I’m not MNW, but I did sit through Bill Walton last night...
I almost threw in a “Did Turtle lose his race to Beaver?” in the subhead, but I realize that’s a pretty obscure reference:
Oregon State and Georgetown took away a couple of team’s bids last night. Everybody says the Michigan State Spartans are safe, but are we really going to pretend there’s no chance the committee looks at Sparty’s NET (70!) and the lack of a road win over a tournament team and says: “Yeah, fuck it, we really don’t want to deal with Boeheim whining again”?
Have the Illinois Fighting Illini passed the Michigan Wolverines? Probably.
Are the Iowa Hawkeyes and Ohio State Buckeyes destined to be placed in Baylor’s and Gonzaga’s regionals, or is there a chance that the committee will stick with the S-Curve? Iowa/Baylor makes for a great stylistic contrast. OSU/Gonzaga just looks like the sort of matchup where Gonzaga craps out in the sweet 16.
If the Purdue Boilermakers are a 4/5, how much are Boiler84a.1, Boiler84b.6, and Boiler 84b.9(c.503, subsection 72, clause 9) willing to pay to get put in Baylor’s regional? Or are you feeling your oats and hoping the committee sticks you with a wounded Michigan? Or did you watch the WCC title game and you want Gonzaga?
The Wisconsin Badgers will answer the question of what the committee prioritized this year. Lunardi says 6; Palm 9. That’s a lot of variance. In your heart of hearts, you KNOW UW has what it takes to fuck up Houston, Alabama, or Arkansas (or even Baylor) if they make the second round. But, well, some memories are still scarred by Marshall Strickland in 2013 and Payton Pritchard in 2019, and the likelihood of a first-round exit is a fresh as UW’s most recent FG drought (i.e., 9 of the last 10 minutes of basketball they’ve played).
Is everybody sleeping on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights? Why, yes. In part, no doubt, because Rutgers makes everybody sleepy, what with the UW-ish tempo mixed with the absence of a hated player like Davison (give Mulcahy another year...gotta work up to it), but they’re about to break a 30 year drought. CONGRATULATIONS! If Geo Baker rediscovers his end-of-shot clock form and Myles Johnson decides to throw a block party, what’s their best scenario? I say 10-seed opposite Clemson and second round war with Houston.
The Maryland Terrapins are in (Right? We’ve all agreed to just ignore going 0-2 against non-tournament teams the last week of the season?) Mark Turgeon and Darryl Morsell are mad (not without cause). But I’m running out of steam. Has losing 3 of their last 4 only made them likelier to be taken lightly? Any chance they miss the tournament entirely? Most years, 16-13/9-11 is getting you a play-in game at best. If their name is called, what’s the Turg-iest outcome? Lose by 30? Lose on buzzer-beater after blowing 15 point lead? Make Elite 8 as 11-seed?
MSU is addressed above. The NCAA will have to let us know how much they care about their NET tool. If MSU were 40 in the NET, with their quality wins, they’re a 10 seed at worst. Given that Colgate is currently #9 in NET without playing a Quad 1 game (seriously, let’s maximize chaos: Go Loyola (MD)!), Sparty should feel pretty good.
It’s almost time. If you’re a mid-major fan, time to go read up on Drake, Colorado State, Saint Louis, etc. so that you can drop specific names to emphasize you outrage if/when they are left out in favor of L’ville/Syracuse/Ole Miss.
In the meantime, if you’re a fan of the sweet science at all, you owe it to yourself—and to the memory of Marvelous Marvin Hagler—to watch the best round in boxing history: