Good to be back; the last 8-9 days were kind of cruddy, but things are better now, so we can begin again. Here are some things I learned in the last week:
— This year’s Sweet 16 contains teams from 11 different leagues:
3— SEC, Big East
2— Big X
1— from eight other leagues
— Miami’s win Sunday night saved the ACC from not having any teams in the Sweet 16; that, according to my records, hasn’t happened since the Field went to 64 in the mid-80’s.
— Princeton is first Ivy League team since Cornell in 2010 to make the Sweet 16; Tigers held Arizona/Missouri to 55-63 points, very impressive. Princeton never trailed against Missouri, which was kind of shocking; they play Creighton in the Sweet 16 Friday.
— #15 or #16-seeds who have made the Sweet 16:
2022— Saint Peter’s
2021— Oral Roberts
2013— Florida Gulf Coast
Had never happened until 2013, now it happened three years in a row. The game is changing.
— Teams are more fragile now; rosters are cobbled together every spring/summer, and the fiber of a team isn’t what it once was. Players transfer A LOT; so when practice starts in October, it takes a while to build some chemistry.
NCAA Selection Committee used to use “last 10 games” as a reason to choose/not choose a team for the tournament. Going back to that criteria wouldn’t be a bad idea; teams get on a roll at the right time, which is where Princeton is where they are.
— Purdue’s last three NCAA Tournaments:
2023— #1-seed, lost 63-58 to #16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson in first round
2022— #3-seed, lost 67-64 to #15-seed Saint Peter’s in Sweet 16
2021— #4-seed, lost 78-69 in OT to #13-seed North Texas first round
Purdue had 7-4 Zach Edey this year, who is going to be really good in the NBA; in the last 12:00 against FDU, Edey took one shot. One freakin’ shot, against the shortest team in America.
— Virginia’s last four NCAA tournaments:
2018— #1-seed, lost by 20 to #16-seed UMBC in the first round.
2019— #1-seed, won the national championship
2021— #4-seed, lost to #13-seed Ohio U in first round
2023— #4-seed, lost 68-67 to #13-seed Furman in first round
Talk about peaks and valleys. Jeez.
— Under went 20-4 in Friday/Saturday games; referees weren’t calling many fouls. Players have to play thru contact. Lot of times I watch games with no sound; you see a play, wait for players to stop and shoot foul shots, but not fouls are called. A ton of contact went uncalled this weekend.
— Tennessee flat-out intimidated Duke; they contested every step the Blue Devils took, the much-older Vols forced their will on Duke, pushed them all over the court. Filipowski had a cut under his left eye in the first 5:00 of the game— he probably needed 3-4 stitches afterwards.
This is what FAU coach Dusty May had to say about playing Tennessee next:
“We’re going to study Australian rugby rules and get ready for the Vols.”
— Big X made a lot of noise this this winter about how they were the best league and for the most part, they were, but their teams laid an egg this weekend, going 7-5 overall, 5-2 in first round, 2-3 in second round— only Kansas State, Texas are left. Not good enough.
Creighton played three starters 37:00+ in Denver’s high altitude, still shot 11-24 on the arc, scored 1.21 points/possession, in a fairly easy win. Ugly performance by Baylor’s defense.
— Arkansas is in the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row; surprised Eric Musselman is still the coach there. Thought a bigger $$$ school might’ve scooped him up by now.
— Apparently St John’s offered Rick Pitino their coaching job, which should attract a lot of the headlines early this week. Once Pitino decides, more coaching dominos will fall.
— Ole Miss hired former Texas coach Chris Beard.
— Georgia Tech hired former NBA player/Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire.
— Bowling Green hired former Southern Utah coach Todd Simon
— McNeese State hired former LSU coach Will Wade.
— Western Kentucky hired A&M-Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz
— Jose Altuve is the best player on my fantasy team; he broke his thumb in the World Baseball thing this weekend, making this week even more joyous. Altuve will be out 8-10 weeks.
— Rams traded DB Jalen Ramsey to Miami for a 3rd-round pick
— Buccaneers signed QB Baker Mayfield.
— Panthers signed WR Adam Thielen, QB Andy Dalton
— New England signed TE Mike Gesicki
— Colts signed K Matt Gay
— Eagles signed QB Marcus Mariota
— Colts signed QB Gardner Minshew
— Commanders signed QB Jacoby Brissett
— San Francisco signed QB Sam Darnold
— You can go online and order groceries and someone will bring them to your house; had no idea this was a thing, it isn’t that hard to get them yourself, but I utilized the service this week and it made things a lot better.
— Postponed today’s trip to Las Vegas, which sucks; UConn-Arkansas, UCLA/Gonzaga would have been great fun Thursday night, but now they’ll be fun to watch on TV. There will be other trips; have to start planning one.
— Red Gatorade is very good; I hadn’t had Gatorade in a long, long time, but I was told to drink a lot of fluids to avoid getting dehydrated, so Gatorade was it (some Vitamin Water, too, but that doesn’t taste as good).