Tag Archives: NCAA Tournament

Your NCAA Tournament Opening Weekend Roundup

Welcome to the 102nd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we only play the piccolo and cry when there’s no one else around. Let’s get into it…

(USATSI)

The best four days in sports kicked off Thursday morning at 10 and wrapped up Sunday night at about 10. Those 84 hours saw 48 basketball games that ended 48 teams’ seasons before they were ready. Things started off with a bang when two 14-seeds upset a pair of teams that many predicted would make the Final Four. So for a while it looked like we were heading for four days of wild and crazy bonkers-ness. But the next three and a half days fizzled a little bit and produced a weekend that was, on the whole, actually pretty bland. Last year in my recap of the tournament’s opening weekend I wrote about a wild Thursday, saying:

…And this year’s NCAA Tourney Thursday might have been the best NCAA Tourney Thursday ever. Four of the 16 games went to overtime, which has never happened before. Four of the twelve regulation games were decided at the buzzer or in the final minute. So literally half of the games on Thursday came down to the final seconds. Three double-digit seeds won. Three more choked away a would-be victory. Colorado was embarrassed…

It was a glorious, unbelievable day.

This year failed to produce a day that came close to that. Those two crazy upsets that sent Iowa State and Baylor home on Thursday turned out to be a misnomer. Saturday, for example, had only two games decided by fewer than 8 points (though Butler-Notre Dame did go to overtime and NC State upset 1-seeded Villanova by three points). Sunday was even worse with zero games being decided by less than six points.

There were some upsets, sure. But in terms of wild, thrilling, did-you-see-that finishes, the weekend certainly underwhelmed.

Now, to be clear, an underwhelming opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is still better than most any other sporting event. I enjoyed plenty of fun and awesome and memorable and exciting moments of college basketball from Thursday morning through Sunday night.

Here are my favorites:

The best moment of the tournament’s opening weekend came on Thursday afternoon, just a few hours after it all started. Here’s a quick background: 14-seed Georgia State is down by two to 3-seed Baylor in the game’s final seconds. A few days prior, when Georgia State clinched their tourney invite, head coach Ron Hunter tore his Achilles during the team’s celebration, so he’s coaching this game on a little wheeley-stool-type-thing with big ol’ cast on his foot/leg. His son is Georgia State’s best player, R.J. Hunter, a future first-round NBA draft pick. With the game on the line, the younger Hunter buried an unreal three from about 25 feet out. His injured coach/dad was stoked and produced an all-time great Vine that I’ve watched approximately 500 times.

I like the wide angle better, but the close-up of Hunter is also pretty awesome:

So are these still shots:

@MattNorlander

Great stuff, folks.

So that was the tournament’s best moment to date. This next one from Saturday night was the most “viral”:

Obviously, the internet was going to have some fun with this one. Here’s my favorite edit:

And within 48 hours she was on the nation’s most popular late night talk show. What a world.

Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton might have made the play of the tournament with this sick block of a shot that would have won the game for Butler. Absolutely awesome video here.

This is a remarkably underrated Vine from Friday evening. Every time I come across it, I stop and watch it like twenty times.

Before the real tournament even started, we had this moment from Wednesday night’s play-in game. Getting pantsed is cool, but check out the cheerleaders’ reaction:

One of the coolest things about the tournament is fans getting the opportunity to watch players they haven’t seen much throughout the year. For me, this player was D’Angelo Russell. I’ve known for a while that Russell is going to be a top-5 pick, but for whatever reason, I just haven’t been able to watch him a whole lot this year. Ohio State didn’t make it out of the opening weekend, but Russell was a one-man highlight reel.

And check this no-look dime.

And of course, I spent last week ranting and raving about Colorado State’s snub and the ludicrous inclusion of UCLA. It was the most-read post I’ve had in a while. So what happens next? Naturally, Colorado State, the #1 overall seed in the NIT, loses at home to South Dakota State and UCLA makes the Sweet 16.

I would like to take a moment to emphasize one point:  A team’s performance, good or bad, in either the NIT or the NCAAs does nothing to merit the selection committee’s decision. Those decisions are made on what’s been done, not a team’s projected in performance in a separate tournament.

UCLA and Texas could both make the Final Four with CSU immediately losing in the NIT and that would still not justify the committee’s inclusion of those brands over a more deserving team.

And I can’t really blame CSU for coming out flat for what turned out to be their last game of the year. They were emotionally drained. They lacked focus and energy, especially early. And that’s all fair. Not overly surprising. Not something I’m going to fault them for.

An opportunity for some decent national exposure (had they gotten to play in Madison Square Garden) went down the drain, but if we’re honest we know that nobody gives a damn about the NIT. CSU’s season truly ended on Selection Sunday.

