Category Archives: College Hoops
I haven’t filled out my bracket yet. Let’s walk you through my failure!
The 2016-17 college basketball season was characterized by an absurdly strong commitment by all teams to keep fans not knowing what the hell was going on. I saw the top 25 at some point this season headlined by Baylor, a team who I didn’t know (and still don’t think, FWIW) was good. Kansas, Villanova, Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Duke also spent time at #1, and all five would be pretty good picks to win it all.
There were no Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis performances by freshmen, as the young guys largely (non-Lonzo Ball/Malik Monk division) underperformed compared to expectations. Instead, senior Frank Mason (Kansas), junior Josh Hart (Nova), and junior Justin Jackson (UNC) won conference player of the year awards and each led their teams to #1 seeds.
Basically, you can’t get this right. I know nothing, so here we go.
Favorites: Villanova and Duke, and given Duke’s performance last week could be viewed as interchangeable. If you’ve followed the blog for long, you know that brings me zero joy. As the defending champ, Villanova comes in with more experience, but Duke has amassed an insane amount of talent and finally sat repugnant asshole Grayson Allen in favor of athletic PG Frank Jackson.
Final Four possibilities: I submit #5 Virginia and #6 SMU. Virginia suffered a midseason lull, but almost won at Villanova in a weird late-season nonconference game. SMU is back from last year’s postseason ban, and damn near won the AAC title with what we thought would be a depleted roster.
#3 Baylor, as referenced above, I’m not buying. Florida is the 4, and they played well in the SEC. Take that for what it’s worth.
Potential crazy upsets: #8 Wisconsin over Villanova in round 2, as they’ll at least limit possessions and keep the game close. It’ll be aesthetic hell to watch if they can pull it off. I’ll give #7 South Carolina over Duke a slight nod as well since the game would be in Greenville, SC, where UNC also plays, which means a good chunk of the crowd will be heavily invested in cheering for Duke’s opposition. Finally, whomever wins the play-in between #11’s USC and Providence will have a puncher’s chance to beat SMU and go on a run.
Favorites: Gonzaga is the first mid-major since Wichita State (in 201…2? maybe?) to get a #1, and they actually promise to be a tough out. Wichita State ran into an 8-seeded Kentucky team that nearly won the whole damn thing. #2 Arizona lost to Gonzaga in the regular season, but was without two key players and just won the top-heavy Pac-12. #3 Florida State looks like an NBA team from a size and athleticism POV.
Final Four Possibilities: #4 West Virginia presses like crazy, #5 Notre Dame is good…this one’s tough. Special shout-out to St. Mary’s at the 7-seed as well, they’d be the nation’s top mid-major…had they not lost to Gonzaga three times. Hell, 11 seed Xavier started the season in the top 10-15 in major polls.
Potential Crazy Upsets: Either #7 St. Mary’s or #10 VCU could beat Arizona in Round 2. Same for #6 Maryland and #11 Xavier over Florida St. I’m gonna ride with #12 Princeton over Notre Dame as my 12/5 because both teams play such a slow tempo that it’ll come down to the final two minutes.
I know you’re looking at Vanderbilt/Northwestern’s winner (damn this is an academically-sound bracket, even with Florida St. and Arizona) as a possible Gonzaga-beater…but both teams are hella inadequate to do this.
S16: Gonzaga/WVU/Florida St./St. Mary’s (ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
E8: Gonzaga/Florida St.
Winner: Florida St., who serves as my annual ‘Final Four pick to lose on Day 1’.
***IF YOU ARE WILLING TO SPONSOR THIS WEBSITE FOR FOOTBALL SEASON 2017, I’LL LOCK THIS BRACKET IN AND LET YOU MOCK ME WHEN FLORIDA STATE LOSES TO FGCU.***
Favorites: Kansas is here. Louisville is big and again developed a sick combo guard in Shelton Mitchell.
