Monday, March 26, 2007

4 for Four

Boo-yah! The Monk picked the whole Final Four!

Number of SI "experts" who did the same, none.

Number of CBS Sportsline experts who did the same, none.

And of the ESPN experts listed here, only one picked all four Final Four teams.

Maybe the right picks were harder than I thought.

Last year was the no-clue bracket for The Monk. Usually there are dominant college basketball teams that are at least reasonable bets to reach the last weekend, or else there's a weak #1 seed that should not be (2001 and 2004 Stanford; 1996 Purdue). Each top team had a major flaw (Duke = no muscle, Villanova = too small, UConn = poor character, Memphis = untested). Even the four who reached the Final Four were decidedly underwhelming.

This season, there have been dominant teams in college hoops who lacked the fatal flaws of the top teams from last year. When the brackets came out (after getting past the no-Syracuse shock; yes, that's the same Syracuse that is the only team to beat East Regional champ Georgetown since the second week of January), The Monk saw only eight reasonably possible Final Four teams: Kansas, UCLA, Florida, Georgetown, UNC, OSU, A&M and Memphis. Anyone other than Florida from the Midwest would have been a major shock because that bracket stank like a Mississippi bordello. UCLA got The Monk's nod over KU because the West regional final was in California and UCLA is THE California college hoops team. OSU got the nod over A&M despite the San Antonio location of the Final Eight because The Monk still had nagging doubts about the ability of A&M to get that deep and because OSU's offensive and defensive efficiency numbers compared favorably to A&M. Georgetown got the nod over UNC because (a) The Monk incorrectly thought Texas would make the Final Eight and G'town would win, and (b) even if UNC made it past Texas, The Monk doubted that three #1 seeds would reach the Final Four. I've made fortuitous mistakes like that before (in 1991, I picked Alabama to upset Arkansas and based on that picked KU to reach the Final Four; 'Bama got whupped by 23 but KU dropped Arkansas and I ended up picking the whole Final Four).

So The Monk is not a complete dope anymore! I'm feeling a lot better now than at this time last year.

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