? No. 11 North Carolina State losing to Kansas by three, robbing us of a NC-State vs. North Carolina Elite Eight. The arena would have been a bloodbath.
Other than maybe Illinois vs. Indiana, I don't see any potentially juicy rivalry games unless teams get outside their respective regions and make the Final Four.
On a side note, Pittsburgh is threatening to make me 1-3 so far today. Awesome.
Landon (1:06 p.m.): I guess I should hold my tongue then about Wichita State. The gap is closing on them. I really feel sorry for you about Butler, man.
Well, not really, but I'm slightly sympathetic, if that helps at all. I did what you did a year ago. The thing is that I learned from it, and I'm glad I did.
Really, the safest bet is to go top-seed on anything involving a 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-seed. It's the middle ones that always cause the problem. (Unless of course you're talking about 2011 when not one, but two low seeds made it to the Final Four. My bracket was atrocious that year, but I think so was everyone else's...)
Matt (12:58 p.m.): I officially failed Rule No. 1 of March Madness: don't start crowing about a possible upset before it's final.
Bucknell led 37-31 when I got prematurely excited, then proceeded to give up 37 points in the final 10 minutes.
Think about that. Butler more than doubled their points in a half of a half. That's a more subtle version of March Madness, one that trumped my stereotypical version of lower-seed-beating-higher-seed.
So already, I'm doing the yearly ritual of consoling myself by taking stock of everything still intact on my bracket...after two games.
Matt (12:30 p.m.): It's one of the biggest jokes of the 68-team format. Those first four games should be just that: "The First Four." That or the "Qualifying Round of Teams Wanting to Be Annihilated on National Television by a No. 1 Seed". After that, first round, second round, etc. Now the fans are confused and the losing teams get to make their tournament runs sound better than they actually were.
If I sound angry, it's only because Bucknell has successfully allowed Butler to execute a double-digit point swing in a matter of minutes.
Landon (12:19 p.m.): ... Whew. Butler back in the lead. I saw this pick as a no-brainer. Can't believe this is even a close game. I'm glad Wichita State is winning through. Those shockers 'bout to shock the NCAA bracket universe. Oh, and by the way, Matt... picking Bucknell wasn't gutsy. It was foolish. I hope you have them going out in round 3. (Why on earth is the second round called the third round???)
Matt (12:15 p.m.): Hard not to look like a lucky genius with Bucknell giving Butler everything they can handle. Pretty sure I'm the only one at the DNews who had the guts to hand Butler -- a program that has become synonymous with deep tournament runs -- a first-round loss. Couldn't help it, though. Just felt like they were due.
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