I’m sure to get some Michigan State folks ticked that I wrote on ESPN.com that the predetermination system is flawed. And some peoples will say, “Louisville won at LSU, so it’s just tough for Duke and Auburn that they couldn’t manage to win on the road.” And others will say, “Just SHUT UP about predetermination and home-court advantage.”
So I’ve said what I think about that (more than once), and now it’s time to move on to the Sweet 16, where No. 1 Oklahoma gets to be in Oklahoma City and No. 2 Stanford gets to be in Berkeley, both of which are a lot like home, if not actually their home courts.
No. 1 Maryland is at least in familiar territory in Raleigh (though when playing N.C. State, the Terps are at Reynolds Coliseum, not the RBC Center, where the regional games are). And No. 1 UConn could be playing on Neptune, for all the difference it would make. As it is, the Huskies are in Trenton, N.J., where they should be just as dominant as they would be anywhere else.
Cal and Arizona State lose the time-zone game going east, while Ohio State and Michigan State lose it going west. But at this point, they are all so happy to be playing that nobody cares. There’s at least one male coach left in every region except Oklahoma City, so that old conspiracy theory can’t be dredged up.
Pity the UConn media contingent in Trenton that will endeavor to catch everything that Geno Auriemma says AND every word out of Gary Blair, too – that’s an embarrassment of riches.
Baylor will be in Raleigh _ along with Maryland, Vanderbilt and Louisville _ bringing along harrowing tales of surviving fearsome Rabbits. Bummed as the South Dakota State faithful surely are after losing on a last-second shot to Baylor, the Jackrabbits should be proud of themselves. Really proud.
They proved without a doubt they were better than their No. 7 seed and that they belong right there with the teams from “big” conferences. Let’s hope some really big-time programs have the gumption to go play in Brookings in the coming seasons.
It is a “historic” Sweet 16, because for the first time since the NCAA tournament started in 1982, Tennessee will not be involved. Ball State’s first-round victory over Tennessee sent the Orange Crush home to Knoxville, where they went back to the salt mines practice.
My good pal from college days and longtime women’s hoops fan, Mike Holtzclaw, loves doing lists. I’m convinced were he on the operating table, he’d be creating a top-10 list in his head of the funniest fictional names for doctors.
Mike is a longtime sports writer who now does all kinds of things for the web site of the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., including making a lot of lists. He’s made several women’s hoops lists to crack me up over the years. They were rather arcane at times, which made me laugh all the more.
Once, several years ago, Mike did the “Top 10 things that really, really bug Kate Starbird,” which included, “Sleepless nights wondering if vanity plate should read STARBRD or STRBIRD.”
Back in 1996, Mike was doing a story on the Tennessee women. And he had a good laugh telling Pat Summitt over the phone, to start the interview, that he was just calling to check in on his “cousin” Chamique. Since you can’t tell any difference between “Holtzclaw” and “Holdsclaw” when you say them, we thought it was pretty hilarious. Summitt paused for just a second … and thought it was funny, too.
Anyhow, in honor of Tennessee being so incredibly good for so long, Mike offers his “tribute” to the Orange Crush not being in the Sweet 16 …
Top 10 ways Pat Summitt is spending her unexpected time off:
9. Breaking down Ball State game film one frame at a time – we’re two minutes into the first half right now.
8. Knocking down several walls in home. (Not doing any remodeling. Just knocking down walls.)
7. Let’s just say the flower beds don’t usually look this good until about mid-April.
6. Breaking open that DVD boxed set she got for Christmas and hoping “The White Shadow” was as good as she remembers.
5. Making a “Legends of the Lady Vols” topiary maze – if she pulls an all-nighter, she might finish Daedra Charles by daybreak.
4. Cursing the whole concept of a Top 10 list, since that Letterman jerk went to you-know-what university.
2. Haven’t decided yet, but catatonia is a leading candidate.
1. Alphabetical tour of Ben & Jerry’s – passing through Cherry Garcia, and Chunky Monkey is coming up on the horizon.