My March Madness Teams I Hate and Love

Even though I do a bracket every year, I still have certain rooting interests that override my wanting to be right. I always root for the upset unless the game involves Kentucky or any other teams I love. I have teams I will always cheer for and teams I will always cheer against. Here is a short breakdown of those teams:

Teams I Hate:

Duke – I really can’t remember if it all started with the Laettner shot or before, but I can’t stand Duke, Coach K or anything related to the team. I want them to lose every game they play. I picked them to win this year, but I would love for them to lose the first weekend.

UNC – The dislike here isn’t as strong as the Duke hate, but I’m really tired of dadgum Roy and the Tar Heels. I hate that they got away with players taking fake classes. I hate their dumb light blue uniforms. I hate the hype the Duke/UNC rivalry gets.

Louisville – The annoying little brother who won’t go away, but also embarrasses you by getting caught with prostitutes. I think I hate them more than Duke. They are less hateable with Pitino gone, but I still hate them. I don’t know how other Kentucky fans cheer for Louisville. They are our biggest rival. You can’t cheer for your rival.

Kansas – There’s just something about Bill Self that makes Kansas easy to hate. I don’t think I hated them when dadgum Roy was there, but I do now. I can’t really explain this one.

Syracuse – I’m not a Boeheim fan. I always pick them to lose early and they always win more than expected. Stop making me look dumb!

Cincinnati – I used to live outside the city and work in the city. I liked living and working there. I never liked the team. I liked Huggy Bear, but I really don’t like Cronin. He’s a terrible person an builds a team with his personality.

Tennessee – Stupid orange team full of floppers. They flop more than the floppiest of Duke teams. I hate floppers. Stupid floppers.

Teams I Love 

Kentucky – Obvious one here. I grew up in Kentucky. I went to UK. I attended every game while there. I knew some of the players. I attended father/son camp there with my son. I will always do what I can to plan my life around watching Kentucky basketball.

Murray State – a small Kentucky school with a chance to surprise people and win a couple of games. I always cheer for Kentucky teams unless they are Louisville.

Northern Kentucky – I lived down the street from NKU for a couple of years. I did my grad school classes via a UK extension program at NKU. I will always cheer for them.

Anyone playing the teams I hate – The above three are all I have in the tournament this year. WKU didn’t make it. Morehead didn’t make it. I really only love Kentucky teams that aren’t Louisville. I get more teams to love by loving any team playing against the teams I hate. It’s just as fun to have someone to cheer against as it is to have someone to cheer for.

So, my tournament cheering is focused on upsets, Kentucky teams that aren’t Louisville and any team playing Duke, UNC, Kansas, Syracuse, Cincy, and Tennessee. It’s always interesting to see which ones I hate more once they play each other and I figure out who I want to lose the game.

Now, let the games begin!

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Tater’s Picks of Madness

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! March Madness! I finally got smart and took Thursday afternoon off to watch the games. Friday is my normal day off, so I have two full days of basketball with no pesky job to get in the way. I do have to work on Saturday, so I run the risk of being at work during a UK game. I love March Madness. Now, on to my picks. This year I did not pretend to know anything about basketball. I went through the bracket, chose winners on instinct, changed a couple that I didn’t like and then left it alone. Here is the result.

Upsets:

1st round: Yale over LSU, Murray State over Marquette, UC Irvine over Kansas State, St Mary’s over Villanova, Seton Hall over Wofford

2nd Round: Miss. State over VA Tech, Buffalo over Texas Tech, UC Irvine over Wisconsin(Badgers? We don’t need no stinking Badgers), Cincy over Tennessee, Auburn over Kansas

Final Eight: Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Michigan, Virginia, Purdue, UNC, UK

Final Four: Duke, Florida St, Purdue, UK

Championship: Duke over UK. I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that..

I also did a homer bracket with UK winning.

Pick the exact opposite of this and you will win your pool

March Madness Has Arrived

At the end of this post I will give my upset and final four picks. Before that, though, I have some thoughts on some tweaks I would like to see made to the tournament, especially selection of teams.

