Photographs by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon (left) and forward Trey Thompson (right) watch the NCAA selection show, Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks will play Butler in Detroit on Friday
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
TBS blew it.
Their's was not a shining moment as the cable channel announced the 68 teams for the NCAA Tournament. It started with the sound being out of sync and got worse from there.
Yet, in the end it was all set with Oklahoma in and Middle Tennessee State out, and the critics had a grand time complaining and breaking down the field of this year's March Madness.
Just a few basketball thoughts before the games start tonight with two play-in games. Yes, the NCAA calls it the first four (two games tonight and two tomorrow), but the world knows better, although the St. Bonaventure-UCLA game could be a good one and the winner gets Florida on Thursday night in the main bracket.
First, a couple of things about Butler, the team Arkansas drew for the opening round. The Bulldogs were supposed to be a No. 9 seed, but because the Big East had two teams get a No. 1 and so many other conference teams on the eight or nine line, concessions had to be made.
Also don't make a lot out of Butler losing six of its last nine. Four of the losses were to tournament teams, including a loss to West No. 1 seed Xavier and two losses to East No. 1 Villanova. And Butler has never lost to a lower seeded team in the NCAA Tournament.
One of the challenges facing first-year coach LaVall Jordan may be keeping his team focused on the Razorbacks. The winner most likely will face Purdue, which beat the Bulldogs earlier in the season, and that subject came up at a Sunday night press conference.
At least three teams in the field are part of the FBI probe into college basketball: Auburn, Miami and North Carolina State.
Speaking of Auburn, the Tigers drew College of Charleston which has a roster with four seniors and five juniors, but the Cougars' schedule was very soft. The Tigers have lost four of six, and because of injuries and suspensions are down to seven scholarship players.
The Atlantic Coast Conference deservedly got nine teams in the Big Dance and the SEC was second with eight. The ACC seeds are 1, 2, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 9 and 11 (Syracuse who didn't deserve a bid) and the SEC's are, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8 and 9.
Only one SEC team has a legitimate complaint about its seeding and that's Kentucky, which won the SEC Tournament and got a No. 5 seed. Tennessee is deserving of a No. 3 and Auburn a No. 4, but the Wildcats have won seven of their last eight and five of those wins were against teams that made the NCAA Tournament.
Plus, the Wildcats were put in the South Regional where four of the top seven conference champions landed. And they got sent all the way to Boise, Idaho.
Incidentally, Boise can actually be nice this time of year, unlike Detroit where the high temperatures this week will be in the 30's.
SportsLine does computer simulations of all the games in the NCAA Tourament and claims to have picked 12 of the 17 upsets last year. It shows the East Region for free but to get all the picks it costs $9.99 for a month.
It had Butler beating Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin beating Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have lost five of their last seven games but three of those were to NCAA Tournament teams.
One oddsmaker has the Razorbacks 250-1 to win the national championship and Butler 300-1, but the Hogs are 50-1 to win the regional and the Bulldogs are 45-1. Villanova is favored, but the money maker would be Xavier which is 14-1.
The SEC has three teams in the East Regional, one in the Midwest and two each in the West and South. The team with the toughest first round game is probably No. 7 Texas A&M which drew No. 10 Providence in the West.
Sports on 03/13/2018
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