Final Four possibilities: If I don’t go
rock chalk, there are a bunch of teams that could theoretically have potential. However, #3 Oregon just lost a key player, apparently. #4 Purdue was the best team in the B1G and didn’t win a game in their conference tourney. #5 Iowa State is hotter than most teams, and I didn’t know that until looking at the ‘info’ button on the brackets. #7 Michigan is riding high after the plane derailment/B1G title, and #9 Michigan St. is always a tough out in March because Tom Izzo.
This bracket has nobody I’m actually that confident in.
Potential Crazy Upsets: I mean, pick one. I’ve got my eye on Oregon and Iowa State to possibly both get KO’d in the first round. Literally anything besides Kansas vs. play-in is on the table.
S16: Kansas, Purdue, Rhode Island, Louisville
E8: Purdue, Louisville
Favorites: Uhhh…Carolina, Kentucky, and UCLA are interchangeable as 1/2/3, with Carolina having the advantage of having to play one of them, at most. Butler is the fundamentally sound gym rat squad of the tournament who could give the three aforementioned up-tempo teams fits.
Final Four possibilities: Gonna be a tough road to hoe, but #6 Cincinnati and #10 Wichita State both feel criminally underseeded.
Potential Crazy Upsets: The 12/5’s strike again. Minnesota seems pretty nondescript and Middle Tennessee went 30-4. #13 Winthrop has some dude scoring 23 points a game, and guard play wins in March. Anyone knocking off the top 3 would register as well, and I think Cincinnati over UCLA and Wichita over Kentucky in round 2 should both at least merit consideration.
S16: UNC, Middle Tennessee, Cincinnati, Kentucky
E8: UNC, Kentucky
Winner: Kentucky (let’s…let’s not talk about it.)
Villanova vs. Florida St., Kentucky vs. Louisville: Seriously, Florida State is such a weak pick here. Villanova picks them apart and wins by 17. Hey, the nation’s (second) best rivalry! I think its a Kentucky run year.
Shit. Go SEC, I guess.
Editor’s note: Meet my friend Josh Thompson. Josh mentioned to me his idea to publish a weekly Georgia drinking game on our site. I thought Andrew had retweeted the South Carolina game edition, but I couldn’t find it on a quick search of his timeline. It’s altogether possible I made that up. Last weekend was hazy. He can be found on twitter at @j_thompson89
Anyway, this is freaking fantastic, and will prompt equal or greater haziness THIS Saturday.
Take it away, Josh!
Good morning, DudeYouCrazy readers. After meeting Chad at a tailgate last weekend, I offered my talents to bring you the weekly Georgia football drinking game. There are two sets of rules here: weekly rules that differ for each game, and two rules that will repeat every gameday.
To those who choose to partake: I salute you. Getting up and ready to drink for a noon kickoff against an FCS foe is quite a feat. Considering the Friday night that (Editor edit) alcoholics like you/us assuredly had, I’m sure you’ll be able to use this game as an excuse to day drink. That said I’ve tried to keep in mind that we will be nursing hangovers while sipping on Bloody Marys, and not throwing back light beer as if this were an SEC game.
Southern @ Georgia drinking rules:
- Drink when the announcers mention that this is Southern’s first game against an SEC school.
- Drink every time the announcers discuss the Alabama game next week, since everybody has already mentally moved past this one.
- 5 drinks when they discuss Lambert’s NCAA record game last week
- BONUS SHOT if they mention that performance “ending the QB competition”
- Finish your drink if it’s mentioned that Lambert is now dating Miss Georgia
- 3 drinks when the “Southern’s band will win halftime” joke is made
- Shot when Malcolm Mitchell’s children’s book is brought up
- Drink when it’s mentioned that there’s a new Uga this season
- Drink again if this ends in a shot of ‘Cue sitting in his doghouse
Weekly Georgia Bulldog drinking rules:
- Finish your drink on Georgia’s first Special Teams error of the day
- Shot for each additional Special Teams mistake
- Keep drinking every time Chubb carries the ball. Henceforth known as the #ChugForChubb
As it always does, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament gave us some great moments. Great moments, such as R.J. Hunter’s buzzer-beater (and his torn-Achilles’d dad/coach falling out of his stool) will echo in eternity, as the NCAA’s corporate partners use buzzer beaters and catatonic losing players to somehow convince you that Pontiac still exists as a producer of automobiles. These moments also overshadow what can be some pretty shoddy basketball.
