1. Anyone who argues that the NCAA men’s field should be expanded to 96 teams should be made to watch tonight’s play-in game between the Winthrop Eagles and Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on an endless loop. The teams combined to shoot 28% in the first half. It was abysmal basketball. The winner should promptly withdraw from the #16 seed out of respect to James Naismith.
2. If Duke is the weakest of the #1 seeds, why did it get a cake bracket? I hate Duke.
3. Number 12 seeds have 34 first-round wins in tournament history; #11 seeds have 31. (We learned this little stat here.)
4. If you’re going to root for any one player in this year’s tournament, Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds is a good candidate.
5. I know Gonzaga can’t be the mid major Cinderella every year, but it kills me to not pick it for an upset. Because if the Zags did come close but fall just short of knocking off Syracuse, I would feel responsible. I also hate Syracuse.
6. I get as much pleasure out of picking a huge first-round upset (huge being #12 seed or lower) as I do picking the tournament winner. But if picking the tournament winner also meant winning other people’s money, I’d rather do that. (It has never happened. Yet.)
7. This year’s big first-round upsets: Utah State over Texas A&M; Siena over Purdue. Eleven over six isn’t “huge,” but Washington will beat Marquette.
8. And ditto to this: John Calipari — The Sleaziest Coach in a Sleazy Game.