Off to the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

A few weeks ago I ranked Allie LaForce pretty high on my Swoon Index (#5, but that might have been too low). So naturally, I AM NOT DOWN WITH THIS.

Photo(s) of the week:

CBS Sports tweeted an awesome gallery of the best pictures from the opening weekend. These are my favorites (along with the one at the top of this page).

A cool shot from the play-in game in Dayton. (Getty)

Ron Hunter hugs his son as he comes out of his last game of the year. (USATSI)

I just put this in here because Fred VanVleet is probably my favorite player in the country. (Getty)

Tweet(s) of the week:

A couple Las Vegas hotels tweeted out some pretty funny videos of a meaningless layup in the final seconds of the VCU – Ohio State game. VCU is down by five, and throws in a layup at the buzzer so the Rams only lose by three. This made a bunch of people happy.

Stud of the week:

Finally seeing Garth Brooks live crossed an item off my bucket list. (John Lebya, Denver Post)

This post is a little shorter than a lot of other weeks because it took me about two full days to recover from a concert I attended late on Saturday night (and into Sunday morning)*.

*Not that I was, like, wasted. I’ve learned from experience that concerts are more fun when you remember them.

I’m told I started listening to Garth Brooks when I was about four years old and I do remember the cassette of his self-titled debut album always kicking around in my dad’s car. So saying I grew up with Garth Brooks is not at all an exaggeration. I have the hard copies of eight or nine of Garth’s albums with a few other downloads peppered in. I honestly think I know every word to every song on every one of those albums.

Garth was “retired” by the time I started going to concerts and prior to this week, he hadn’t played in Denver since I was eight years old. So by the time I truly learned to appreciate and enjoy his music, I had come to the realization that I would probably never be lucky enough to see him play live. So saying I’ve waited pretty much my whole life to see Garth Brooks, that too, is not at all an exaggeration.

I’ve known that much of Garth’s astounding success is due to his live shows and I’ve seen plenty of YouTube’d or DVR’d concerts. But at the risk of repeating what 25 people have already put in your Facebook feed, it was pretty damn awesome.

Singing along as Garth let the crowd take over on Unanswered Prayers (like I’ve done while listening to Double Live hundreds of times) was worth double the price of admission. But so was screaming the live-only third verses on The Thunder Rolls and Friends In Low Places (like I’ve done while listening to Double Live hundreds of times.)

And, damn, it was loud. I have definitely never been to a concert that was as loud as the Pepsi Center was between every song. It was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard that place, which is saying something.

Garth will do a little of the corny, you-guys-are-the-best-crowd-yet stuff that may make you might roll your eyes. But that’s just Garth being Garth. He plays to the crowd and does it well. Overall though, Garth sings the songs you want to hear and does it with the passion and energy that’s made him a zillion dollars over the past quarter-century, even if it’s his second show of the night and it’s well past 1 a.m. on Sunday morning.

And I know this is an original opinion, but it’s pretty damn awesome.

NBA Tank Watch 2015:

The Nuggets continue to choke this thing away. They’ve held steady in the 8-spot of the Tankandings, and it looks pretty clear that played themselves out of a high lottery pick, which is kind of astounding when you think about how bad they were and how little they cared under Brian Shaw..

  1. New York, .197, 14-57
  2. Minnesota, .229, 16-54
  3. Philadelphia, .243, 17-53
  4. L.A. Lakers, .265, 18-50
  5. Orlando, .306, 22-50
  6. Sacramento, .348, 24-45
  7. Detroit, .371, 26-44
  8. Denver, .380, 27-44

Some links I enjoyed and you should too:

And finally, CJ Anderson bought his grandma a car and that’s pretty damn awesome.

Grandparents are the best.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

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The Opening Weekend of March Madness Was Incredible

Welcome to the 53rd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m still trying to catch my breath after that incredible weekend of basketball. ‘Round these parts the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament produces a wealth of material. Let’s get into it.

 Teams like North Dakota State make the NCAA tournament's opening weekend just the best thing in sports. (via James Snook-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

Teams like North Dakota State make the NCAA tournament’s opening weekend the best thing in sports. (via James Snook-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

The best day on the sports calendar is not Super Bowl Sunday. It’s not baseball’s Opening Day. It’s not all of the bowl games on New Year’s Day. There is one correct answer to this debate. The best day on the sports calendar is, without a doubt, the Thursday when the NCAA Tournament tips-off and March Madness begins. The Friday of this weekend is almost as good, but Thursday gets the nod because on Thursday you know that you get to do this again and again and again for four straight days.

