5-at-10: More bracket discussion, ACC turmoil, is the women’s game better than men’s hoops?

Virginia guard Isaac McKneely (11) controls the ball against Colorado State's Josiah Strong during the first half of a First Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
Virginia guard Isaac McKneely (11) controls the ball against Colorado State's Josiah Strong during the first half of a First Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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Bracket racket, Wednesday edition

So Virginia stinks.

On toast, and out loud.

(Side question: When did the SEC pass the ACC in basketball skills? Maybe it does just mean more. Or cost more. Or whatever more, but if Virginia was an above-average ACC team — and let's not even mention what the state of Louisville is currently — then the ACC is gross.)

But Virginia stinking is not overly important I suppose. They were in a first-four play-date.

Now, we are getting ever closer to the Thursday craziness, and the Virginia talking point this morning centers on this:

The basketball selection committee makes the CFP committee look like a collection of Harvard MDs discussing cancer research.

Egad. Virginia was a clown show.

Look at the seeds and the placement, and know this simple fact:

In the last 24 years, 17 NCAA men's tournament champions were ranked in the top 12 of offensive and defensive efficiency according to the KenPom stats.

There are only two teams this season that can check each of those boxes.

One is defending national champ UConn. The other is Auburn. Those teams could meet in the Sweet 16. In Boston no less, where a very pro-Huskies crowd awaits.

Yikes. (Shocker: Alabama's AD is on the selection committee. Or maybe the NCAA just decided that, "Hey, we still hate Bruce Pearl because of that cookout and his Pinocchio routine.)

As for our bracket breakdown today, we'll start here by reminding everyone of the Last-In, First 1 Out Challenge.

It is simple. Pick the double-digit crew that will last the longest in the draw — and yes, if all the double digit seeds are done, say Sunday, time matters — and the first No. 1 seed that will be excused from the Dance.

For the rest of the bracket talk, let's look at the teams that are over-seeded, shall we? I think we shall.

Kansas is a wreck waiting to happen. They are banged up, and they seem offensively indifferent.

Purdue is tough to truly support. Yes, the big man is a handful, but what happens with foul trouble? Purdue and Iowa's women are amazingly similar, no?

Can we trust any ACC team at this point, whether it is fourth-seeded Duke or top-seeded UNC?

Speaking of ACC issues

So a few months after FSU took the ACC to task for media rights and perceived disparities in payouts, Clemson now is doing the same.

The ACC's two perennial football powerhouses are not pleased and are looking for at best more money and at worst for the league, alternatives.

Imagine this ACC without Clemson or FSU. Is that even a power five option in the new football dynamic?

I don't think so, even with the flirtation with Notre Dame.

And if the basketball continues to slide — see above, because the ACC is no better than the fourth conference in the sport right now behind the Big 12, the SEC, and the Big East — what then.

Where are we?

To make matters worse, this will not be the last prominent ACC member to explore other options.

And in that Yahoo story, the future earning projections for the Big Ten and the SEC compared to even the ACC and the Big 12 — close to $10 million per school in CFP deals and almost double in TV money — make it clear.

College sports is about to be a Power Two, the Other Two and everyone else.

Yep, expansion was all about inclusion and fairness, right?

Speaking of tournament basketball

So Shaq said something outrageous.

Shocking, right?

Shaquille O'Neal said he's only watching the women's tournament this year because it's a better game.

Is he right?

Granted, Shaq will be required to walk this back at least a touch since he is, you know, employed by Turner Sports and they have paid big money to show March Madness.

But is Shaq right?

We bemoan the state of college sports, but the men's game feels like it is in a more enjoyable place than it has been in quite a while.

Is that me, because Auburn is actually relevant in college hoops?

Or do you agree with Shaq?


This and that

— How's your NIT bracket after the first day of games?

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Chattanooga's Boo Carter already getting prime reps on defense and in the return game for the UT Vols. If Boo can stay out of Boo's way moving forward, he's going to be a dude, friends.

— At this pace Shohei Ohtani is going to hit .400 and drive in 162 runs as the Dodgers will go undefeated. Good times. Side note: It was very enjoyable to get up and turn the TV in the kitchen on some real MLB as I was making everyone's breakfast and lunch. More morning sports please.

— Picks split. Again. Man, we are treading water lately.

— The 5-at-10 Princess had her first middle school game of the season Tuesday. Pitched 4 innings. Struck out 10. Nice start.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which team will the Dodgers beat in the World Series since they are clearly going 162-0.

Which sports should embrace the early morning window that is clearly there.

Which conference will FSU and Clemson join when they leave the ACC?

Which team in the bracket is the most over-ranked?

Answer some Which Ways, ask some Which Ways.

As for today, March 20, let's look around.

On this day in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published.

Rushmore of uncles and be creative.

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