My Favorite Quirky Things About This Year’s Round Of 64
If you look deep enough, or want to make fun of a rival badly enough, almost every NCAA tournament game has a hook. This year’s crop, though, is really inviting, with solid matchups and fun storylines. Here are a handful of things that popped into my head on the first run through the matchups.
1. The potential Roy Williams Bowl in the Round of 32 … if North Carolina can ward off the Ghost of Sumpters Past in its first game.
2. Trey Burke vs. Nate Wolters. B. Rabbit is a Jackrabbit in this rap(t) battle.
3. Minnesota going for a 60 percent OReb rate against UCLA … and still probably finding a way to lose.
4. Adam Haluska getting 15 more minutes of undesired fame in every promo for the Florida game.
5. The fact that UNLV fans at the team’s selection show gathering audibly oohed and aahed when former coach Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners drew MWC foil San Diego State.
6. Every casual fan trying to figure out if Florida Gulf Coast plays like Davidson. Or Ohio.
7. Pitt having a chance to pull a Reverse Butler, taking out a 1-seed as an 8 and inheriting its relatively reasonable path to the Final Four.
8. Marshall Henderson watching Wisconsin play offense with a look of disgust.
9. Arizona doesn’t have a point guard and doesn’t defend the 3 well. Belmont has Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark. Hmmmm.
10. Duke’s a 2-seed. Albany has six letters in its name. Hmmmm.
11. Cincinnati and Creighton imagining themselves as the national title favorite if the Bluejays could play offense and the Bearcats could play defense.
12. Phil Pressey popping in tapes of Colorado State defending scoring point guards in the last month and almost drowning in his own drool.
13. Missouri’s frontcourt watching the same film and cringing at the Rams’ rebounding tenacity.
14. Dear Akron, congratulations on winning the MAC auto bid with a freshman backup point guard. Enjoy Havoc. Sincerely, The Committee.
15. Relatedly, this photo of Akron coach Keith Dambrot taken a few weeks ago. Oops.
16. Miami going 1-2 in the Pacific in the Diamond Head Classic, then drawing Pacific (which is not all that close to the Pacific)
17. Syracuse drawing another “mont” in a 4 vs. 13 game. OK, fine, I’ll be the first to make the Vermontana joke. Grizz can shoot the 3-ball, too.
18) Oklahoma State trying to figure out how it ended up in a 5 vs. 7 game this early.
19) A classic “Now you HAVE to play us” in-state matchup between Memphis and Middle Tennessee State, if the Blue Raiders get past Saint Mary’s.
20) Deshaun Thomas watching Iona’s offense and nodding his head in approval.