Look — it’s a selfie of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee!
They hope to make it the most shared March Madness photo in history. Hey, if it helps the Cats —
HAPPY 200TH BIRTHDAY, LOUISIANA!
I don’t normally get that excited about other states’ bicentennial celebrations.
But New Orleans did all Kentuckians a kindness this year. They hosted the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship — an event that I’m not sure if I have mentioned here…
So, forever more New Orleans — and indeed the entire state of Louisiana — will have a warm spot in my memory and in my heart.
Enjoy your big day, Pelican State. You sure helped all us Wildcats enjoy ours.
Today The Sticky Egg dedicates this space to its mighty alma mater, the University of Kentucky Wildcats, the first team to earn a spot in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament!
But that’s March Madness for you.
Gotta love it.
The sports writers are loving the underdog story that is the Butler Bulldogs.
And why not? Basketball fans love a good Cinderella team.
But supporting Butler tonight in their quest to win the NCAA Championship is more than cheering for the little guys against Duke’s established, winning, monied program.
It’s choosing good over evil.
It’s rewarding hard work over entitlement.
It’s sending a message to the NCAA Selection Committee: we choose the team that fought every step of the way to get to that final game…not the team that was oh so carefully ranked and placed in the brackets to ensure their final spot.
Most people agree that Syracuse deserved the #1 spot that Duke occupied in the South, where the #2, 3, and 4 seeds were decidedly weaker. If their positions had been switched, who knows the outcome? But, as always, Duke got the weaker bracket, the easier road.
This is not the Road to Entitlement.
This is the Road to the Final Four.
Now that the field of 64 teams in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is down to the Elite Eight, I thought it might be fun to see how the different conferences have fared over the past two weeks.
The tourney committee had definite feelings about the comparative strength of the conferences, and gave slots to the teams according. Let’s review how many:
Big East: 8
Big 12: 7
Big Ten: 5
Mt West: 4
(A lot of other conferences got one slot, too.) And now, let’s review how many remain:
Big East: 1
Big 12: 2
Big Ten: 1
Mt West: 1
So, what’s my point?
Historically, the Big Eight, Big Ten, and ACC get the most at-large berths to the NCAA tourney. Since its inception, the Big 12 has been added to that list.
This year, only the Big 12 has lived up to their billing, with two of their seven teams in the Elite Eight. The Big East and ACC were big disappointments — and not for the first time. When will the committee learn?
But with both Kentucky and Tennessee still in the hunt, the SEC boasts a 50 percent showing, since tourney officials only saw fit to send four teams to the big dance.
Kentucky plays West Virginia tonight for the East Regional Championship and a berth in the Final Four. Tomorrow, Tennessee plays Michigan State for the Midwest Regional Championship.
I hope the tourney selection committee will be watching.
Guys? That’s the SEC in action.
It’s called the Sweet Sixteen with good reason.
Making the Elite Eight and Final Four is, of course, the raison detre, but surviving that first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is oh, so sweet.
Your expectations beyond that point — well, that pretty much depends on who you are.
For the Cinderella teams like Northern Iowa, Cornell and St. Mary’s, any other wins they amass at this point — as my friend Jason so aptly put it this morning — are gravy.
But for a seeded team for Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse or even Ohio State, any loss is a huge disappointment to both the team and its fan base. They are expected to win from here on out.
No exceptions. No excuses.
If only the seeded teams could look at each win going forward as ‘gravy.’
Would that make the final victory even sweeter?
Once again, President Obama and I agree.
We both picked Murray State to upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament yesterday.
And since there is a very good chance that I will devote a portion of this blog to my alma mater and East Region #1 seed University of Kentucky Wildcats — who also won their first-round game yesterday — I wanted to give Murray State a little love today.
I grew up, as many of you know, in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, which is a mere 45-minute drive from the Murray State campus. During high school, I spent a lot of time there, attending regional meetings for academic clubs and visiting my sister Lou Ann, who is a proud Murray State alum. (My brother Kent also received his degree from Murray a few years later.)
The Murray State Racers were no slackers coming into the tourney; they boast a 31-4 record this year. Many credit Racer Isacc Miles, who formerly played for Creighton, as the reason behind Murray’s appearance on the national stage.
Whatever the impetus, Butler had better be ready on Saturday ’cause the Murray State Racers are coming!
And they’ll have the entire state of Kentucky behind them.