The 16th HWCI NCAA Tournament Pool

HW Basketball Logo 2010 HWCI NCAA Pool Update
[ 96 Team Bracket - Ugh... ]
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Issue # 18.6.3 "Post-Mortem: Show Me The Money!"
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Three final thoughts lost in all the excitement

CERRITOS, CA (smt) - It's been four years since I had an 18th update and eight years since I had an update after the traditional wrap-up issue.  But with all the excitement of this year's tournament and final, some things I wanted to comment on got lost in the shuffle. 

The first item was the thing that was a hot topic before the tournament, the possible move to 96 teams in the tournament from the current 65.  Crazy?  But it looks likely to happen.  And there is only one reason, despite what any NCAA official may try to explain it... money.  Lots of it.  The fact this tournament was so great would normally tell you, why tinker with it.  But like the Health Care bill, it doesn't matter that most people are against this... it's what the elites want.  Even mocking this ridiculous idea won't deter them.  So if it's inevitable, and we'll know by July 31st (the opt-out date of the CBS deal), how does this affect our pool?

First of all, our outdated java bracket will have to change.  It looks like it will be 24 teams per region, with #24 vs #9, #23 vs #10, etc., so that if all the favorites win the opening round games, we'll have our familiar #1 v #16, #2 v #15, etc. matchups.  Maybe, to spare you from picking 32 additional games, which could be a chore, we could do what we do for the current opening round game, and give you a bye (e.g., what we currently call "Play-In Win").  So, #1 would play Winner 16/17, regardless of who won the 16/17 matchup.  And for the upset potential 5/12 matchup, you'd pick either the #5 seed or the Winner 12/21, hoping the #12 actually beats #21.  One hindrance is that it is easier to see potential in, for example, "12-Cornell" than "Winner 12/21".

If we pick the opening round games, and we don't update our bracket, we could do the same as above PLUS a simple form where you pick the 32 opening round games worth one point each.  That would make the max point total 228 instead of 196.  Or we could update the bracket to include the opening round games (and it would still be 228 points).

I wonder how this would affect the Women's tournament, because don't they play mid-week?  Also, instead of 20 more blowouts, wouldn't it be better maybe to pair the games as #24 v #23 (plays #1), #22 v #21 (plays #2), etc.?  In addition, if regular season champs will also qualify, what's to prevent the SWAC regular season champ to tank in the conference tournament so the SWAC can get two teams?  Regardless, the deadline will still be ~9 am Thursday since the extra games will be played next Tuesday/Wednesday (Round 2) and the fee would still be $10.  Let the headaches begin.

The second final thought is it's a good thing Gordon Hayward's buzzer shot didn't go in to beat Duke.  One, there is a great shot in the Sports Illustrated magazine (the picture's not online for some reason, but I found it here) which shows just 0.1 seconds and the ball still firmly in Hayward's hands.  Can you imagine that the excitement of the buzzer beater being deterred for five minutes while refs look at the replays over and over again.  I'm sure CBS would go to at least 3 minutes of commercials.  And if it didn't count, would the refs have the guts to overturn it?  Maybe, since they also allowed Duke's Kyle Singer to get pummeled by an illegal pick by Matt Howard which freed up Hayward for the shot.  Can you imagine all the Dukies complaining about the refs if that shot went in?  We were spared, I tell you.

Lastly, after the tournament, five Kentucky underclassmen (four freshman) declared for the NBA draft.  I'm sure the Wildcats will just rebuild with a new top recruiting class, but is this really good for college basketball?  Are these really student-athletes the NCAA wants to promote?   The one-and-dones?  Maybe one one-and-done is okay, but four one-and-dones on one team?  Maybe the NBA should develop their D-League more and get the one-and-dones to play there, for some money, instead of steering them to attend college for one year (Europe is another option, but that's extreme for most high schoolers).  Unless the NBA contracts the number of teams, there will always be roster space for great high school players because the talent level is diluted and individual skills are more valued.  We should take, dare I say it, Duke's example where they didn't have that one star player and played as a team. 

Post-script... didn't the new Jennifer Hudson "One Shinning Moment" suck?  It is so bad CBS has removed all instances of it on YouTube and doesn't even have it on their own site either.  Ouch.

I guess our stats next year will be referred to as the "modern" era?...


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