N.C. State/Villanova, won in the waning seconds on a tip-in? Preceded by seven minutes of atrocious basketball, with both teams apparently trying to throw the game South Park style. Georgia/Michigan St.? Teased us for a few minutes because Michigan State fouled on multiple layups, missed some key free throws, and won on the strength of Georgia choking just a little worse.
The Sweet 16, at the very least, is where the cream starts to rise to the top. Your top NBA prospects (referenced in last week’s tourney primer) are almost all still in play. Kentucky is still undefeated, Duke is still alive with its 3 lottery picks, and that big white dude from Wisconsin is still set to have that awkward Naismith Award interview during halftime of one of the Final Four games.
Midwest: #1 Kentucky vs. #5 West Virginia, #3 Notre Dame vs. #7 Wichita State
By FAR the most intriguing bracket, because 1) Kentucky, duh; 2) their opponents/potential opponents. Bob Huggins’ 2010 West Virginia squad stopped the John Wall/DeMarcus Cousins Wildcats cold with a ruthless, attacking 1-3-1 defense back then, and history has a way of repeati….HAHAHA JK. But, go Mountaineers anyway.
Last year, an eighth-seeded Kentucky squad knocked…guess who?…Wichita State from the ranks of the unbeaten on the way to the finals. STORYLINES! And Notre Dame is the hottest team in the country. Undersized, yes, but their four-out-one-in offense is probably the best recipe to crack Kentucky’s ridiculous defense.
The pick: Calling Kentucky over Notre Dame here.
West: #1 Wisconsin vs. #4 North Carolina, #6 Xavier vs. #2 Arizona
Until today, I didn’t know there was a (decidedly one-sided and petty) beef between Wisconsin and UNC, but hey. My favorite excerpt:
Williams told a throng of national reporters: “Are you going to tell me you don’t like this more than 19-17 at halftime? I’m not a nuclear physicist, but you make the choice. We’re trying to make it a game of basketball skills, not a weight-room contest.”
This was in reference to a 2000 Final Four game in which Wisconsin played, where the halftime score above was correct. The Badgers are still that hateable, playing at the nation’s 346th quickest tempo. They are, as you might expect, a bunch of white guys with bad haircuts, so join me in cheering for UNC. There’s my pitch.
Arizona is still the most dangerous yet unpredictable team in the tourney. All three of their losses came to teams who failed to make it to the final
64 68, and their offense occasionally disappears. If they’re on, though, they’re a match for Kentucky.
The pick: Unfortunately, I have a gut feeling about Xavier (whom I haven’t seen play in YEARS) knocking off ‘Zona. Wisconsin tempos North Carolina to death by not allowing them to get into transition. Wisconsin is the beneficiary and advances, at which point I may actually lean towards supporting Kentucky in the Final Four*.
*- There is a very real, very horrifying chance that both Duke and N.C. State make the Final Four. This is my hell. Go Big Blue, assuming Carolina has been shown the door.
East Bracket: #8 N.C. State vs. #4 Louisville, #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State
The Wolfpack and Spartans, respectively, knocked off #1 Villanova and #2 Virginia in the opening weekend, throwing the East into wide-open chaos. State actually won AT Louisville earlier in the season, but Rick Pitino is the March Mobster (has anyone taken this joke before? Not in those exact words. Fun links anyway. ‘No cuddling on the bathroom floor’ is my new rally cry for UL games).