And this year’s NCAA Tourney Thursday might have been the best NCAA Tourney Thursday ever. Four of the 16 games went to overtime, which has never happened before. Four of the twelve regulation games were decided at the buzzer or in the final minute. So literally half of the games on Thursday came down to the final seconds. Three double-digit seeds won. Three more choked away a would-be victory. Colorado was embarrassed. (More on that later.)

It was a glorious, unbelievable day. Let’s recap.

The first game tipped off at 10:15 between Dayton and Ohio State, two schools that would make up an intense and interesting intrastate rivalry, except the Buckeyes refuse to play Dayton in the regular season. First game of the day, solid storylines, why not go down to the wire? Ohio State senior Aaron Craft, seemingly in his 8th season and a guy people love to hate in a J.J..Reddick/Jimmer Fridette/Tim Tebow kind of way, drills perhaps the biggest shot of his career to put the Buckeyes up one. Then he gets beat on defense (his main asset) at the buzzer. His remarkable career is over. The Flyers move on. I lose a billion dollars. The Madness has arrived.

After Wisconsin wins by 40 and CU loses by a couple, Harvard and Cincinnati are locked in a back and forth game. In the final minute, Cincinnati’s best player, probable All-American Sean Kilpatrick, dribbles the ball off his leg for a crucial turnover and the nerds dramatically pull off a major upset for the second straight year.

Next, Syracuse, Oregon, Florida, and Michigan State all take care of business in what I guess could be described as a bit of a lull as the day turns to evening.

Connecticut and Saint Josephs go to overtime in an edge-of-your-seater. Michigan handles Wofford. Then Saint Louis and North Carolina State get weird. Fifth-seeded SLU is down by 14 points with five minutes remaining. But they come back and send another game to overtime. The Bilikens somehow score 18 points in the final 2:22 of regulation, which is absurd. Saint Louis fouls NC State relentlessly because neither team can make a damn free throw. The final few minutes of regulation and overtime seem to take an hour and half. The game had absolutely zero flow. It was painful to watch. Yet because this is March Madness, it’s also somehow beautiful. Neither team would quit. The passion is worn heavy on the faces of all these kids who just don’t want their season to end. The aesthetics of the game are horrible, but also awesome.

Right after that one ends, the nation flips over to North Dakota State vs. Oklahoma. By this time, we’ve watched eleven basketball games and could maybe use a breather. Nope. Some kid named Lawrence Alexander drills a three with eleven seconds left to send this game into overtime too. In the closing seconds of overtime some freshman named Carlin Dupree who is a 58 percent free throw shooter and hasn’t played a single minute all night comes in and calmly knocks down the two biggest free throws in the history of the Bison program. HOW DO YOU NOT LOVE THIS STUFF?!

Okay, now we get to catch our breath right? Nope. Flip over to Arizona State vs. Texas. In the final seconds Texas throws up an awful brick of a three-point attempt. The rebound lands at their center’s feet and he picks it up and tosses in the game winner as the buzzer sounds.

I somehow refrain from literally ripping my bracket into shreds.

That stretch of games was the most relentlessly exciting and compelling college basketball you will ever see. But we’re still not done.

Villanova takes care of business. Now it’s Louisville vs. Manhattan. I come to the realization that nobody knows what a Jasper is. Louisville, picked by many to go to the Final Four and beyond, looks like it might go down to a 13-seed. It’s now approaching 11 p.m. We’ve been watching basketball for more than 12 hours. Just when you think the Cardinals are actually going down, Luke Hancock calmly knocks down a couple threes in the final 1:19 and they survive.

There’s one game still going on, San Diego State vs. New Mexico State. New Mexico State has a 7′ 5″ giant, so that’s interesting. It looks like the Aztecs will comfortably put this one away. They go up five with a minute to go. It’s now 11:30 p.m. and there has been nonstop basketball for more than 13 hours. I have to wake up for work in less than seven hours. I turn off my TV because APPARENTLY I HAVE LEARNED NOTHING. While brushing my teeth, I get a text. I giddily run out to my TV and see NMSU score five points in 16 seconds to send, fittingly, the last game of the day to overtime. SDSU pulls it out. America finally goes to bed.

The first of 16 more games on Friday tips off in less than eleven hours.

There’s absolutely nothing like the opening weekend of March Madness. And make no mistake, whatever comes along in 2014, nothing in the sports world will touch March 20th.

On to the fun stuff…

We’ll start with the most notable GIF of the week. This is what you do when you are a 14-seed and you beat Duke in the NCAA tournament on Friday morning.

Look how into it number 10 is!

Fred Hoiberg also decided to dance, but his style is a little different.

After that little scene The Mayor texted his daughter to apologize. She took a screenshot and posted it to Twitter. Pretty great stuff.

