Hope your weekend was enjoyable. The 5-at-10 forgot how rough the time change is - we're lacking some sleep back at the ranch.
Anyhoo, here we go...
'We promise we didn't just pick names out of a hat'
The NCAA selection committee has been the easy target of ridicule since the bracket was released. Jay Bilas even said the guys that picked and seeded the field of 68 didn't know a basketball was round. Ouch.
This year's tournament field is beyond puzzling. VCU, USC, UGA and UAB got in; Colorado, Harvard, Virginia Tech and Alabama didn't. (Maybe the selection committee likes acronyms?)
Truth is, take the alphabet four out and go back to 64 for that matter and it's doubtful this tournament is missing anything.
The 5-at-10 spends little time on the debates of who's wrongly in and who's wrongly out. Almost every college basketball team (save teams in the Ivy League, although Harvard was in a one-game play-in Saturday this year) is technically in the NCAA tournament - it's just called conference tournaments. Want to make sure your name's called Sunday night? Win the conference tournament. Period.
No, the real faults of this year's selection committee can be found in the seeding. What happened to the "S" curve, and how did supposed overall No. 1 Ohio State draw the top No. 2 in UNC and arguably the top Nos. 3 and 4 in Syracuse and Kentucky? TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer breaks it down excellently here.
Florida's a No. 2? Whatever. Texas and Kentucky are No. 4s? Holy Pick and Roll, there's no way. Belmont and Utah State each won 30 games and each is a 12 seed or higher? Wow.
Which brings us to...
Odds are you'll enjoy the 5-at-10 Bracket Overrated/Underrated
Most of you will be filling out a bracket - for entertainment purposes only, of course. The 5-at-10 also will have a bracket (we're going to post here it later this week).
The odds of filling out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are amazing. Dig on this:
According to Forbes.com and a gambling website, after the play-in games there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets.
- That number is so great, that let's say Bill Gates had $9 billion and spent it all on NCAA tournament pools at a $1 a bracket. You would need a billion Bill Gates (yes, BILLION, with a 'B') willing to spend all of their $9 billion fortunes to cover all the possibilities;
- If every human being on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be greater than 1 billion-to-1 (yes, BILLION, with a 'B') against anyone having a perfect bracket.
- For those of you doing multiple brackets, well, if you want to try and cover all the angles, if you could fill out a bracket every second it would only take take 292 trillion (yes, TRILLION with a 'T') years to cover all the possible brackets.
- Say you wanted some help, and got, oh, every person on the planet involved and everyone busted it and filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to cover all the possible brackets.
- If all possible brackets were stacked on top of each other (on standard paper), the pile would reach from the moon and back over 1.1 million times. It would go from here to the sun more than 6,000 times. It would stack the height of Mt. Everest 19.5 million times.
How you like your chances now? Yeah, the 5-at-10 feels pretty good, too.
Anyhoo, here's our pitch: In a sports world that is desperate to rate everything - he's great or he's terrible, great pick or awful pick, five stars or three stars, etc. - let's break it down to two teams: The most overrated and underrated teams in the Dance.
Overrated = The first No. 1 seed to go home.
Underrated = The last team seeded No. 9-or-higher to still be playing.
Rules: Pick two teams, one that you think is the most overrated tournament team and one that you think is the most underrated. Maximum number of points is seven in the underrated category - one each for the possible number of wins for teams that play in the play-in games - and it's six for the overrated picks - a point for each empty step at which step the No. 1 seed falls (first-round would be six, second round is five, Sweet 16 is three, Elite Eight is two, Final Four is one). Perfect score is 13. Good luck.
Stakes: The cost to you is nothing; possible prizes could be announced later, but know that the pride of winning the first annual 5-at-10 Bracket Over/Under is unmatched this side of Nobel and/or Pulitzer prizes (that may be a touch of a stretch, but still).
Braves report, Volume 1, Chapter 1
Now that the tournament has been announced, the Atlanta Braves will have a more prominent spot here until the end of spring training.
Let's start broad: How can you not be thrilled Johnny Braves Fan? Chipper Jones appears healthy (and is hitting). Nate McLouth is having fun (and is hitting). Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman is relaxed (and is hitting). New left fielder Martin Prado looks comfortable in the grass (and is hitting).
Plus Jair Jurrjens was solid Sunday, and that is huge for this club this season as Atlanta prepares for a season-long battle against the pitching-rich Phillies in the NL East. We'll have more on this Tuesday.
Eldrick shows signs
The golfer formerly known as Tiger Woods shot a 66 on Sunday. He smiled and laughed as he moved from early-morning starter into the top 10. He hit a lot of greens and made a few putts - of the five 10-plus-footers he made this weekend, two were on the back nine Sunday. It was reason to believe, right?
"Oh yeah," Woods said when asked about whether his game is moving to a point where he can contend next month at Augusta.
Easy, Eldrick, easy.
Woods became a Tiger by winning from the front, not moving into the top 10 before the TV cameras light up on Sunday. Hey, a 66 is great - the 5-at-10 could shoot 66, but then we'd have to play the final five holes, Thank you, Thank you - but Eldrick has not been Tiger in a lot golfing ways in the last 18 months. High among those differences has been Woods' shaky play under pressure.
And a 66 in a Sunday round that starts before the leaders eat lunch does not address that concern.
This and that
- The 5-at-10 is excited to watch the women's selection show tonight and see how/where/when the possible showdown of the UT Lady Vols and UConn could be. The feud/silence between the nation's top women's programs and coaches will be a drama tapestry that hangs over the field and the 5-at-10 is giddy about it.
- Hold on NBA update... Kevin Love's mind-boggling streak of 53 consecutive games with double figures in points and rebounds ended Sunday when he finished with six points and 12 rebounds. A huge stat in that record-setting run: Love's Minnesota Timberwolves were 13-40 in those games. Gross. ... More NBA news... The Miami Heat cried after a regular-season loss. No, this is not new news, but it's paramount that we don't forget this.
- Basketball coaches John Pelphrey and Paul Hewitt were fired from Arkansas and Georgia Tech over the weekend. Hard to argue against either of these calls, especially since Arkansas and Tech were power players in the SEC and the ACC respectively not that long ago. This year, each was more or less an after thought.
- Four Auburn football players were kicked off the football team last Friday for several criminal charges stemming from a robbery attempt. Another - Eric Smith - was dismissed earlier this winter. Commentary and jokes aside - Who knew the program would completely mirror those championship-winning teams of the Miami Hurricanes in the 1980s? - the Tigers now appear truly low on numbers. As many as 27 players either left early for the draft/expired eligibility from last year's national champion team. Now with the dismissals, the Tigers have lost an estimated 32 scholarship players from last year's team.
- Growing weary of non-stop attention from rabid college football fans in Columbus, Ohio, apparently ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit moved to Nashville to get away from a crazy college football atmosphere. No offense intended Johnny Vandy Fan.