Odd Facts and Weird Final Four Matchups

From the Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, here are some fascinating and theoretically possible matchups for the Final Four as of 8:26 pm March 19, 2015, after half of the first day second round games, plus some odd and interesting facts.  Were you aware that an Anteater and a Badger could face off in the Finals? Stranger things have, well, never happened!

  • 3 Strange animals and a Lumberjack:  UC Irvine Anteaters (East), Wisconsin Badgers (West), Cincinnati Bearcats (Midwest), Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (South)
  • 4 Birds: Eastern Washington Eagles (South), Kansas Jayhawks (Midwest), Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (West), Louisville Cardinals (East)
  • 3 Bulldogs and a Terrier:  Butler (MW), Gonzaga (South), Georgia (East), Wofford (West)
  • Historical Reenactment:  Michigan State Spartans (East), Valparaiso Crusaders (MW), Ok State Cowboys (West) and Robert Morris Colonials (South)
  • All Wildcat Final: Arizona (W), Davidson (South), Kentucky (MW), Villanova (East)
  • Strange Fact:  Indiana has 5 teams in the tournament and all are in the Midwest Bracket:  Purdue, Butler, Valparaiso, Indiana and Notre Dame.
  • Another oddity:  Texas started with 5 teams and is down to just one, Stephen F. Austin.  SMU, Baylor, Texas and Texas Southern all lost on Thursday, March 19.

2015 NCAA Selection Committee Suffering From March Madness

Well the field of 68 has been whittled down to 66, with two games left in the first round, also called the First Four.  As I look at the brackets, I see something a bit odd.  Some of the second round games, which will be the first games for 60 of the teams, will be played in cities that are not located in the region they represent.  For example, some second round games for the West Region are held in Jacksonville, Florida, which, to my thinking is more South or East than West.  About the only place near the U.S. where one would have to travel West to get to Jacksonville would be the island nation of Bermuda.

Another example is Omaha, NE, which hosts a second round Sub Regional game in the West.  Ok, Nebraska is more Westerly than Jacksonville, but it feels more middle western to me.  Oddly, Omaha also hosts a Midwest Sub Regional game.  How is that fair?  When did Nebraska become a basketball mecca?  It doesn’t even have a team in the tournament.  No, Creighton (Barrel) did not make the cut this year.  Somebody in NE knows someone with powerful NCAA connections.

Looking at the South Regional, we have more of this March Madness shenanigans in play.  Seattle, WA and Portland, OR play host to South Sub Regional games.  I was not a Geography major in college, but from what I can remember, the only place that can call Seattle South is Canada.  I suppose Portland was approved because it is South of Seattle.

And because of these geographic fails on the part of the NCAA tournament logistics committee, some teams have a clear home court advantage in Sub Regionals that were not earned.  Let’s look at the “West” games being played in Jacksonville, Florida.   Wofford, out of Spartanburg, SC, the 12th seed, practically has a home game against 5th seeded Arkansas, and were they to win, would have a slight home court advantage over 3rd seeded UNC.  Wisconsin sent to the West Region got the least respect having to play in Omaha, a good 7 hour drive from Madison.  All the other 1 seeds get second round games in their home state and Villanova, plays just 30 minutes from campus in Philly.

A couple of Texas teams – Stephen F. Austin (12) and SMU (6) have smooth sailing back to Texas if they advance to Houston for virtual home court advantage – both Dallas and Nacogdoches are only a few hours from Houston.  And of course all of the Indiana teams (how did they get 5 in?) could advance to Indianapolis.  There must be some big wigs on the NCAA committee from the Hoosier state.  I mean really, how did Indiana even get an invitation with 13 losses?  And Valparaiso, isn’t that a city in Chile? Come on, and they didn’t play a single ranked team all year.  And if you think Butler has a chance of advancing very far, well I think you are delusional or put another way, suffering from an acute case of March madness.  And to demonstrate that I too may not be quite right in the head, here’s my prediction:  Cat v. Dog – Villanova Wildcats (1) v. Wofford Terriers (12) with the Wildcats winning it on a buzzer beater, 45-44.  You watch.

2014 Sweet 16 Tournament Geography and Stuff

From the sports desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, here are some more interesting facts about the Sweet 16 teams as they head into action tonight.

  • Number of teams from states that do not border any other states with teams left in the tournament: 2 – Texas, Connecticut
  • # of private universities: 4 – Stanford, Louisville, Dayton and Baylor
  • Games between border states: 1 – Arizona v. San Diego State
  • Games between private universities: 1 – Stanford v. Dayton
  • Game of lowest seeds: Stanford (10) v. Dayton (11)
  • 1 v. 4 games: 3 – VA (1) v. Michigan St. (4); FL (1) v. UCLA (4); AZ (1) v. San Diego St. (4)
  • Number of states with teams in the the Sweet 16 that Kentucky borders: 3 – Tennessee, Ohio (Dayton), VA

I know, BORING, so let the games begin.