 

Sean Miller of Arizona and Archie Miller of Dayton are the first pair of brothers to coach in the same Sweet 16. They look and talk exactly alike. Apparently this confused Greg Gumble of CBS, which led to this tremendous, cringe-inducing interaction.

The Kansas vs. Stanford game on Sunday morning was entertaining, but the biggest star was undoubtedly this nutjob.

via @sbnationgif

I just realized that getting drunk and playing the damn cowbell court side at the NCAA Tournament while your team pulls off an upset to advance to the Sweet 16 sounds like the most fun thing… like, ever.

The other star was this poor tyke, who was shown approximately 94 times by CBS in the game’s final couple minutes.

via @bubbaprog

Some stuff happened on the basketball courts, too! I picked Arizona to win the title. I still feel pretty good about that. I’ve had the opportunity to watch them a number of times this season and have always come away impressed. They’re composed, deep, athletic, talented, balanced, well-coached and defensively sound. Did I mention athletic? No duo in the nation can match the athleticism of Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon. Here’s a little evidence of that from Sunday night.

via @mshamburger1

Here’s the stone-cold, brass onions play from Deandre Kane of Iowa State in the closing seconds that sent North Carolina home. (And led to Hoiberg’s dance above).

via @sbnationgif

I also need to say a few words about the best game of the weekend. The best day of the weekend was Thursday, but the best game came on Sunday afternoon, when 35-0 Wichita State took on preseason #1 and immensely talented Kentucky. Prior to tip-off, some people were calling it the greatest round of 32 matchup ever. It more than lived up to the hype.

Kentucky narrowly pulled off the upset when Fred Van Vleet’s buzzer beating attempt rimmed out. It was just a blast to watch. Kentucky, the blue-blood program with the perhaps the most tradition and largest fan base in all of college basketball trying to upset a one-seed from the Missouri Valley Conference.

Both teams played at a very high level throughout the game. Both teams have great defenses, but neither offense could really be stopped. The Shockers’ Cleanthony Early had perhaps the best performance of the tournament in the losing effort. Look at this freaking dunk!

via Deadspin

When the game finally ended– and everyone was hoping for overtime– you got the feeling that the winner should bypass the next three rounds and move on to the national championship. It truly felt like a Final Four game on the tournament’s fourth day.

Here’s Van Vleet’s attempt at the buzzer. I would have liked to see Early get a touch, but Van Vleet is the MVC’s Player of the Year and his sick crossover actually produced a great look. It just didn’t fall.

via @cjzero

via @cjzero

Maybe I’m just getting caught up in the excitement but I thought it was one of the best basketball games I have ever watched. March Madness is just the best. Have I mentioned that yet?

Tweet(s) of the week: The weekend was full of incredible basketball. But let’s go back to Thursday morning for a moment. You didn’t actually think I would forget about what happened in the Colorado vs. Pittsburgh game did you? If you don’t know better, I’m a pretty big Colorado State backer and am therefore not a very large fan of Colorado.

When I give my thoughts on this blog, I really do try to be objective. Sometimes I have some fun with some good, old-fashioned internet trolling, but for the most part I just call it like I see it. Also, I realize it’s a pretty bad look to make fun of a rival school’s performance in the NCAA tournament when your school just went through a rebuilding year and got zero consideration for an invite… to the CBI.

That said, Colorado’s performance on Thursday was so laughably horrible that we should all probably make fun of them. Have at it, internet.

In the game referenced in that last tweet, Michigan won by 30 and was the 8-seed. This means Colorado just had the WORST PERFORMANCE EVER from an 8-seed. Historically awfu! They had a good year, but damn, it did not end well.

No need for studs or douches this week because of so much awesomeness. Instead I’ll give you some fairly random predictions for the Sweet Sixteen.

  • Arizona will hold San Diego State under 55 points and win comfortably.
  • Louisville will squeak by Kentucky in another classic. Russ Smith will get his crap together and hit a Russdiculous shot late.
  • Michigan State vs. Virginia will go to overtime, but Tom Izzo isTom Izzo so Sparty wins.
  • Baylor will be too athletic for Wisconsin and pull off the upset.
  • Florida vs. UCLA will be entertaining as hell. Gators win.

Based on the accuracy of my bracket, we can legitimately expect none of these things to happen.

In non-sports news, some guy who is probably not creepy at all is wandering around Wal-Marts in North Carolina tricking women into letting him suck their toes.

I also really enjoyed this “Best Name Bracket” from the people over at Deadspin. Not sure I can see Dr. Loki Skylizard getting upset, but Curvaceous Bass and Shamus Beaglehole are no slouches in this competition.

