There is a silver lining in a plundered bracket in the year 2010, and it's this -- with the advent of Twitter, you immediately get reaction to the various buzzer-beaters, bracket-busters, and inexplicable gaffes that make up the first few days of the tournament (and there were plenty). So whereas before you had no outlet, no release to take out frustrations, now you get to immediately commiserate with others that feel braindead for hitching their wagon to Georgetown's star, celebrate with fellow Northern Iowa backers, and take the justified heat from listeners for touting the chops of the Big East conference. Like me.
My only saving grace right now? I'm not a Texas fan. Good Lord, make a free throw.
(With the advent of Twitter, and on a "Follow Friday," I would also highly, highly recommend that those of you on Twitter follow @DRUNKHULK. Just trust me.)
Above all else, during March Madness on Twitter, you stand the slight chance of getting off the charts comedy like this:
"My bracket looks like Edward James Olmos's face." -- from @jamesmthomson on Twitter
And after the way Day One went for me, I needed a good chuckle. For those who don't know, Olmos is an actor best known for various random roles in shows like Battlestar Galactica and Miami Vice, and in his equally random role as Lorraine Bracco's husband in real life for several years. He's also known for having a face that looks like the topographic map in your fifth grade social studies class.
Put it this way, if your bracket looks like Olmos' face (or Seth Davis' neck, as a subsequent Twitterer @mlednicky observed), it's not a good thing. To sum up the first day, if you decided to back the Big East this March, which was very tempting given not only the overall strength of the conference, but also the now laughable respect they were given by the selection committee, you've probably got an Olmos Bracket right now.
If, for some reason, you're a backer of the following one bid conferences:
Missouri Valley Conference (Northern Iowa)
Mid American Conference (14 seed Ohio)
Horizon League (Butler, who has Final Four sleeper written all over them now)
Ohio Valley (13 seed Murray State, Butler's second round opponent)
Colonial Athletic Conference (11 seed Old Dominion)
...then you are probably Olmos-free at the moment.
Yes, all five of those conferences sent teams to the second round, with Robert Morris (Northeast Conference, if you need them) taking Villanova to the brink of elimination before Dick Bavetta and Earl Hebner kidnapped the assigned referees at the last TV timeout and decided to blow the whistle every time a Robert Morris player so much as thought about Scottie Reynolds.
(And as I type this, go ahead and add the Ivy League to the list of one-bid leagues moving on in the dance as the Fighting Narddogs of Cornell just obliterated Temple [and everyone's bracket except Jay Bilas']. Yeah, all in all, a very normal first day and change of March Madness.)
Before I get back to my game watching, I want to thank the Big East for single-handedly Olmos-ing my bracket. Notre Dame managed to pull off the double dip of breaking off a small twig of my bracket (had them losing to Baylor in the second round, so no major dismantling done) and eliminating any alma mater rooting interest I may have had in the tournament before
1:30 p.m. the first day. Uh, yeah...sweet.
The Irish-inflicted damage wasn't nearly as destructive as Marquette's (coughed up a 15-point second-half lead to blow the game and the cover) and Georgetown's (manhandled virtually wire to wire by 14th-seeded Ohio, who like U of H, had no designs on even being in the tournament until about a week ago) -- I had them in my Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, respectively.
Thankfully, Villanova and West Virginia survived Round One (I have both in the Final Four), but this tournament is unfolding like a compelling season of 24 for Big East backers -- you know how the undercard terrorists spend the first eight hours of the season throwing jabs, and you know that the inevitable nuclear haymaker is sitting, waiting to be unleashed around Hour 18 or so. Put it this way, it would not surprise me if Gredenko and Fayed are waiting for 'Nova and WVU in the Regionals somewhere. (Old school 24 fans get it.)
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So thanks a lot, Big East. Way to show up on opening day. You're making me feel like Tony Soprano, coming home after a long day only to find out A.J. got kicked out of school again or was caught smoking weed in the garage. "I bust my hump all day, writin' 4,000 words, pickin' you for da Final Four, tellin' everyone how great you are, sweatin', bleedin', and for WHA'?!?! SO I CAN COME HOME TO GEORGETOWN AND MARQUETTE FUCKING UP MY BRACKETS?!?!" (Creative point of procedure...this is the part where I'd reach over and slap Buzz Williams in the mouth and then Carmela would proceed to defend him even though she knows he's wrong. So go ahead, and imagine me slapping Buzz Williams....almost makes me feel better imagining it.)
Final point, speaking of Marquette -- heading into last night's games, Marquette over Washington minus 1.5 was my favorite play of the day. Big East sleeper against Pac-10 pretender, loved the value of the play, I was going to clean up. We know how that went. Now, the second round begins tomorrow, and the 11th-seeded Huskies are FAVORED by 1.5 over THIRD-SEEDED New Mexico. And you know what? I love Washington in this spot. So in a
matter of 18 hours, I've gone from hating a team so much I fired my biggest play on them to loving them enough as an ELEVEN SEED to cover against a THREE SEED...AS A FAVORITE.
They don't call it March Madness for nothin'.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the
Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.