This is why The Monk is not a betting man: I honked three of the four games yesterday. I probably should have revised my picks once I heard Seth Davis parrot the same four teams I predicted would win on Thursday. Rule #1a in picking NCAA Tournament games = if you're picks are identical with Grant Wahl (Sports Illustrated), Seth Davis (SI) or Andy Katz (ESPN), you're screwed. Remember, Katz lost half his Final Four (Wake, Syracuse, Illinois, UNC) by last Saturday.
But kudos to Clark Kellogg for picking the Michigan State win over Duke. From the in-my-own-defense category, I noted that most of the games were toss-ups and that the only reason I picked Duke was that it SHOULD win as the allegedly better team that had already beaten MSU earlier in the season. That's a sweet win for Tom Izzo: his first against Duke and it lessens that pain from last year's 72-50 beatdown Duke put on MSU in MSU's backyard.
As for honking the NCSU and Utah picks, the key to the game is actually hitting some shots. Utah couldn't hit layups (the former Sean May Syndrome, it needs to be renamed b/c May learned how to hit his two-footers over last summer), NCSU couldn't hit Lake Erie from Niagara Falls.
I'm not sold on Kentucky or Wisconsin. I think both should lose tomorrow because Izzo has his Spartans playing well and because Wisco is playing UNC.
As for UNC: that's the mulligan. You get one s--t game per tournament if you're trying to win the NCAAs and that was it for the 'Heels. Villanova was undermanned, outgunned and outsized but if Allen Ray could hit ANYTHING, the Wildcats would be playing Wisco tomorrow. Great job by Jay Wright to get that team to play as well and as hard as it did. Kyle Lowry deserved all the kudos he received from the broadcast team, he and Randy Foye put on a great show. For the future, the Wildcats need to have Allen Ray get past his Shammond Williams Syndrome (the inability to hit a shot if your life depended upon it in a big game, see UNC's Final Four losses in '97 to Arizona and in '98 to Utah).
Three notes on the CBS broadcasting teams: (1) Len Elmore has been sharp in this Tournament, especially in the first and second-round games with Syracuse and Michigan State; he had another solid night with the Louisville-Washington game too; (2) Bill Raftery and Verne Lundquist completely honked the significance of Raymond Felton's fifth foul with 2.5 minutes left yesterday -- the Tar Heels' ensuing ball-handling and offensive troubles allowed Villanova to claw back from 64-56 down to within one point of the upset; (3) Dick Enberg needs to estimate distances less and just say "jumper": when a player takes a regular field goal attempt from the foul line, it's a 15-foot jumper because the foul line is 15 feet from the hoop; therefore, a foul-line jumper is not a "ten-footer" and a jumper in the lane 3-4 feet inside the foul line is not a "six-footer".