And finally, I could have made this post exclusively about the NCAA Tourney, but when you come across a GIF of a mascot bear catching a baseball in his giant mouth, you share that shit immediately.

via @corkgaines

I think this one is headed for the GIF hall of fame.

***

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Year Two is off and running. See ya next week for my Rockies preview, which will actually have to come a day after Opening Day.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

CSU Seniors Are A Special Group

V. Haro. Fort Collins Coloradoan

Colorado State’s classy group of five seniors will be missed by Ram fans. V. Haro. Fort Collins Coloradoan

One of the things I’ll remember most about the group of Colorado State seniors whose careers all ended Saturday was they way the carried themselves on the court.

When I watched Greg Smith and Wes Eikmeier and Colton Iverson and Dorian Green and Pierce Hornung, I got the feeling they were all there to win a basketball game. Nothing more. They were passionate and they would get jacked up in big moments, but it was always about the team. Never about themselves. Never talking crap. Never showing up an opponent. Never playing to the crowd.

Personal celebrations are rampant in college basketball and I’m not here to say any of that is wrong or foolish. It’s a fun part of the game. But it was really refreshing to watch a group of kids that just didn’t care about any of that. I’m sure much of the credit for this mentality should go to Tim Miles and Larry Eustachy, but it’s rare for college kids to conduct themselves with so much class at all times.

How many times can you remember one of these seniors doing the single three goggle, double three goggles, down-low-three-thing, six-shooter-pistol-thing, jersey popping, or chest pounding? None. I suppose I could be wrong but I can’t remember one of these guys doing something like that one time over the course of four (or three for Eikmeier, one for Iverson) years. That’s incredible to think about.

Instead we saw a lot of this stuff:

CSU celebrates as a team.AP Photo/Coloradoan, Dawn Madura

CSU parties on the court– as a team– after a win.
AP Photo/Coloradoan, Dawn Madura

Always about the team.

The ending was unceremonious and it didn’t feel right. Last week’s post pointed out that they earned a better fate than what they were stuck with.

Without getting on my soapbox again, I’ll simply say it was a shame to watch the kids that turned a program around go out in that manner. They deserved better. They could have played Florida Gulf Coast in the second round. Or Gonzaga. Or anybody else. You have to feel that any draw other than Louisville in Kentucky and things wouldn’t have been so upsetting and disappointing.

I’m not saying they were bound to win a national championship, but it’s no stretch to see them as a Sweet 16 team if the committee was a little more kind reasonable. They deserved better. I’ll get off my soap box now.

An interesting thought regarding this team:  Does it make sense to retire any numbers? I think there’s one guy you can make this argument for and that’s #22. Dorian Green has played in more CSU basketball games than anyone. Ever. He took over a team that had gone 4-12 in conference play the year before he arrived. They improved each of his four years. He led the program to back-to-back tournament appearances for the first time in 13 years. This year’s team won the most games in program history and is generally considered the best Colorado State team ever. Green scored 26 points in the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 24 years.

Those are some serious accomplishments.

The thing is, he was never really a superstar. Nobody on this team was. They were five very good players who played very well together. You can’t retire all five numbers. Or can you? No you can’t. Or do you just retire Smith’s 44 and Hornung’s 4 and Green’s 22 because they played all four years? No, that’s too excessive.

Colorado State has only retired five numbers in the history of their athletic department and they’re generally reserved for All-Americans. Only one of those honored is a men’s basketball player, Bill Green (no relation, but a very coincidental last name), in the early 1960s.

With that in mind it seems unlikely Dorian Green’s number will hang in the rafters at Moby, but his career certainly warrants a discussion on the matter. What do you all think?

I guess at some point we have to think about next year. For a team losing all five of it’s starters, the cupboard isn’t as bare as it might initially seem. The core will be sixth-year senior Jesse Carr, 4th-year junior Dwight Smith, 4th-year junior and current Mountain West sixth-man of the year Daniel Bajerano, junior Jon Octeus and senior Gerson Santo.

Three pretty solid recruits are coming in, but at this point it’s tough to predict how much playing time any of them will receive.

A drop-off is expected. At this point (and it is really early for all this talk) I see CSU as a middle of the pack Mountain West team that lands on the wrong side of the bubble.

Anyway, this year’s group deserves to be celebrated and will not be soon forgotten. They turned the program around. They laid the foundation. They were all close friends. They hang out together. They are mature off the court. They were mature on the court. And they were good.

We may never see a group like them again.

OTHER STUFF FROM THE TOURNAMENT’S OPENING WEEKEND

This category is pretty much dominated by Florida Gulf Coast University. This dunk from Friday is the moment of the tourney.

