Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NCAA Tournament Yay

I call this "Sports Saturday", even though 100% of this is about the NCAA men's basketball tournament. And, of course, even though today is Wednesday.

Most of my favorite sports teams suck, but Florida State basketball has been the exception the last few years, culminating this year with an ACC Tournament title. Yes! I think they were VERY VERY FORTUNATE to win the ACC this year, but that's what it takes. Acquire enough talent to contend, put your team in position, and if the breaks go your way, great! Sometimes they will, sometimes they won't. This year, they did, time and time again.

But it's not just Florida State that's doing well. Fact is, this might be the best season ever for the immediate Allen family. Not only is my alma mater in the field, but so is Amber's alma mater, Ohio; my mom's alma mater, Michigan State (sure, they're always in, but this year they're a #1 seed); my dad's alma mater, St. Bonaventure, and my brother (and his wife)'s alma mater, South Florida.

This is USF's 3rd-ever tournament, so this isn't really much of a stretch, but this is the first time ever that all five of those teams have been in the same NCAA tournament. Which is going to make the annual family bracket pool interesting. How far is each of us going to take our respective teams? I'm pretty sure at least two of us are going to pick our team to go all the way. As soon as Ohio made the tournament, I knew that effectively eliminated Amber from contention, because if given the opportunity, she always picks Ohio to go all the way. And I will be shocked if my mom doesn't take Michigan State all the way. The USF fans in the pool may not have that opportunity, though, if they lose tonight's First Four game.

Not me, though. I'm pretty sure Ohio State will beat Florida State, if FSU even makes it that far. Oh, did I mention that Florida State is paired up against St. Bonaventure? If the Bonnies win, I'll never hear the end of it. But as someone who has watched a lot of the Seminoles and some of the Bonnies this year, I actually think the Bonnies have a real shot. Still, though, if you're FSU, this is preferable to a matchup against at least two of the other three #14s (annual computer rankings darling Belmont, and the BYU/Iona winner). I thought an FSU/USF first second round matchup was more likely than an FSU/Bona first second round matchup, but maybe it's a good thing that the basketball world will be spared a potential matchup between defensively-oriented Florida State and slow-oriented South Florida. First one to 30 wins!

It's a little strange - and nice at the same time - to see some well-known pundits pick Florida State all the way to the Final Four. It's interesting how people tend to overreact to what just happened last weekend. Easy, folks...let's not get carried away here. If not for a couple of close victories against good teams that weren't at their best, Florida State would be a #5 seed and wouldn't even be looked at as a potential Final Four team. I'm not saying it can't happen, but let's be realistic here. No matter what happens in the tournament, it has still been a wildly successful season - couple of seasons, actually - for Florida State.

Well, either way, tournament success - whether you're a team in the field, or a fan filling out a bracket - mostly comes down to luck. Which is why I don't really put much effort into my bracket picks anymore. I'll never again achieve the greatness that was the #1 overall ranking on ESPN.com on the first Saturday of the 2005 or 2006 tournament (37/38 correct to start the tournament, if I remember correctly). So now I refuse to spend more than, say, five minutes on this each year.

1 comment:

allen_t said...

Why weren't the Bonnies paired to play the Gators? Then there would be no question which team the family would be backing.