Monday, March 21, 2016

Tourney Day Four

Hey Everyone,

I'm tired, and I didn't play any basketball games this weekend. We left the children to their own devices as much as possible as we watched the games. I've never really binge-watched a Netflix show, but I would guess the mixture of fatigue, regret, and vain accomplishment is similar to what one might feel after 3 seasons of your favorite show in one weekend. Mild guilt at a sedentary weekend aside, this was one of the best opening weekends I remember, and I've been following the tournament pretty closely since being allowed to stay up late to watch Louisville-Duke in 1986.

  • Hyperbole is the most overused convention in the history of carbon-based life forms, but Texas A&M did something last night against the University of Northern Iowa that had literally never been done before. Seth Davis has a history of calling wins on Twitter by saying "Sharpie"; the comeback by the Aggies led to his first ever "White-out." 
  • Texas A&M scored 6 field goals in the last 40 SECONDS, scoring 14 points and erasing a 12-point deficit. To put that in perspective, they hit 6 field goals in the first half en route to 22 points (in 20 MINUTES). This game has become the best argument I've seen yet that college athletes really are normal college students
  • Wisconsin won on a buzzer-beater that would have been the highlight of the night if not for Northern Iowa. You probably won't remember it next year, like you forgot about Sisters last year.
  • I'm increasingly convinced Clark Kellogg is communicating in code in a way normal mortals can't understand. His use of quotation marks alone makes me suspicious that there's more going on than we're aware of. 
  • Kellogg, on Villanova's blowout of Iowa, said "In our house, we call that a woodshed, whether it's Word Streak or Words With Friends." Um ,OK. There's not even a vague mention of basketball there. At all. But let's dig deeper
    •  'Woodshed' would have a base score of 15 in Words With Friends (16 in Scrabble). 
    • Depending on your luck with double/triple letter and word tiles, adjacent letters, and on whether you played all your tiles for 'woodshed' (bingo!), you could possible score 54, 33, or 87, which were Villanova's 1st half, 2nd half, and final scores, respectively. This is Kellogg at his best. Subtle, but with depth that rewards effort.
  • Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff and Northern Iowa's Paul Jesperson were the most important players on their respective teams this tournament. Little known fact: each of their schools had a distinct recruiting advantage because people with the last names Uthoff and Jesperson are only allowed to live in Iowa, Nebraska, and Utah.
  • Stephen F. Austin vs. Notre Dame was a wire-to-wire treat. Neither team ever led by more than 7 points. It came down to a put-back with a second left on the clock. Really: look at the "Game Flow" graphic on this page. But again, no one will remember that game next year.
  • Powerade can't be that successful a company if they've only shot that one D. Rose commercial, right? 
  • VCU vs. Oklahoma was played with greater pace than the final score suggested. VCU is still fun to watch, even though they replaced Shaka Smart with Will Wade, the guy from every Enterprise commercial for the last 10 years.
  • The ACC is dominating this tournament. Louisville would have been in it, too, if not for some minor indiscretions. The league is 12-1, comprising 3/8 of the remaining field. That's pretty good math, even for amateur athletics.

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