What an NCAA tournament it’s been so far, huh? With the Final 4 set, my bracket in complete shambles and Mizzou’s season ending as badly as it possibly could, I guess I have some college basketball to talk about.
First Mizzou. After a very promising start to the season, the Tigers went into a tailspin, going from 17-4 to 23-11. Their season ended by being bounced easily from both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. Then Coach Mike Anderson bolted for his old stomping grounds at Arkansas. While Anderson leaving is no big surprise, he has entertained offers each of the last 2 years and Arkansas is his home, the way it happened was one. Anderson said he was staying; then a few weeks later, he was gone. I, naïvely to be sure, thought that Anderson was a stand-up enough guy to at least make his intentions known. But no, he went from expected to sign an extension to new coach at Arkansas basically overnight. His departure clouds his whole tenure at Mizzou, leaving nothing but hurt feelings.
Also, people are now incredibly pessimistic about Missouri’s chances next year. This year ended with disappointment, but MU is losing one player to graduation (and possible a few to transfers). Plus, the core team is not bad. Kim English, Marcus Denmon and Lawrence Bowers are all very good players. Mike Dixon is pretty good and Ricardo Ratliff and Steve Moore can give quality minutes. Sure, they need a few good recruits, and to play much better than they did down the stretch, but this team is definitely good enough to make a tourney run. Mizzou just needs to find a good coach who actually wants to be there.
The Final 4 includes both an 8 and an 11 seed. That is great. While I am very grateful to VCU for knocking off Kansas, (I cannot think of a more disgusting end to the season than the Morris thugs cutting the nets) I think I’m rooting for Butler. I want to see them finish what they started last year. Either way, I’m going to be rooting for the winner of the Butler/VCU game in the final. I don’t really have anything against Kentucky or UConn, but I don’t like either one enough to root for them over the underdog.
Do you want to guess how many Final 4 teams I got in my bracket? None. How many eventual Final 4 teams did I have in the Sweet 16? None. How many of my Final 4 picks made the Sweet 16? 2. This year’s tournament was particularly wild, but I still picked the worst bracket I’ve ever filled out. It was embarrassingly bad. I think the two biggest problems are that there really were not any great teams this year and that the committee did an absolute terrible job seeding. Like K-State as a 5 seed and Texas A&M as a 7. They played in the same conference and Texas A&M actually had a better record, but they got a lower seed. It made no sense. I attempted to address these mistakes with my picks, but they did not pan out. And picking between most of those mediocre teams, which was every seed 4 and down, was a complete guessing game. Honestly though, I’m okay with my bracket being in ruins since the tournament has been so damn entertaining. I just wish TruTV got fewer games, because I did not get to watch any of them.