March Madness of Another Kind

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In the East, watch out for Kentucky and Michigan; in the  Midwest, Michigan State is a lock.  Over in the South, I like Cal’s chances and in the West, well, if pressed, I’d say Baylor, who last won the championship in, is due, but don’t count Texas out just yet. The last time one of these teams won a National Championship was back in 2008, when two speedy tacticians, Jacob Polin and Michael Burshteyn smoked the field.  The tandem of Spurlock and Muppala aim to bring back the glory.

Yes, it’s March madness, but not that one in Houston.  I’m talking about the one in Binghamton.  Haven’t you heard?  The 2016 National Debate Tournament.  And it looks to be a good one.  I actually don’t know which teams will ultimately compete, but most of the schools listed have teams that were issued first round at large bids which means they qualified for the tournament. Last year, Northwestern took the prize, as they’ve done quite often over the past few decades, but this year, they will face stiff competition from the likes of Harvard, Michigan State, Kansas, Georgetown, Emory and Vermont.  Yes, Vermont feels the Bern, or I should say the Brough and Lee.

Kansas, Baylor, Michigan St., Kentucky, Cal, Texas, Gonzaga, Iowa, Oklahoma, Weber St., Indiana, USC,  and Michigan all have teams in the NCAA tournament and most will also have delegations competing at the NDT.  Wouldn’t it be something if a school brought home two nationals championships during March Madness?  And it could happen.  My prediction:  Michigan State.

2015 March Madness Sweet 16 Fun Factoids and Matchups

Updated 3/25/2015

From the cluttered Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, here are some fun factoids about the 2015 NCAA Sweet 16 and some intriguing matchups to consider for the Final Four and Finals.

  • 5 of the 16 teams or 31% are from the ACC:  Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, Duke and UNC.
  • There could be an all ACC final four: UNC (West), Duke (South), Notre Dame (Midwest) and either NC State (East) or Lousiville (East)
  • If UNC, Duke and NC St. make it to the Final Four, there’d be three North Carolina teams from the ACC.
  • All NC Final: UNC v Duke, UNC v NC State
  • All people mascots/nicknames Final Four: Sooners (East), Fighting Irish (Midwest), Musketeers (East), Utes (South)
  • PAC 12 Final: Arizona v. Utah or Arizona v. UCLA
  • Big 12 Final: Oklahoma v. West Virginia
  • 7 of UCLA’s 11 losses this year were to Sweet 16 teams including a loss to Gonzaga by 13 and a 39 point loss to Kentucky.
  • 7 of North Carolina’s 11 losses this year were also to Sweet 16 teams including a 14 point loss to Kentucky.
  • Utah went 0-2 against Arizona and was 1-1 against UCLA.
  • 2 of Duke’s 4 losses were to Notre Dame.
  • Michigan State lost to Wisconsin twice, including an overtime loss by 11 points.
  • Oklahoma lost to Wisconsin earlier in the season and went 1-1 against West Virginia.
  • 6 of Louisville’s 8 losses were to Sweet 16 teams including going 1-2 against North Carolina and losing to NC State in their only meeting during the year.
  • Two ACC teams face off in the Sweet 16:  Louisville and NC State
  • ACC Finals:  ND v Duke, ND v Lou, ND v NC St; UNC v Duke, UNC v Lou, UNC v NC St
  • Underdogs Final Four: UCLA (11), North Carolina State (8), Wichita State (7), Xavier Musketeers (6)
  • Underdog Final:  UCLA v Wichita State
  • Straight Final Four – 1234:  Kentucky (1), Gonzaga (2), Oklahoma (3), North Carolina (4)
  • Straight Final Four – 4567:  Louisville (4), Utah (5), Xavier Musketeers (6), Wichita State (7)
  • Two Pairs Final Four – Duke (1) Wisconsin (1) Michigan State (7) Wichita State (7)
  • Number of players on Kentucky’s Roster from Kentucky: 3
  • Number of players on West Virginia’s Roster from West Virginia: 4
  • Homegrown talent: North Carolina – 9 players on roster from NC
  • Importers:  Arizona – 9 players from California
  • Gonzaga has two 7-1 players and 5 players from 4 different countries: Canada, Poland, Lithuania, Brazil

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.

2011 NCAA BB Mascot Challenge

The East:  Kentucky and North Carolina.  A tar-heel versus a Wildcat.  No contest here.  A tar heel is a sitting duck for a Wildcat.   Kentucky advances.

The West: UConn v. Arizona.  A big cat versus a big dog.  A western wildcat will cower and slink away when faced with the fierce fangs of a growling canine.  Now if we were talking about the Connecticut College Camels, I might go with Arizona.  Camels can be a little sluggish.  UConn advances.

The Southeast: Florida v. Butler.  A gator versus a bulldog is an interesting match up.  Unless the dog threatens a mother gator’s nest of babies, the gator is not likely to go after a pug- nosed slobbering fireplug.  I’ve seen a Youtube video of a domestic cat keeping an alligator at bay.  Butler advances.

Southwest:  VCU v. Kansas.  I think a Jayhawk would drive a Ram crazy, harrassing it until the RAM gores it with its horns.  VCU advances.

Final Four: VCU, Butler, UConn, Kentucky.  Ram beats Bulldog; Husky beats Wildcat.

Championship Game: Headline – Husky bites Ram’s leg.  Ram limps off yelping in pain.  UConn wins title.

Elite 8 Mascots Set for Battle

100px-ul_cardinal_head_logoThere were two upsets last night.  The Cardinals of Louisville waylaid the unsuspecting Arizona Wildcats in a game reminiscent of the bird attacks in Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds.   And The Gonzaga Bulldogs must have got stuck in a tar pit as they struggled to take a bite out of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

In the other two games, the results were as expected.  The resourceful Sooners prevailed over the timid Orange.   The Orange looked more like the Kool-Aid man than the Orangemen.  And the military stratagem employed by the Spartans downed the Jayhawks, who squawked a great deal but could not walk the walk, turning the ball over 19 times.

And for the next two days, the Elite 8 will battle it out and by Sunday, the Final 4 will emerge.  Will there be 3 Big East teams; will the Big 12 have two representatives?  Here are my predictions based on mascot power.  The power ratings 1-16 precede the team:

Saturday’s Matchups

1 Missouri vs 4 UConn.  This should be a good game.  The mascots are somewhat evenly matched.  The Tigers have the edge, but a pack of Huskies should not be taken lightly.

3 Pitt Panthers vs 7 Villanova Wildcats.   If the Arizona Wildcats couldn’t handle a bird, it’s doubtful a Wildcat from Philly can handle a Panther.

Sunday’s Matchups

5 Michigan State Spartans vs 15 Louisville Cardinals.  The Birds are well fed after their Wildcat feast and may have trouble getting off the ground.  The Spartans won’t  need a trebuchet – a couple of spears should do.

13 Oklahoma Sooners vs 14 UNC Tar Heels.  The Boomer Sooners should smoke the Tar Heels.

Final Four:  Sooners, Panthers, Tigers and Spartans.

Who do you favor?