NCAA Sweet 16: So, How Are Your Brackets Looking?

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ashley judd2.jpg
There's still a chance I sit courtside next to Ashley Judd at the Final Four
As we prepare for the Sweet 16, here are some of the things we learned from the first weekend of games of the NCAA Tournament:

1. Maybe Seth Greenberg's supporters should have been bitching about too many schools from the Big East getting into the tournament instead of whining about the likes of VCU and UAB. After all, VCU is playing this weekend, whereas nine of the 11 teams from the mighty Big East have already lost.

2. There's a reason that the Big East is called the Big Least. Georgetown found a way to lose to VCU, a team many so-called experts didn't think deserved to be in the tournament, and a team which first had to win a play-in first round game. Pittsburgh failed once again, Notre Dame basketball is about as relevant when it counts as Notre Dame football, and don't even get me started on Louisville.

3. Last week, in my post on filling out your bracket, I said the most important tip was to not follow my advice because I always found a way to screw up. I hope you listened, because my bracket cratered at the time Louisville found a way to lose.

4. How about those Longhorns? They managed to fail in the clutch, when things really mattered. Bitch about the officiating all you want, but the fault really needs to go to head coach Rick Barnes, who, once again, oversaw a complete, late-season collapse.

5. At least Kansas found a way to make it out of the first weekend this season. I still expect them to screw up a bunch of brackets somewhere because that's what Kansas does. Well, that's what Kansas does when I pick them to make the Final Four, which I didn't this year.

6. Hey, Kentucky's still in it. This means there's still a chance I can stalk see Ashley Judd courtside at the Final Four. It also means that, since John Calipari is the head coach, if they make the Final Four, come five years from now, a Kentucky trip to the 2011 Final Four will be wiped from the record books, just as the Final Four trips of every Calipari-coached team have been wiped from the books because of multiple NCAA violations.

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Shouldn't that logo read "Big Least"?
7. I don't know about you, but I'm really pulling for a Final Four consisting of Butler, VCU, San Diego State and Marquette. Talk about glamour. Except for Marquette, they're nothing but teams from mid-major conferences with no national following. It would also mean a Final Four that would thankfully keep us from being bombarded by Jim Nantz odes to the greatness of Coach K and Roy Williams. But hey, at least the Big Least would still have one team left in the tourney.

8. No Horns, no Aggies, and the possibility of a team with no national following making the Final Four must have the Houston event brain trust breaking out in a panic -- not to mention all of the people hoping to get rich by scalping their upper deck seats.

9. Enjoy these four days of games on the television this week as much as you can, because after this, instead of the likes of Gus Johnson, who actually seems to give a damn about the games, you'll be stuck having to watch CBS's so-called number one team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg do the Final Four games. I've yet to understand how someone with absolutely no personality or feel for a sporting event not involving Tiger Woods like Nantz has risen to the top of the broadcasting ranks. Hell, at least Joe Buck has a smarmy, better-than-you attitude he can toss out there. Nantz seems to think the goal is to put everyone to sleep.

10. It's going to be interesting to see how Duke does in the West Regional this weekend, especially as seeing how the Dukies got to play all of their West Regional games in North Carolina last week. Maybe their flopping won't go over as well with the officials on the West Coast or without a home court advantage. Though, I've got to admit, it's always fun to watch the normally cynical national media fall over themselves trying to kiss Coach K's ass.

11. And Louisville, you're joining my list, with Kansas, as teams I will no longer pick in the tournament. Which means, with the ways things go for me, that come next year, the championship game will consist of Louisville versus Kansas.

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