How Sweet (16) It Is!
Not a whole lot of scoring in Jabin's March Madness Charity Pool on Thursday night. Games were worth 3 points, and only one player (Jon Stein 1) scored six points. Most people had 3 or 0, which means they either got 1 of the 4 games right, or none.
That's just the kind of night it was. Loyola Chicago, Michigan, Kansas State, and Florida State all advanced to the Elite 8, and only two of the games were close.
BillSchmitt retained his lead in the pool standings at 48 points, but then there's a logjam 4 points back, as Jon Stein 1, Serenity Now!, KathyN, Powerspeed, and Tommy all sit at 44, followed by M and M, David Wiz Stabb, Dakin Bacon, and Murphy at 43.
Friday's games are also worth 3 points, so things can still change.
Sister Jean is having nun of it
Loyola University Chicago just keeps it going, outlasting Nevada down the stretch to advance to the Elite 8. Again, just a great story, and their 98-year-old Team Chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, has become the darling of the tournament. She had the Ramblers picked to make the Sweet 16, but then had them losing. Something tells me she's adjusted her bracket by now.
And by the way, before you beat yourself up over your bracket, nobody (NOBODY!) in Jabin's March Madness Charity Pool had Loyola in the Elite 8. So no harm, no foul.
Forecast for Ann Arbor - raining 3's
The Hollywood writer Wiliam Goldman (The Princess Bride) famously said "Nobody knows anything." He was talking about the movie business, but he might just as well have been talking about March Madness.
How else do you explain the week that Texas A&M had? On Sunday they routed the defending national champs, North Carolina, by 21 points in a game that could have been worse. Then on Thursday in the Sweet 16, they undergo a barrage of 3-pointers and lose by 27 to Michigan (wait, the Wolverines just made another 3!).
The Maize & Blue hit a total of 14 three's, many of them in the first half, and this game was pretty much over by intermission. Unbelievable.
Battle of the Wildcats
Despite what I said about Kentucky having an easy path (at No. 5, they were the highest seed left in the South Region), Kansas State had something to say about that. A terrific game, but K-State made the plays down the stretch to win by 3. So in the South Region, we have a 9 (K-State) playing an 11 (Loyola Chicago) for a spot in the Final Four. It's Madness, folks.
Did someone say parity?
Here's a fun fact. With Gonzaga's loss, none of the Final Four teams from a year ago made the Elite 8 this year. In fact, Gonzaga is the only one to make the Sweet 16. North Carolina was bounced in the second round, and Oregon and South Carolina didn't even make the tournament.
I'm not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing, but the days of juggernaut teams crushing the competition in March Madness may be in our rearview mirror. The one-and-done's are obviously good, but these freshmen sometimes have trouble against senior-laden mid-major teams in the Big Dance. And so it goes...
OK, so that's it for Thursday's play in the Sweet 16. Tune in tomorrow to see which other 4 teams make the Elite 8 - some great games on tap from Boston and Omaha. Full pool standings are available at the site.