  1. The play in games should not involve small conference champions. These teams have already had their play in game. It was called the conference tournament championship. They already earned their spot in the field of 64. The teams playing in the play in games should all be at-large teams. Make the last teams in play for their spot, not teams that already earned that spot.
  2. Stop rewarding mediocrity. No one should be in the field if they have a losing record in their conference. Why are teams like Oklahoma(losing conference record, lost 8 of their last 10 games) in the field while teams with better records are left out? Why are any mediocre power conference teams selected while better mid majors are left out? If you really want the tournament to be the best 68 teams then send the best teams.
  3. Understand your fans.  I know you think a matchup of big Kentucky vs little Kentucky school will add to the drama, but all that does is give us one less game to care about. We would watch and cheer for the little Kentucky team against anyone else and still watch and cheer for Kentucky. If you match them up, we will watch and complain about you messing up our chance to cheer for our underdog. Luckily, UK is not playing Murray State this year, but I’m sure if I looked I could find a matchup that has divided loyalties.
  4. Go back to the old selection show. The tweak this year didn’t work. It was terrible.

Now for the picks:

Upset specials –

Loyola-Chicago over Miami

Murray St over West Virginia

Butler over Arkansas

New Mexico St over Clemson and Auburn

Final four – Cincy, Xavier, Villanova, Michigan State

Championship – Cincy vs Villanova

Champion – Villanova.

 

 

Tater’s Take on March Madness

This is the month we get the best event in sports: March Madness. I love the upsets, the buzzer beaters and the thought that any random team can go on a run and win it all. Normally, it is even more fun for me because My Kentucky Wildcats are there until the very end. This year, though, I’m adjusting to life without the Wildcats being around. It’s hard, but I’m still watching.

Buh Bye: I am happy to see that Duke, Wisconsin and Indiana have all been eliminated from the tournament. There are still plenty of teams that I don’t like, but I’m very happy that none there seams will win it all. I was even happier with the way they lost. Duke and IU are beaten easily and Wisconsin choked. I guess it’s petty to watch in hopes of others being disappointed, but I don’t care. I laugh at the defeat of these teams. Also, this picture is still valid

crean

Shut Up: Of course Duke and rat face Coach K@#@$$@ couldn’t go quietly. Coach K@##$@#$ decided to lecture an Oregon player for taking a shot at the end of the game. Not as the clock expired, but as a shot clock expired with time still on the game clock. I guess the polite thing to do is to hand the ball to Duke instead of continuing to play the game. This took place after trippy Grayson Allen refused to shake hands with the Oregon players as the clock expired. The same Grayson Allen who tripped at least two opponents during the season and was not punished. I’m sure coach K@###@$@$ would have been OK with the Oregon coach lecturing Allen on sportsmanship, right? To make things worse, when asked about it, Coach K@##$$ lied about the exchange and said it never happened. Stay classy, Duke.

Frauds: UNC and Syracuse are in the final 8. Both teams are teams that have committed academic fraud. UNC still has not been punished. Syracuse got in the field because the committee felt their losses while their cheating coach was suspended shouldn’t count against them. Yet somehow people still say Calipari is what’s wrong with college basketball and we hear more complaints about UK players going pro instead of the academic fraud issues. We need to get rid of the one and done rule and let the kids who have no interest in college go pro. That might help with the need to commit academic fraud to keep players on the court when they can’t do what it takes in the classroom.

Refs: College basketball officiating is horrendous. You know it’s bad when someone like Doug Sirmons is considered good enough to officiate a tournament game. The NCAA needs to find a way to fix this. They are ruining the game. Limit how many games they can call in a week. Actually review their work and install consequences for screwing up. Suspend the ones who call technical fouls when none are warranted. Fire the ones who are consistently bad. As long as they can be bad at the job, penalize people who complain about them and suffer no consequences, there is no reason for them to want to improve.