I know little about Oklahoma, but their Big XII brethren took the GAS in week 1. #3’s Iowa State and Baylor didn’t survive the first four hours of play, #2 Kansas lost to little brother Wichita State, and #5 West Virginia draws Kentucky. Counter that with what I said about Pitino above, take out the mobster part, and demonstrate more success and overachieving in the tourney, and you get Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. Don’t bet against Tom Izzo.
The pick: I choose to believe N.C. State has had its moment and Louisville wins by 8-10 points. And DON’T BET AGAINST TOM IZZO! Sparty beats Louisville, although I honestly didn’t know they were going to qualify for the tournament until I saw them paired with Georgia.
South Bracket: #1 Duke vs. #5 Utah, #2 Gonzaga vs. #11 UCLA
Utah is big, physical, and has athletes at the guard position. Which could beat Duke. Self-delusion over.
Gonzaga/UCLA is a fun matchup, because it means we get to see Adam Morrison crying about 12 times in the minutes leading up to, during, and after the game. The Bobcats drafted him third overall over about 40 guys who had better NBA careers, and I’m still bitter about it.
“Let me taste your tears, Scott!”
The pick: Step 5: acceptance. Duke rolls over Utah, rolls over a Gonzaga team that actually reaches the regional final for the first time since 1999, although they’ve been to every tournament since.
Kentucky/Wisco, Michigan State/Duke. And I’m free to do something else next weekend.
As college basketball falls more and more out of the mainstream consciousness*, it gets harder to motivate oneself to a) follow the sport in the regular season, and b) fill out a bracket with the dedication and research, or in the timely manner, that was once en vogue.
*- A 2010 Gallup poll ranked college basketball the 8th most popular sport among Americans, down from 3rd in 1991.
Having said that, Kentucky is your undefeated, gargantuan favorite. There are no appointment-watch one-and-done players, such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Michael Beasley from years past (DeAngelo Russell at Ohio State is the closest). There are no appointment-watch white guys a la Adam Morrison or the Jimmer.
All we have this year is a lot of parity, which hopefully leads to a lot of close games and
a lot of clever “NOW ITS OFFICIALLY MARCH!!!!” comments from the announcers.
Favorite: Since we mentioned Kentucky, why not start here? Kentucky’s roster would be the second-tallest in the NBA, only behind Portland. Forward Karl Anthony Towns is gaining momentum as the #1 pick, twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison were ridiculous in last year’s tourney, and its going to take a parade of 3’s and an extreme off night to beat them.
Other contenders: Well, #2 Kansas lost to Kentucky by like, 35 points earlier this season. That’s never good. The cavalcade of 3’s I mentioned that could beat Kentucky? It could come from 3-seed Notre Dame, who spreads the floor with four knockdown shooters.
Sleeper: Going with #7 Wichita State. They were undefeated in the regular season last year, and still have a lot of those players. Insert catchwords like “moxie”, “poise” or “experience” here. And Wichita/Kansas in the second round could be a lot of fun.
Super Dark Horse: #12 Buffalo? They led Kentucky AT Kentucky at the half back in December, which I realize means absolutely nothing. So whatever. Carry on.
Best NBA Talent: The real reason most of the DYC staff is here. I’ve got to go with Towns, or Anthony-Towns, as I’m not sure if the Anthony is part of his first or last name. 6’10, agile, explosive, developing face-up game, Blake Griffin potential without the gaudy college numbers to back it up (because he has talent around him).
Favorite: Logic would dictate I trump the #1 seed Wisconsin here, but (say it with me now) NEVER TRUST THE BIG TEN. Give me Arizona, who has the talent, length, and athleticism to challenge everyone, including the presumptive champs.
Other Contenders: With Wisconsin being one, I don’t trust a slowdown-and-threes team. #4 North Carolina could carry the momentum from a nice ACC Tourney run…or they could bow out in the first round, and neither would surprise me. Quite frankly, not a single other team strikes me as Final Four-quality (which could explain why college basketball is so down).
