By Edju Martin
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, the Meathead Top 10 is 10 quick hits on whatever is on my mind, and sometimes 10 quick hits on a particular event. Today we’re going to do a MT10 on the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
#1 And speaking of openings, calling the First Four the 1st Round and the round of 64 the 2nd Round is bullshit. Those games in Dayton aren’t the 1st Round any more than I’m Ron Jeremy. If you want to call them official tournament games (even though by and large the players who play in them don’t feel like they are), be my guest, but call them what they are, the Play-in Round. If you really want to be charitable, call it the Opening Round like the single game in Dayton was billed before the First Four came along. Just don’t insult our intelligence and call it the 1st Round, while anyone in the CBS studio not named Greg Gumbel wasn’t even getting it right – they were all calling it the way it should be.
#2 The crybabies are already out in full force yelling about Wichita State not deserving a #1 seed, they were never any good, etc. In the history of Division 1 NCAA basketball, here’s the list of teams that were 35-0 at any point in the season:
2013-2014 Wichita State
That’s it, that’s the entire list. Will they be remembered as an all-time great team? No, to ne you have to win a title to be an all-time legendary team. All of that is irrelevant to whether or not they deserved a #1 seed. Tournament results do not validate or invalidate a team’s tournament seed. WSU earned their #1 and that’s pretty much that.
#3 So the mighty ACC, overlords of all they see in the basketball world as viewed through the blue-tinted glasses of Coach K, have exactly as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West conferences do. Duke, meanwhile, was eliminated before the representatives of the Southland, Ivy League, West Coast, Summit, and Atlantic Sun conferences (Mercer helping to make the A-Sun 3-2 in the last two tournaments). The bottom line is that everyone needs to shut the fuck up about the name of the conference and the name on the jersey and concentrate on the resumes of the teams involved.
#4 And to take one more potshot at Duke, in two of the the past three seasons they’ve gone one and done at the hands of Mercer(!) and Lehigh(!!) sandwiched around a regional final loss to Louisville. If you’re someone that enjoys watching Duke humiliation (I’m looking at you, Drew Curtis of FARK.com), it’s been quite the spell for you recently.
#5 I’m probably one of the few that cares or is truly excited to see the tournament in Madison Square Garden, but that’s fine with me. MSG has a rich, rich basketball tradition, and to see them get regional games (you know they aren’t getting the Final Four since they’re not a giant dome built for football) is a nice touch by the NCAA.
#6 All of my Final Four teams survived the opening weekend, something that I don’t think has happened since 1996, when I was 17 – and I’m not exaggerating. That year if Cincinnati had beaten Mississippi State in the Elite Eight I would have pegged the Final Four correctly. I did have UMass, Kentucky, and Syracuse there (and MSU) in the Elite Eight. The moral of the story is that I’ve progressively gotten dumber over the years.
#7 The near-annual Sweet 16 game between lower seeds this year is #11 Dayton vs #10 Stanford, and is there anyone out there outside of Palo Alto rooting for the Cardinal? There’s something special about the team that can pull off two upsets as a double-digit seed, but Stanford is definitely a have amongst the basketball hierarchy, and Dayton is decidely not. Either team likely gets smoked against Florida (and probably loses to UCLA if they upset the Gators), but a deep run for Dayton would be more fun than one for Stanford. And screw Tennessee, they beat a wildly overseeded UMass team and Mercer.
#8 Lost in the hoopla of Kentucky taking down Wichita State is how this sets up a battle for Bluegrass State supremacy right next door to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Sweet 16 war between Kentucky and Louisville. Calipari vs Pitino. In a 70,000 seat stadium. Within driving distance of both schools. May a higher power be with law enforcement that night.
#9 Charles Barkley should not be allowed to pursue any other career other than being a panelist on sports studio shows. There’s no way on this earth that Barkley watched more than three college games before the tournament, and still he kills it each and every time he appears on camera, and having Kenny Smith involved just ups his game. Let Barkley do other sports (NFL halftime, anyone?) and watch your retention of viewers balloon.
#10 Finally, I wonder if anyone notices that A. the national semifinals are not on CBS, and B. they will be on TBS, TNT, AND TruTV. From sportsillustrated.cnn.com:
So what’s the deal for the national semifinals on April 5?
For starters, TBS will televise both national semifinal games, the first time in tournament history the semifinal games will be televised on a cable network. But here’s an even bigger nod toward the cable side of the partnership: The semifinals will air across three cable networks this year — TBS, TNT and truTV. TBS will air the traditional Final Four broadcast — aiming for neutrality — with Nantz, Anthony and Kerr. But here’s where it gets interesting: The telecasts on TNT and truTV will be team-specific broadcasts where a separate play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter (Turner and CBS will start negotiating with potential broadcasters after the Sweet 16) will be encouraged to call the game with as much homerism as their pom-poms can muster. The “Teamcast” productions will have separate production crews, a custom halftime show, and custom graphics and stats geared toward each team. Commercials will be the same for all three telecasts. The title game will air on CBS two nights later.
I like this idea – we’re talking about sports, not war coverage. If you don’t like the homer broadcasts, the solution is simple: don’t watch them. If you cry about this when the traditional “neutral” broadcast is available, you’re a douchebag.
See you guys soon!