Sunday, March 26, 2006

No 1 anymore

For the first time since 1980, which was the second-ever NCAA Tournament with seeding so the process was not too refined, there is no #1 seed in the Final Four. The last one fell when Villanova stank up the gym with a sub-25% FG shooting performance against Florida.

So how does The Monk look now after honking all of his Final Four picks? Probably not too much worse than a lot of folks. After all, few people picked Florida after its last five years of stinkbombs; Gonzaga was the fashion pick in the West, with Memphis as the second favorite; and LSU is probably the most frequently chosen Final Four pick by bracket players of the four who made it. After all, who other than GMU loyalists and maybe the coach's wife thought GMU would be there?

Funnily enough, GMU had probably the most impressive run through the Tourney: beating two Final Four teams from last season, winning four games against higher seeded teams, and knocking off everyone's pre-season #1, which was one of the two best teams in college hoops all year.

So what can you take from this season's tournament? Yeah, I know my predictions stank, but few people did anything approximating a good job on this. This Tourney therefore goes in the group mulligan bin with the 2000 Tournament that featured two #8 seeds in the Final Four.

More observations: (1) LSU is the sixth straight team to beat Duke in the Sweet 16 and advance to the Final Four (Indiana '87; Florida '00; Indiana '02; Kansas '03; Michigan State '05), and the fourth one in the last seven tourneys to do so as a lower seed. (2) Remember that information I gave you from that noted that seven of the last eight Final Four teams had been in top 10 in offensive efficiency that season? Throw it out. This year only Florida qualifies. Three of the four teams are in the top 10 in defensive efficiency, and GMU is #15. (3) She's not, but Jeanne Tripplehorn looks like she could be Joachim Noah's momma -- just look at the eye separation on their faces.

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