What we have here is a kid on a 15-seed lobbing it about 3 feet above the rim in a crucial moment. Then some white dude who probably didn’t really get recruited by anyone throws it down like JaVale McGee. Just an incredible moment.

That happened on Friday. By Saturday morning, they had they’re own music video popping around social media. Usually this stuff is pretty poor, but “Dunk City” has some serious production value:

They won again to make history on Sunday, which produced my favorite gif since Marshall Henderson trolling the Auburn kids. Equipment manager going hard:

FGCU Equipment Manager

What a thug. I love the mini-chicken dance halfway through. It’s also important to notice how goofy his buddy #15 is. Not quite as thug.

My other favorite moment from the opening weekend came when a friend sent me this video. The dude coming down the stairs in the background has had a long day of basketball, presumably enjoying an adult beverage or two along the way. Apparently watching someone fall down turns me into a second-grader giggling uncontrollably.

OTHER STUFF FROM AROUND THE WEB

Thursday night was all about college basketball, but if you missed the end of the Nuggets game against the 76ers, check out this wild finish that extended their winning streak to 14.

The Nuggets (sans Ty Lawson) lost to the Hornets last night. No really, that happened. Still, they are the best story in the NBA right now (assuming you don’t like or don’t care about or refuse to acknowledge the Miami Heat, who should be expected to win every game and not praised for it). Denver has a great chance of securing the number 3 seed in the Western Conference. Rob Mahoney of si.com had an interesting piece on Monday about the Nuggets true chances of playoff success. Personally, I think there’s a whole lot to hate about the NBA, but the deep and different dudes in Denver are, in a way, the opposite of all those disturbing and disgusting trends. So I watch. And I root. And I don’t even feel like a hypocrite.

And yes, I absolutely think this team is good enough to get past San Antonio and Oklahoma City to play Miami in the Finals, assuming David Stern is cool with it, which is unlikely. They travel to San Antonio tomorrow in what should be an interesting test.

The controversial ending to the Nuggets-Bulls game last week got a Bulls analyst fired. What a wild story.

This is a great story on a dad successfully grooming his son to become a professional athlete. Really good journalism.

This MMA’er has an unfortunate name. Or the announcer has an unfortunate pronunciation. Either way, this should make you laugh:

This has 6 million views in like 6 days. It’s not as good as this classic. Or even this one. But what a fun little genre we’ve developed here.

And finally, Opening Day is less than a week away. It might mean less in Colorado this year, but damn, I love baseball. It’s hard to not get excited for winter fading into spring and spring fading into summer. Nothing symbolizes that better than a bright green baseball diamond on a sunny day. I wrote this a year ago.

Happy Tuesday everybody.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn

Did Colorado State Deserve a Better Seed and a Better Matchup?

Welcome to the initial posting of Tuesdays With Mitch. This will be a little different than the old blog. New name, new format and a new commitment with a post each Tuesday. Enough about that, we have a lot to get to. Let’s jump in.

Colorado State fans were pretty darn upset on Selection Sunday for a variety of reasons. Here’s why:

The Colorado State Rams have an understandably subdued reaction upon seeing themselves as an 8-seed. Aaron Ontiveroz, Denver Post

The Colorado State Rams have an understandably subdued reaction upon seeing themselves announced as an 8-seed. Aaron Ontiveroz, Denver Post

Let’s start at the beginning. Once the selection committee has determined who will be in the field, they rank each of the teams from 1-68. That list is here. We’ll leave it at that for now.

The Rams came in at number 30 on the committee’s list, giving them an 8-seed. Here’s a link to the bracket, which you’ll probably want to reference. That #30 means that the committee felt CSU was the second best of the four 8-seeds.

Should they have been ranked higher? Let’s take a look. Here’s the list of the teams that make up seeds 7-9:

Seeds 7-9

cbssports.com

I’ll quickly breakdown each of the 5 teams ranked ahead of CSU. Keep in mind the things the committee looks at most closely are good wins, bad losses and RPI. Feel free to skim over some of the specifics if you’re not particularly interested in the details. I’ll start with CSU’s numbers for reference:

Colorado State — RPI: 18. Versus RPI top 100 11-7. Sub-100 losses: 1.

Creighton  RPI: 25. Versus RPI top 100: 10-5. Sub-100 losses: 2.

They Jays have a couple top 50 neutral-court wins, something the Rams do not have. The RPI is pretty close. Their worst loss is to Drake (RPI 144). The Rams worst loss is to UIC (169). Overall, having Creighton ranked ahead of CSU is reasonable.

San Diego State — RPI: 32. Versus RPI top 100: 8-10. Sub-100 losses: 0.

