That sound you just heard was my bracket exploding into a million tiny pieces. After the first weekend. Which has NEVER happened to me. With all the basketball I watch and read about, I'm usually slightly more accurate (at least until the 2nd weekend). I mostly blame Mizzou and Florida State for totally falling short of expectations.
But in spite of all that, this tournament has already been everything I dreamed it would be.
We started Sunday with 68 teams and within 1 week, the field is cut to 16. It's how it's always been, but when you really stop to think about it, it always blows my mind. The days of games seem to take forever and yet when they're over, I always find myself thinking, "that's it?" Since I'm not going to analyze every game, here are some general thoughts:
~There were absolutely NO buzzer beaters. Not a single one. There were a couple of last-second shots TAKEN, but zero made. One of the writers I follow pointed that out and at first I said, "wait, what?!?" BUT IT'S TRUE! Hard to believe that in all the excitement of the weekend it never happened, but there you go.
~WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT DUKE!?!? To be fair, I never expected them to go out in the first round, but I KNEW they were getting bounced early!
~Baylor's uniforms: I keep reading all these things about how the team uniforms are a "fashion statement" and "bold"...But I think they're hideous (the uniforms, not the team). I can feel my retnas burning every time I look at them. I'm all for taking risks, but yuck.
~THE BIG TEN! At this time of the year, I usually root for the entire conference to do well--it validates the fact that there was a 3-way tie for the conference title and also why there were so many teams in the middle of the pack. We pretty much just beat up on each other for 2-3 months. To be real, the only team I DIDN'T think would get out of the first round was Purdue and it turned out to be Michigan. I know I'm supposed to laugh maniacally about that, because of the whole UM-MSU thing, but I honestly do wish they had won. Here's hoping the teams survive another game (or two). And speaking of Purdue...
~ROBBIE HUMMEL. Homeboy almost SINGLE-HANDEDLY beat Kansas. I'm sure all the aforementioned Big Ten teams were watching and thinking, "welcome to our world, Jayhawks." That loss was heartbreaking for the Boilers, so I'd like to offer 2 totally different perspectives when it comes to this young man:
1.) As a fan of basketball, he will be missed. Good kid, hard worker, came back from incredible adversity, great player, etc. He's everything you would want in a collegiate player and he can leave knowing he left a positive mark on the program, the fans and the sport in general. I'm sure Purdue will celebrate him for years to come.
2.) As a person who's watched him light up her team a million times, I say...PEACE OUT! Good luck, good riddance, LEAVE US ALONE! There are a select group of players I was THRILLED to see graduate after 4 years: Dee Brown at Illinois, Tyler Hansborough at UNC, J.J. Reddick at Duke and Dallas Lauderdale at Ohio State (the last one not so much because he torched my team or was constantly discussed by the media, but because I SWEAR he was there for like 7 years and no one EVER MENTIONED IT. Also, I'm pretty sure he was 43 years old. I never did see a birth certificate....But I disgress). Robbie Hummel is on that list.
~Jae Crowder is a beast. That's pretty much all I have to say about that.
~I picked Witchita State over VCU in the first round. Total mistake. We should all know by now not to pick against the almight SHAKA! But I will say I'm proud of the Hoosiers for coming back and winning that second round game. Well done!
~My father laughed at me when I told him to pick Colorado over UNLV. My thinking was that UNLV was on a 5-game losing streak and not playing well, while Colorado had a solid record and just won the Pac-12 tournament. We debated this for awhile and he thought I was nuts. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?!?!
~Unfortunately, my father and I ALSO spent a great deal of time discussing my choice to pick Belmont over Georgetown and THEN to put Belmont in the Sweet 16. He also thought that was crazy...but it turned out he listened to me. And I was REALLY wrong. Sorry, Dad. :(
~SPARTANS!!!!! Of course I was going to mention it. DRAYMOND GREEN'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE! A GRINDING WIN OVER ST. LOUIS! A MATCH-UP WITH LOUISVILLE! I'm excited and terrified and stressed out all at once. And really, that's all I can say for now.