5-at-10: Jumping through hoops, Selection committee laments, Heat stay hot

5-at-10: Jumping through hoops, Selection committee laments, Heat stay hot

March 19th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Gang, remember our college basketball contest - First 1 out, last dog in. Pick the first No. 1 seed to lose and the double-digit seed that sticks around the longest. We need your entry by noon on Thursday. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezey. It don't cost nothing and you could win stuff.

From the "Talks too much" studios,

San Francisco's Frank Rogers, left, and Mark Tollefsen defend against Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (13) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in San Francisco.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Bubble watch

Hey, the bubbling emotions of the Bubble Watch and Selection Sunday have faded somewhat. Those that were left out and those that were seeded too high or too low, well, it's all history now, just like that $5 you floated on your office pool with Gonzaga in the Final Four. (C'mon, really? You bought into the hype right?)

OK, the debate and the difference between who is No. 68 and whether they are better than No. 69 was more passionate around these parts because your Tennessee Vols were likely No. 69.

The argument that we should analyze a little deeper is the Gonzaga as the fourth No. 1 seed over power conference powers such as Miami, Duke and Ohio State. And while each of those teams are in the Dance, let's flip the process to the football championship selection that will take place after the 2014 season.

Oh, yes, that got your attention, right? Now flip Gonzaga for Boise State and ponder that puppy.

In general terms, the No. 1 seeds are the best team from the best conference (Indiana), the hottest team in the country that also is the champ of the second-best conference (Louisville), the champ of the next-best big-boy conference (Kansas) and everyone's lovable mid-major who thumped a blah league (Gonzaga).

By that logic and the acknowledged basis that the football selection committee is going to lean toward conference champs with only one for sure spot reserved for at large teams, the four teams in the BCS most likely would have been No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama, No. 5 Kansas State and No. 6 Stanford. The rest of the SEC - which had four other teams in the top 10 - would be blanked.

And last year was not complicated by the presence of Boise State getting fat on a soft conference schedule. (We're also going to have to get ready for the duplicitous debate how the SEC teams do not play any non-conference football road games, but you can't hold Boise State's conference against them. OK, right.)

So if you think the BCS politicking is over-the-top now, wait until there are only four spots total, and really only one at-large spot.

And since there is but one at-large spot, Boise State (weak conference) and Notre Dame (no conference) will be the chief competition against the second-best SEC team for that coveted - and lucrative - at-large bid.

Here's saying the football four will be eight sooner rather than later.

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Louisville's Russ Smith (2), Gorgui Dieng (10) and Luke Hancock, center, celebrate Saturday with the team after their 78-61 win over Syracuse in an NCAA college basketball championship game at the Big East Conference tournament in New York.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NCAA tournament picks`

We started looking at our bracket yesterday. Here's what we got (with our view and the view of our 5-year-old son, Lil' 5er, whose sheet finished fourth last year):

Title game

5-at-10: Louisville-Ohio State

Louisville guards like no one else in the field and Russ Smith and Peyton Siva make for the best backcourt in the country. Aaron Craft is arguably the toughest player in the country.

Lil' 5er recap: Louisville-Indiana

Yes, that's a lot of chalk and two No. 1 seeds has only happened six times since the seeding began in 1979, but my favorite toy as a baby was a red bird. We used to have an IU bib (a gift from UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama). Coincidence? I think not.

Biggest first-round upset

5-at-10: Davidson over Marquette

Marquette is very physical and has size, but Davidson is hardly a new-to-the-party player in this mess.

Lil' 5-at-10: Florida Gulf Coast

I love Florida. There's a lot of great mini-golf there.

Favorite 12 seed (because let's face it, a 12-seed always wins)

5-at-10: Oregon

Wow, the Ducks could really be as high as a 6 seed considering their struggles were because of injuries and now they are healthy. Oklahoma State is tough, and Oregon turns it over a little too much, but still, the Ducks can guard and rebound.

Lil' 5-at-10: Ole Miss

You gotta love Marshall Henderson. He's the only player in the field that acts like a bigger baby than my little sister.

First-round game that will stop everyone in the office to watch the TV above our desk

5-at-10: No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast is going to scare the Hoya our of Georgetown.

Lil' 5-at-10: Whoever plays Kansas first. Kansas always struggles. Always. Rock, Chalk,... hey I like chalk. Nevermind.

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Miami Dolphins' Paul Soliai (96) applies pressure to Buffalo Bills quarterback Rayn Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Wake-up call

OK, it was not that long ago that Ryan Fitzpatrick was viewed as a franchise quarterback. While that may seem like a stretch, he was at least paid franchise-guy coin and the Buffalo Bills chose to give him a big extension and use the No. 3 pick in the 2011 on defensive lineman Marcel Dareus rather than quarterbacks Jake Locker, Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton - each of whom is now an NFL starter.

Well, fast forward to Monday, and Fitzpatrick was signed by the Tennessee Titans to be Locker's back-up, replacing veteran journeyman Matt Hasselbeck.

This message seems clear that now is the time for Locker to grab the steering wheel.

Fitzpatrick is 30, and threw for at least 3,000 yards and 23 TDs in each of the last three years. Locker will be 25 in June and played in 11 games last year, throwing for 2,176 yards with 10 TDs and 11 interceptions.

More importantly, each player is signed through the 2014 season - Fitzpatrick signed a two-year deal Monday; Locker's rookie deal was for four years. Yep, the future is now for the QB of the future for the Titans. Whether it's the veteran or the former first-rounder, well, that's up to those guys.

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This and that

- Congrats to the UTC Lady Mocs for getting an 11-seed. We had hoped they would have been placed a little closer than College Station, Texas, but here's saying that JMC likley did a good-sized fist pump since he can drive 90 minutes or so and watch Wes Moore's bunch against Nebraska. Congrats also to the Lady Vols for getting a No. 2 seed (condolences for being in Baylor's bracket, however - OUCH-standing).

- The NFL is looking to change its rules. Under the banner of increased safety, the NFL is proposing that it become a 15-yard penalty for running backs to lower their heads into contact once they get 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Not sure how we feel about this, but we feel like the constant rule changes eventually are going to change the game. Somehow this feels like the high-water-mark of football, no?

- Interesting story on Yahoo!Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/manny-ramirez-jr-looks-lot-dad-leading-img-171900655.html about Manny Ramirez Jr., a slugging outfielder that looks like just his old-man. If he does something goofy, do people shrug and say, "Ah, it's just lil Manny being a little Manny."

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Today's question

We're here. It's all happening.

OK, let's open this for the masses, and MCA, get on the mic my man.

Feel free to freestyle as freely as your style will allow.

If you need a starting point, we offer this. We're here: We're at the point that LeBron is the biggest star in sports. He is must-watch TV. Period.

We'll go one step further, and hey, it's been a while since we've heard from JordanRules, so we'll offer this question for any and all:

If there was an all-time NBA draft, guys around which you could build your franchise, we have LeBron No. 2 on the draft board behind Jordan. And the gap is a lot closer than most are willing to admit. Know this, to win their 23rd consecutive game, LeBron went for 37 points, eight boards and 12 assists at Boston, and his biggest contribution was switching to shut down Jeff Green in the fourth quarter as the Heat completed the comeback.

Discuss.