This one is going to take up a bit more space, as it has CSU fans the most upset, mainly because the Aztecs went 9-7 in the Mountain West, where the Rams went 11-5. Indeed, this is the most egregious/puzzling/enraging of the seeding scenarios.

A quote from Andy Glockner, who does a bracket projection and just about everything else college basketball for si.com. From his Monday column:

“The good thing about the Mountain West is it played a double round-robin schedule, so it’s pretty easy to see who was better in league play. Colorado State finished 11-5, a game ahead of UNLV and two games ahead of San Diego State, yet the Rams ended up 30th on the seed curve, somehow four spots behind the Aztecs and a crazy 12 spots behind UNLV. I know nonconference play matters, too, but what did UNLV and San Diego State do that was so great to overcome the league performance by such a significant magnitude? That made no sense.”

Well put, Andy. When asked for some explanation by Fort Collins Coloradoan beat writer Matt Stephens, committee chair Mike Bobinski mentioned the nonconference play of the two teams. From that report:

“Our conversations at the end of the day about those two teams were that San Diego State had a nice neutral-court win over UCLA, beat Indiana State, which is a pretty good team and did just enough things for us to put them slightly ahead of Colorado State,” Bobinski said. “Colorado State’s non-conference wins didn’t really feature anything over teams in the tournament, where as San Diego State at least had that.”

In other words, “Ummm I really have no idea how that happened. Sometimes we just screw up and there’s no reasonable explanation for that at all.” I have so many issues with Bobinski’s stupid explanation I don’t know where to start. He apparently forgot that CSU did, in fact, have a nonconference win over Montana, a 13-seed in this year’s tourney. He gives credence to the Aztecs’ neutral court win over Indiana State (RPI 72). Apparently CSU’s nonconference road win over Denver (RPI 65) doesn’t count as much as that one. So a neutral court win over a decent-but-mostly-mediocre UCLA team (RPI 26) gets SDSU ranked four spots ahead of CSU, despite 3 fewer top 100 wins, a 14-spot differential in the teams’ own RPI rankings, and a 2-game difference in the conference standings with a perfectly balanced schedule? Just lunacy.

Notre Dame — RPI: 35. Versus RPI top 100: 9-9. Sub-100 losses: 0.

The Irish have two fewer top 100 wins, but they have two top 13 wins. CSU’s best is 22. ND’s worst loss is 94. Their RPI, however, is almost twice as high as the Rams’, so I’d call this one a coin flip, or a slight nudge in CSU’s favor. Crazy to think a brand name like Notre Dame would win a close call over a brand name like Colorado State.

Illinois — RPI: 40. Versus RPI top 100: 7-10. Sub-100 losses: 2.

Apparently the committee can just brush aside the supposedly important RPI factor when it feels like it. The Illini have a bit of a different profile. Good wins– 3 in top 10– clearly carried them to a 7-seed. There’s four fewer top 100 wins and one more bad loss. Oh, and that enormous RPI discrepancy. I’d call this one pretty much a coin flip again. The profile depends on what kind of criteria one puts the most stock into.

North Carolina — RPI: 17. Versus RPI top 100: 9-9. Sub-100 losses: 1.

These profiles are incredibly similar. Both teams’ best wins are home to UNLV. Both played 10 games vs. top 50 teams (CSU went 3-7; UNC went 2-8). Both played 8 games vs. 51-100 teams (CSU went 8-0; UNC went 7-1). The RPI is a virtual tie (.6185 to .6182). And both teams have one sub-100 loss. I would guess the committee gave the nod to UNC because they’re playing better in recent games. That is, of course, assuming that brand names and conference affiliations and traditions don’t come into play.

Pierce Hornung and the Rams received a tough draw in every regard in this year's NCAA Tournament. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pierce Hornung and the Rams received a tough draw in every regard in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So of the five teams ranked immediately ahead of Colorado State, my scorecard reads one correct, one outrageously ridiculous and horrible, and three 50/50 calls, all three of which went against the Rams to tradition-rich programs with huge fan bases.

If I’m coming off sounding like a whiney fan, I apologize, but facts are facts. Another national writer, Jason Lisk, who does great work on The Big Lead gave me a little ammo Monday as well.

Discussing teams that were seeded lower than their RPI would have indicated he said, “Colorado State is probably the only one with a complaint if we view it from a ‘RPI, adjusted slightly for who you beat scenario’. They dropped below (UNLV) and were seeded four spots lower than (San Diego State).”

Hopefully I’ve made it clear that the boys from Fort Collins simply deserved a better seed than the one they received.

You still with me? Good, because I’m not done.

Now let’s look at the match up. Because this has me equally befuddled.

