NCAA Tourney, Day 1: The Non-Upset Upset

Today’s zen meditation: when the only upset 3/4 of the way through the first day of play is the one upset everyone was predicting, is it really an upset? (Not to mention that at least one 12 seed has won a game in 23 of the last 24 tournaments, so statistics were even on VCU’s side.)

I delayed and delayed and delayed putting up the post in hopes that March Madness would break out, but despite some close games (and one burgeoning conspiracy theory involving Syracuse), the surprise of this tournament has been the lack of surprise.

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The Ladies… Bracket Brawl Commences!

Let’s see, Louisville, Florida State, Missouri … was there any major conference tournament where the 1 seed came out on top?  And are those results foreshadowing another chaotic NCAA tournament, or just a sign of the top teams saving their best efforts for a national championship run?

You tell us, because the Ladies…Bracket Brawl is back!  Just join our Tournament Challenge group (the password is ladiesdotdotdot) and see if you can be the first reader in three years to come out on top.  The Ladies are just playing for bragging rights; our readers are playing for their very own guest post.  Of course you have to win first.  And to win you have to enter a bracket before the games begin on Thursday, March 15.* Just click the link and get started!

*The First Four play-in games, which take place earlier in the week, aren’t included in the brackets. Sorry, that’s just how ESPN sets it up.

Bracket Brawl Prep: In Search of An Underdog


h/t Will Leitch

It is nearly time for the NCAA tournament, and by extension, the Ladies… Bracket Brawl (look for a sign up post late Sunday).  Since my alma mater is on year three of Absolute Hopelessness Where Men’s Basketball Is Concerned*, I like to spend conference tourney week selecting underdogs to root for come March Madness Thursday.  I keep hoping that one of these years I’ll pin my hopes on an underdog that  becomes a true Cinderella, but as of yet, I always bank on teams of the play-valiantly-but-lose-the-first-weekend variety.  So join me on my quest to find this year’s VCU, won’t you?

*It’s a real thing.  And extra painful when, immediately before the onset of said Hopelessness, you had Blake Griffin.

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Hit and Run: You Suck, Albert

Guess who was SO excited to snag Albert Pujols on her fantasy team (in large part because one of the “people” drafting in front of her was Lady Bee’s dog, Daisy, but that’s another story) only to see him have one of his worst season starts ever?

Albert himself doesn’t seem worried and he has historically broken out of his slumps in spectacular fashion, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of being patient.  However, given my excellent record of jinxing things I write about on this blog let’s just try this:

Albert Pujols is so bad right now, you guys.  I think maybe he’s finally over the hill.  Or maybe the pressure of his contract year is getting to him.  Whatever the case, I don’t see him breaking out of this slump any time soon.

Moving on to things which don’t directly affect any of my teams (which usually nullifies any jinxes or reverse jinxes)….

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Ladies… Linkups: With Added Opening Weekend Smugness (just a little)

Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins battling the Huskies' Kelly Faris (Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

How can a weekend recovering from the flu be your best weekend ever? When you spend it on the couch with your hubby diamond surfing through the MLB Extra Innings free preview. Yankees game only on at 5? Let’s see how the Pirates are doing in Chicago! Painful to watch? Let’s see how Melky Cabrera looks in baby blues! Wait, can we go back to Texas again? Because that was awesome.

Honestly, I’d get nothing done if I had the baseball package for my dish.

Anyway, it’s another busy Monday. Here are some quick links to get you through the day:

Tonight: UConn. Butler. No, none of us picked these guys in the Championship. But kudos to unofficial winner CuteSports! [NCAA]

Tomorrow night, Notre Dame faces Texas A&M for the women’s basketball title. Skylar Diggins had 28 points last night as her Fightin’ Irish downed the Connecticut Huskies 72-63, ending their run for a third straight championship. [ESPN]

When is a story about pants awesome? When they are these pants! Yes, the Norwegians are BACK! By the way, Canada is 3-and-0 at the Men’s World Curling Championship in Regina. [Globe and Mail]

You guys, Aramis Ramirez needs a hug. [Onion Sports Network]

Guess who’s first in the AL East as of this afternoon? The Orioles! Guess who’s last? Here’s a hint. I’m told THEY’RE THE BEST TEAM ON PAPER!! [It's early.]

Move away from the panic button and have an excellent week!

VCU vs Butler

So admit it – your brackets are just as screwed up as mine are. Yeah, I know. Lots of upsets, lots of overtime, lots of surprises. But two of the bigger surprises came from the 8th seeded Butler and the young and admirable  Brad Stevens, and 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth (Virginia where?) with their fearless leader – Shaka Smart.  I was almost positive that the earlier Saturday game of this coming weekend would be Pitt vs. Kansas, especially when I was in 1000th place out of millions with ESPN’s bracket challenge after the first round and a half.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Thankfully, these two gentlemen make it very easy to feel good about rooting for the underdogs, and also make one of these final games very easy on the eyes.  Let’s take a side-by-side look at our favorite hottie NCAA BBall coaches  - one of them is guaranteed to be in the Championship Game, so regardless of Saturday’s results, which one wins Ladies… choice?

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Hit and Run: With Spring in our Step

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Here's Marquette, whose victory over Syracuse last night made me cry. (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s Monday. How are your brackets looking? Like hell? Thought so.

First of all, a warm welcome to our special guest Ladies… Bracket Brawl participants: Melissa_thistle, Courknee35, Big10Bias and fellow Canuck/friend of the blog Andrew Bucholtz (you will go read his blog The 55-Yard Line now, won’t you?) Our current leader isn’t in our Ladies… group – due to technical difficulties, we had to create another group on ESPN.com so one gal could get her picks in. That gal is Buffalita, leading the pack with 460 points and picking Ohio State to win it all. CuteSports and Raven round out the Top 3 at 440 and 430 points respectively. Any hopes I had of repeating last year’s surprise success have been flushed down the proverbial toilet. I blame Butler.

Best of luck heading into Thursday! Sweet Sixteen will be hopefully be sweet for some of you.

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