And then there were 16

Well, with only 9 of the 16 teams left in the 2014 NCAA tournament, a 9 I’ll call the Devine 9, my bracket is busted, but of the Devine 9, I have 3 of them going on to the final four and my championship game and champion are still intact.  I have the Florida Gators taking down the Louisville Cardinals.  So, what to make of this year’s Sweet 16?  Here’s a little breakdown:

  • 16 teams, 13 states
  • Most teams from a state:  3 – CA (SD State, Stanford, UCLA); 2 – MI (Michigan, Michigan State); KY (Kentucky and Louisville)
  • 2013 Final Four teams not in the Sweet 16: 2 – Wichita State and Syracuse
  • 2013 Final Four teams in the Sweet 16: 2 – Louisville (last year’s champion) and Michigan
  • Number of teams left from the Deep South (defined as LA, MS, AL, GA, SC): 0
  • Seeds:  1 – (3); 2 – (2); 3 – (1); 4 – (4); 5 – (0); 6 – (1); 7 – (1); 8 – (1); 9 (0); 10 – (1); 11 – (2)
  • Final Four of Four Seeds:  San Diego State, UCLA, Louisville, Michigan State
  • In State Matchup:  Kentucky (8) v. Louisville (4)
  • Conference Matchups in the Sweet 16: 0
  • 9 of the 16 teams from 3 conferences:  SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12
  • Teams with nicknames that refer to people:  4 – Virginia Cavaliers, San Diego State Aztecs, Michigan State Spartans, Dayton Flyers
  • Wildcats: 2 – Arizona, Kentucky
  • Bears: 2 – UCLA (Bruins), Baylor
  • Birds: 2 – Louisville Cardinals, Stanford Cardinal
  • Cinderella Final Four:  Dayton (11), UCONN (7), Tennessee (11), Baylor (6)
  • Favorites Final Four:  Florida (1), VA (1), AZ (1), MI (2)

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned for more maddening facts.





The Artificially Sweet Elite 8 Brought To You By Coke Zero

So it’s down to the Elite 8.  Last year I wrote that the Elite 8 ain’t all that greight, but this year, that ain’t still true.  The Elite 8 could be called the Great 8.  And because the tournament is sponsored by Coke Zero, they technically could be called the artificially Sweet 8.

  • So who’s left?  Louisville, Duke, (As Falls Wichita, so Falls) Wichita State, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Syracuse and Marquette.  So we have a Cardinal, a Blue Devil, a Shocker, a Buckeye, a Wolverine, a Gator, an Orange and a Golden Eagle.  That would be two birds, a fruit, a nut, a grain, a cartoon character, a weasel and a reptile.  If I were a betting man, my “money” would be on the Alligator.  And they may just have the best team in the tournament, the Florida Gators, that is.
  • Florida would have the home court advantage in Atlanta and would be the only team left in the field that has played and won a game in Georgia this season – v. Georgia 64-47.  And Florida has held opponents to exactly 47 points five times all in wins.  Florida has held opponents to under 47 points 7 times.
  • We could have an all bordering states final four:  Louisville (Kentucky), Ohio State, Michigan, and Marquette (Wisconsin).
  • There are some interesting rematches in the Elite 8. Syracuse lost @Marquette earlier in the year 74-71.  In November, Duke beat Louisville @Louisville, 76-71.
  • The 3 and 4 seeds emerged from the South and the East Regions.  Florida (3) v. Michigan (4) and Marquette (3) v. Syracuse (4).
  • All of the teams have been to the Final Four at least once and all except Wichita State have won at least one National Championship.

Fun Final Four Picks for 2012

These are all possible, though admittedly improbable final four matchups organized by themes.  Happy March Madness to all College Hoop Fans.

All SEC: Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama

Mitt:  Michigan State, Indiana, Texas, Temple

Selective: Harvard, Davidson, Duke, Georgetown

All North Carolina: North Carolina, Duke, NC Asheville, Davidson

All Catholic: St. Bonaventure, Xavier, Marquette, St. Mary’s

All Birds: Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Temple Owls, Louisville Cardinals, Lehigh Mountain Hawks

All Cats: Kansas State Wildcats, Kentucky Wildcats, BYU Cougars, Ohio Bobcats

Weird Mascots: Wichita State WuShock (a stalk of wheat), Syracuse Orange (the fruit), Purdue Boilermakers, St. Louis Billikens (no one is sure what a Billiken is, but the mascot looks to me like a cross between Buster and Binky from the PBS cartoon, Arthur.)

States Dems or GOP Need to Win: Ohio, Texas, Florida, Indiana

Fewest Electoral Votes: New Mexico (5), Georgetown, DC (3), Montana (3), South Dakota St. (3)

All C States: Creighton, Connecticut, Colorado St., Cincinnati