The Rams are heading across the country to play in Lexington. Should they get past a very good Missouri team, they face Louisville, the tournament’s number one overall seed. In theory, this should be designated for the fourth (or worst) 8-seed. Remember, the Rams are the second 8-seed. Since that was a tough draw, hopefully the committee made up for it by giving CSU a favorable location, right? Nope.

The other 8-9 locations are Dayton, Salt Lake City and Kansas City. Lexington and Dayton are about an 18 hour drive from Fort Collins (according to Google Maps). SLC is 7; KC is 9.

This is where things get complicated, and I’m no Joe Lunardi. But looking at the bracket, it would appear to make much more sense to simply swap out Colorado State and the team immediately behind them in the seed list, Pittsburgh. This would send the Panthers to play Missouri in Lexington and CSU to Salt Lake to play Wichita State. These games obviously make more sense because of location, but it also makes sense based on the seed list.

For some reason Colorado State plays the first 9-seed in Missouri (33 on the list) in the round of 64 even though they’re the second 8-seed. If you’re wondering, Columbia, Missouri is about a seven hour drive to Lexington, or 11 hours shorter than from Fort Collins. Oh yeah, if they get past that game they have the tourney’s number one overall seed waiting for them in a home game.

None of this makes any sense.

Unless I’m missing something, and I don’t see any conference or rematch conflicts, going to Salt Lake to play Wichita State with Gonzaga awaiting the winner makes infinitely more sense than what CSU is stuck with. And, based on the (incorrect) seed list, the Rams have earned as much.

So your Colorado State Rams got a tough draw based on the seeding, the location, the opponent, and the potential second round opponent. That’s all.

It’s really a shame, because these seniors have worked so hard for the past four (or five) years to get to this moment, and this year they’ve earned much better than this scenario. Hopefully all this puts a chip on the Rams’ shoulder, and I’m one guy thinking it would not be particularly wise to count this team out now.

Off the court, these dudes just can’t win. Here’s to hoping things are different on the court.

OTHER STUFF FROM AROUND THE WEB

Here’s JaVale McGee doing something ridiculous on a basketball court:

This could be a weekly installment. And no, I don’t know what to call that play either. And yes, the Nuggets are pretty darn good. So are the Heat though, so what’s the point?

What are your thoughts on Dick Vitale? The Wall Street Journal had an interesting profile of the polarizing broadcaster last week. It’s recommended reading. Personally, I love Dickie V. His passion for college basketball is unrivaled and I think his goofy mannerisms and dumb catch phrases have become as much a part of the sport as reviewing clock issues in the last minute of games. I literally laugh out loud every time he says, “How do you miss that? I ONLY GOT ONE EYE AND I COULD SEE IT!” Dick is a surprisingly good follow on twitter, but only if you– and I’m serious about this– read each tweet in your best Dickie V voice. And really, he’s just a great dude who absolutely loves people. That’s a quality characteristic. His passionate work in raising money for the Jimmy V foundation is also very important. What do you think? Are you hitting the mute button or laughing along with me?

March Madness kinda-sorta starts tonight, so why not?

Gus is the best. It’s a travesty he no longer calls the tournament.

This one doesn’t need much explanation: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xo2MQtqD3zk

Throw it down big man! (Found that on Jimmy Traina’s twitter. @JimmyTraina)

Apparently there’s like 20 different versions of these commercials. After much deliberation I’ve decided they’re pretty funny.

Able. Bodied. Athleticism. They may or may not be attempting to appeal to rednecks with these.

I really enjoyed the latest 30 for 30, “Survive and Advance” about Jim Valvano and the unlikely tournament run of the 1983 North Carolina State team. It was a well done look at a truly incredible man and a truly incredible season. I’d probably rank it as one of the best three or four films in the documentary series. You feel something special when you watch a bunch of teammates sitting around a table reminiscing about such historic developments 30 years later. Search for it in your DVR and set aside a couple hours, you’ll thank me later. If you don’t tear-up you’re more of a man than me.

Here’s a fascinating non-sports feature from the New York Times Magazine. This dude’s a world renowned physicist, but he makes Manti Te’o look like a genius.

This is what Marshall Henderson looked like after winning the SEC Tournament Championship:

Marshall-Henderson1

[via @denzelnkemdiche]

If you know anything about Marshall Henderson, this picture isn’t much of a surprise.

And finally, only one bracket please. I could write a whole post about this, but if you fill out more than one bracket you’re doing it wrong. If you called that sweet 13 over 4 upset in “your other bracket” I do not want to hear about it. It doesn’t count. When you fill out a bracket, you should be making a confident attempt at perfection. There’s only one perfect bracket.

Comment below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn

Happy Tuesday everybody.