03 April 2010

Forecasts from San Antonio and Indanapolis

Tomorrow, on Easter Sunday, I'll post something that's actually personal.  I promise.

Today, though, it's time for another sports column.  More to the point, it's time to publicly mourn my ruined college basketball brackets.

To tell the truth, I didn't bother filling a bracket on the women's side this year.  Geno Auriemma has turned his squad of young women into the frakking Borg.  As I had feared, the Huskies won all their regional games by at least 36 points.  Only Florida State managed to avoid getting doubled up; UConn eliminated them by just 90-50.

As I expected, Stanford also made it to San Antonio, but just barely.  With senior manicure rebounding goddess Jayne Appel well below 100% strength, the Cardinal got through only because (1) Xavier's Dee Dee Jernigan missed two open layups in 11 of the last 12 seconds and (2) in the 12th second, Jeannette Pohlen showed Tyus Edney how to make 95-foot runs to the basket.  It shouldn't have been that close, but Stanford made it through.

Which means that UConn could still find its winning streak ended at 77 games.  As I see it, only Stanford has the physical conditioning to even run with the Huskies.  It's perfectly reasonable to speculate that Baylor can win in its home state.  The Lady Bears' dismissals of Tennessee and Duke testify to their talent and willpower.  Right now, unfortunately, a win over UConn in Sunday's semifinal would be the second greatest upset in American sports history.  Only the Miracle on Ice would trump that.

Incidentally, Stanford crushes Oklahoma in the other semifinal.  That sets up a rematch with UConn come next Tuesday.  This weekend, yet another version of the Perseus legend is opening at movie houses.  The inevitable UConn-Stanford final will be a clash of the titanesses.

Over on the men's side, I did fill out a bracket, and my first weekend was an impressive success.  I got 23 first-round results right, including Murray State over Vanderbilt.  When I then got 10 of the Sweet 16 right, I figured I was set to sweep the nation.  But reality set in in the third round:  of my predicted Elite Eight, only West Virgina survived.

The thing I've noticed about this year's men's tournament is how much the fundamentals have mattered.  Butler has had those down better than anyone else in the last five years, so their appearance in the Final Four shouldn't be a big surprise.  Nor should it surprise anyone if, this Monday night, the Indianapolis-based Bulldogs cut down the nets, only 10 kilometers from their own campus.


Matty Boy said...

The Bulldogs won on Saturday, so you are halfway to being a prophet. I don't have a favorite team, but the Butler mascot is just way too adorable.

Abu Scooter said...

Did you see Butler Blue II on the court after the game? There he was, cooly lapping up the attention. You could post his mug next to the dictionary entry for "cool." Or "cute," for that matter. His trainers deserve an award.

Weird fact: Monday's Butler-Duke game will be the first all-private-school final since Villanova-Georgetown in 1985.