Sleeper: From the same template as Wichita State, VCU is the 7-seed, has recent success on its side, and has a legitimately terrifying ability to completely bury you. Next best guess? Their first round opponent, Ohio State, who just seemed to sleepwalk through this season and could turn it on.
Super Dark Horse: #14 Georgia State. Seriously. They get an underwhelming 3-seed in Baylor in the first round, and could feasibly take out Xavier or Ole Miss in the round of 32. Why not? Nobody’s reading this far anyway.
Best NBA Talent: A ton of good choices here. Arizona F Stanley Johnson and Ohio State G DeAngelo Russell are one-and-done lottery picks. There are great college talents such as Wisconsin three-balling C Frank Kaminsky, whose name you will hear a ton. I’m going sleeper here though, Arkansas F Bobby Portis, the SEC player of the year. Almost 50% on catch-and-shoot 3’s, 18 points per game in SEC play, and 6’11. And I had never heard of him til last week.
Favorite: All about the V-schools here. I’d take #2 Virginia if Justin Anderson had proven he was healthy, but his complete inability to play offensive basketball in the ACC tournament with his broken pinkie has me steering clear. By default, then, you have #1 Villanova.
Other Contenders: #4 Louisville has Rick Pitino and crazy person Montrezl Harrell, and plays a style that makes everyone uncomfortable (enter Pitino restaurant joke here). I have no reason to believe in #3 Oklahoma as they’re inconsistent. We’ve been beaten over the head with #5 Northern Iowa for me to say there’s no way.
Sleeper: Realistic sleeper candidates include
#10 Georgia sorry it’s just not happening; maybe the winner of the 8/9 game between N.C. State and LSU? Both teams have impressive strengths and no glaring weaknesses, and both have enough athleticism to compete with Villanova.
Super Dark Horse: #11 Dayton hasn’t even qualified for the field of 64 yet, but they made a run to the Sweet 16 recently. #14 Albany could spring a first-round upset on Oklahoma.
Best NBA Talent: A little tough to lock down here. Louisville’s Harrell is the only first-rounder according to the wildly inaccurate and speculative NBADraft.net. UVA’s Anderson is a big 2, but as I said he’ll be worthless at least the first weekend, so no help there. Go Harrell and enjoy his antics.
Favorite: $&(@Y@&*#((! Shaping up just like their joke of a run in 2010, Duke arguably drew the biggest lightweights in the #2 (Gonzaga) and #4 (Georgetown) spots. Damnit.
Other Contenders: Gonzaga has never made it to the Elite 8, yet we keep trumpeting them as a true contender. I’m on that wait and see. #3 Iowa State made a nice run last year and *pulls out megaphone* Fred Hoiberg’s team is the most entertaining team in college basketball. Watch them play if you can. I’ll go Iowa State as legit, #5 Utah as a light sleeper.
Sleeper: #9 St. John’s. The Johnnies (I think Steve Lavin is still their coach) gave Duke 32 minutes of a game earlier this year, and could meet them again in the round of 32. With no overwhelming teams in the 4/5 pod, they could play for a shot at the Final Four potentially.
Super Dark Horse: #10 Davidson. They won an A-10 that included VCU and others (don’t ask me to name them without research).
Best NBA Talent: Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Justice Winslow, and Tyus Jones. Okafor is a young Al Jefferson, Winslow is a poor man’s (insert crazy athletic young NBA wing), and Jones is a steady point who could top out as an offensive-minded CP3. F**k Duke.
I guess, based on the above, that I have Kentucky/Arizona/Villanova/Duke as favorites to make the Final Four. No way in hell this happens, but in keeping with the format above, those are your best bets.
If this comes to pass, Kentucky/Arizona, in my opinion, is for the title. And Kentucky wins. And demolishes Villanova or Duke.
Let’s hope the parity shines through on the first weekend, because beyond that all we get is TruTV jokes.
In case you had forgotten, John Oliver helpfully reminded the audience of Last Week Tonight that indeed, the NCAA is still the worst.
Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.