Tourney Update or why your picks sucked
They weren't supposed to be here
Little Big Bang Theory
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
March 20, 2006
Yahoo! Sports Exclusive
As catcalls, cackles and crow descend upon Billy Packer this week, the CBS broadcaster's counter argument is that the goal of an analyst is to get people talking, and Packer certainly did with his opinion that most mid-major teams were unworthy of NCAA tournament bids.
That would be fine if Packer had just offered a strong comment that, unlucky for him, turned out wrong. But Packer's mistake was the basis for his take, which was ill-thought, illogical and illegitimate in the face of the changed tide of college hoops.
To anyone paying attention to anything but a couple of power leagues, the fact that five of the Sweet 16 come from outside the Big Six conferences is no surprise at all.
This isn't to suggest that on average the big leagues don't play the best ball. But to argue they have cornered the market is to be out of touch with reality.
While few, if any, could have selected the quadfecta of Bradley, George Mason, Gonzaga and Wichita State advancing to the tourney's second weekend, let alone the bonus ball of zero Big Ten teams making it, this was certainly possible.
Provocative opinions are great – and far too rare on all-smiles, no-substance CBS – but dumb ones are just dumb.
We are hoping Packer has to call the George Mason-Wichita State game, and as a service to him, we offer seven reasons why he is having the worst week ever (at least since CBS tried to convince ESPN to let it "borrow" Dick Vitale) and why mid-majors teams are more viable than ever before.
1. Early entry
In 1995, the year high schooler Kevin Garnett became the first player in two decades to bypass college and directly enter the NBA draft, the average seed of the Sweet 16 teams was 3.2. (The lowest possible number – that is, if the top-four seeds in each regional advanced – is 2.5.)
This year's number: 4.4. It's a statistically significant increase that occurred despite the rare advancement of all four No. 1 seeds and Gonzaga as a three seed.
Garnett and the 4.4 average are not unrelated. Top recruits going directly to the pros (or leaving early, sometimes after just one season) is a trend that revved up considerably after Garnett's trend-setting decision. Those players, elite prep stars or superstar underclassmen, almost exclusively affect the traditional power teams that attract such talent.
Do you think Ohio State loses in the second round if it had a junior named LeBron James? How is Arkansas with Al Jefferson and Olu Famutini? How about North Carolina with four missing seniors?
At Wichita State, almost no one goes pro early. And the Shockers don't even bother recruiting the prom-to-the-pros guys.
The result is a closing of the talent gap, as fewer and fewer big-name teams have that ultra-talented player who can carry them through the tournament.
Here are the overall Yahoo picks leaders
Here are our group leaders
News Blog 2
News Blog 3
News Blog 4
DeeLuzon of Grandeur is our overall leader with 50 points, but that is far from a lock. The Sweet 16 can be perilous.
The games start Thursday at 7:10 PM EST on CBS and Sirius Radio
And as a reminder, our prize structure is:
$100 gift certificate to Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble to the winner
$75 gift certificate to Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble to second place
$50 gift certificate to Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble to third place overall winner
$25 gift certificate to Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble to the group winner who didn't win an overall prize (one prize per person:))
A t-shirt from a liberal blogger site to the group winner runner up
Ties will be determined by who has the winning teams and closest to final score in the championship game.
posted by Steve @ 2:16:00 AM