My Dream Final Four: I don’t have much love for any of the teams left in the field. I guess I will go with a dream final four of Oregon(though Oklahoma would be fine), Villanova, Virginia and Notre Dame. Most of those picks are because I dislike the other teams, not because I like the ones I picked. It would be interesting to watch the announcers blatantly ignore the academic fraud issues while calling a Syracuse/UNC gme, but not enough for me to want to see them win.

My Bracket Projections of Madness

This was a tough bracket to pick. I didn’t really want to pick the higher seeds as much as I did, but I didn’t really like the low seeds either. In years when Kentucky is not a one seed, I typically do one homer bracket and one bracket with them not going all the way. This year since I think anything can happen and Kentucky is pretty good I decided to just do the homer bracket. I don’t think I will be winning any pools this year. Here are the highlights:

Upset specials :

1st round: Vandy over Arizona, Northern Iowa over Texas, VCU over Oregon State, Stephen F Austin over West Virginia, Pitt over Wiscy, Gonzaga over Seton Hall.

2nd round: Texas Tech over Virginia, Gonzaga over Utah

Final 8: Kansas, Miami, Oregon, Texas a&m, UK, Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan St

Final 4: Miami, Oregon, UK, Purdue

Championship: UK over Oregon

Of course, UK could easily lose to IU in the second round, but I couldn’t stomach predicting that or a loss to UNC in the Sweet 16. I also think Maryland could lose to South Dakota State instead of going to the Sweet 16. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all of the one seeds abut by the Final 8 with Oregon losing to the winner of the Duke/Baylor game. This year could be fun.

The Worst Thing About Sports

There are many things written about what is wrong with sports. I think the worst thing about sports(except maybe people who write about what’s wrong with sports) is  the fans. Most normal people like me(ha) enjoy watching the games and then go on with our lives. We may scream at the TV and the officials when the game is being played. We might post random stuff on Facebook during the game expressing pleasure or displeasure about the results. We might even have players, coaches and officials we don’t like for whatever reason(although I don’t still hate Christian Laettner). What we don’t do, however, is go to the insane level some people do. Below are a few examples:

Ashley Judd(I love her) posted on Twitter after the SEC championship game that she thought Arkansas played dirty. I’m not sure I agree with that, but she has a right to express her opinion. What followed was a stream of replies on Twitter calling her names and threatening her. She has vowed to press charges against these people and I hope she does.

Saturday UK played Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a player with anger management issues stemming from a childhood tragedy. He was ejected from the previous game and many people felt he should not have been allowed to play in the UK game. There were some instance during the UK game when it looked like he might be heading toward another ejection. Some people in the UK fan base couldn’t just let it go after the win. They tweeted insults to the player after the game. I’m embarrassed that they are associated with my school.

It’s not just casual fans either. During the Maryland/WVU game, the WVU coach’s daughters tweeted negative things about Dez Wells and the accusations against him at Xavier. He was accused of sexual assault, kicked out of school, later acquitted and settled out of court in a lawsuit against the school.

Fans have always been fanatical, hence the name, but social media has unfortunately made it easier for fans to directly target players, coaches and other fans. Here are some rules to live by:

1. Remember these players are people. In the above cases they are college kids. They are someone’s kid. Would you want people to say those things to your kid? No? Then don’t say it to others.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on Twitter. Too many people have internet courage. They feel free to do stuff like this because they are somewhat anonymous and don’t expect consequences.

3. Remember it is just a game. It’s supposed to be fun. If you care so much that you are doing the above, re-evaluate your  life priorities.

4. If you do stuff like this in real life and your internet life is just reflecting you seek help.

My Bracket Projections 2015

Here are my projections for March Madness this year:

Upsets: Buffalo  over WVU, BYU over Xavier, UC Irvine over Louisville, SF Austin over Utah, Eastern Washington over Georgetown.

Second round upsets: Wichita St over Kansas, Arkanas over UNC, BYU over Baylor, NC state over Villanova, Michigan State over Virginia.

Final eight: UK, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Duke, Gonzaga

Final Four: UK, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Gonzaga

Championship: UK over Gonzaga