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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crazy Sweet 16

Knowing nothing about this year's March Madness men's "bracket" turns out not to be much different from being an "expert." Eight of the final 16 teams have been determined, and check out their seeds:

Washington - 11
St. Mary's - 10
Northern Iowa - 9
Tennessee - 6
Butler - 5
Baylor - 3
Kansas State - 2
Kentucky - 1

If the seedings had been right, nobody up there would be a larger number than a 4.

Comments (5)

How about that kid on Northern Iowa? His name is Ali Farokhmanesh and he was born in Pullman, Washington.

Kansas was pressing so hard North Iowa could barely advance the ball over half court.

Then when it was absolute crunch time, Ali shoots up a 3 with over 30 seconds left on the shot clock and drains it.

That was remarkable. Not Hoosiers last-second remarkable but remarkable in its own way. How do you have the courage to try that and not wait for the clock to force you to shoot?

It also marked the first time I bagged the TV game and watched a game on the computer. Not bad.

There was a 7-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock at that point, and he had been 0-for-6 from three-point territory in the second half. But they left him wide open, and he showed real guts.

I listened to the second half on the car radio, which wasn't bad, either. Whoever the guy is who called the play-by-play over there was really first-rate.

They always use the phrase "dagger three." Now, that was a dagger three!

It was extra-devastating because it didn't make sense. In some parts of Iowa, it would have been second-guessed harshly for the rest of the players' lives: "We had 'em. We were ahead, time was running out, then dummy here fired off a 3 with over 30 seconds left on the shot clock."

Yes, the guy was wide open, but even being wide open can lead to big problems with the nerves - especially as the team appeared to be folding under pressure with more turnovers than a pastry shop.

But this young man said, "I've got this" and launched. It was a classic case of, "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."

And along the way, the mighty Jayhawks fell. Unbelievable. We've all heard of Iowa, and Iowa State, but Northern Iowa? The Panthers? Does Iowa even have panthers?

That could be the most memorable upset, at least until something crazy happens today. But there is no doubt that it was one of the great dagger threes ever.

Games not over yet but under 3 minutes and 21 point differential, so number 12 seed Cornell will be in the Sweet 16 too. I'd love to see the Big Red take out Kentucky for a number of reasons.

and don't forget that St. Mary's is carrying the honor of the WCC into the sweet 16 . . .

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