published Monday, March 14th, 2011

5-at-10: NCAA ins and outs, perfect brackets and Eldrick shows signs

Hope your weekend was enjoyable. The 5-at-10 forgot how rough the time change is — we're lacking some sleep back at the ranch.

Anyhoo, here we go...

'We promise we didn't just pick names out of a hat'

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    Colorado basketball players, from left, Levi Knutson, Trey Eckloff and Nate Tomlinson show their disappointment watching the 2011 NCAA Basketball Selection Show at the home of head coach Tad Boyle's home in Longmont, Colo. on Sunday, March 13, 2011. Colorado did not make it into the tournament. (AP Photo/The Daily Camera, Jeremy Papasso)

The NCAA selection committee has been the easy target of ridicule since the bracket was released. Jay Bilas even said the guys that picked and seeded the field of 68 didn't know a basketball was round. Ouch.

This year's tournament field is beyond puzzling. VCU, USC, UGA and UAB got in; Colorado, Harvard, Virginia Tech and Alabama didn't. (Maybe the selection committee likes acronyms?)

Truth is, take the alphabet four out and go back to 64 for that matter and it's doubtful this tournament is missing anything.

The 5-at-10 spends little time on the debates of who's wrongly in and who's wrongly out. Almost every college basketball team (save teams in the Ivy League, although Harvard was in a one-game play-in Saturday this year) is technically in the NCAA tournament — it's just called conference tournaments. Want to make sure your name's called Sunday night? Win the conference tournament. Period.

No, the real faults of this year's selection committee can be found in the seeding. What happened to the "S" curve, and how did supposed overall No. 1 Ohio State draw the top No. 2 in UNC and arguably the top Nos. 3 and 4 in Syracuse and Kentucky? TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer breaks it down excellently here.

Florida's a No. 2? Whatever. Texas and Kentucky are No. 4s? Holy Pick and Roll, there's no way. Belmont and Utah State each won 30 games and each is a 12 seed or higher? Wow.

Which brings us to...

Odds are you'll enjoy the 5-at-10 Bracket Overrated/Underrated

Most of you will be filling out a bracket — for entertainment purposes only, of course. The 5-at-10 also will have a bracket (we're going to post here it later this week).

The odds of filling out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are amazing. Dig on this:

According to Forbes.com and a gambling website, after the play-in games there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets.

— That number is so great, that let's say Bill Gates had $9 billion and spent it all on NCAA tournament pools at a $1 a bracket. You would need a billion Bill Gates (yes, BILLION, with a 'B') willing to spend all of their $9 billion fortunes to cover all the possibilities;

— If every human being on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be greater than 1 billion-to-1 (yes, BILLION, with a 'B') against anyone having a perfect bracket.

— For those of you doing multiple brackets, well, if you want to try and cover all the angles, if you could fill out a bracket every second it would only take take 292 trillion (yes, TRILLION with a 'T') years to cover all the possible brackets.

— Say you wanted some help, and got, oh, every person on the planet involved and everyone busted it and filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to cover all the possible brackets.

— If all possible brackets were stacked on top of each other (on standard paper), the pile would reach from the moon and back over 1.1 million times. It would go from here to the sun more than 6,000 times. It would stack the height of Mt. Everest 19.5 million times.

How you like your chances now? Yeah, the 5-at-10 feels pretty good, too.

Anyhoo, here's our pitch: In a sports world that is desperate to rate everything — he's great or he's terrible, great pick or awful pick, five stars or three stars, etc. — let's break it down to two teams: The most overrated and underrated teams in the Dance.

Overrated = The first No. 1 seed to go home.

Underrated = The last team seeded No. 9-or-higher to still be playing.

Rules: Pick two teams, one that you think is the most overrated tournament team and one that you think is the most underrated. Maximum number of points is seven in the underrated category — one each for the possible number of wins for teams that play in the play-in games — and it's six for the overrated picks — a point for each empty step at which step the No. 1 seed falls (first-round would be six, second round is five, Sweet 16 is three, Elite Eight is two, Final Four is one). Perfect score is 13. Good luck.

Stakes: The cost to you is nothing; possible prizes could be announced later, but know that the pride of winning the first annual 5-at-10 Bracket Over/Under is unmatched this side of Nobel and/or Pulitzer prizes (that may be a touch of a stretch, but still).

Who's in?

Braves report, Volume 1, Chapter 1

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    Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (10) hits s home run in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets Saturday, March 5, 2011 in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Now that the tournament has been announced, the Atlanta Braves will have a more prominent spot here until the end of spring training.

Let's start broad: How can you not be thrilled Johnny Braves Fan? Chipper Jones appears healthy (and is hitting). Nate McLouth is having fun (and is hitting). Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman is relaxed (and is hitting). New left fielder Martin Prado looks comfortable in the grass (and is hitting).

Plus Jair Jurrjens was solid Sunday, and that is huge for this club this season as Atlanta prepares for a season-long battle against the pitching-rich Phillies in the NL East. We'll have more on this Tuesday.

Eldrick shows signs

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    Tiger Woods' caddie Steve Williams, left, and Woods, right, line up a putt on the fourth hole during the final round at the Cadillac Championship golf tournament in Doral, Fla., Sunday, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The golfer formerly known as Tiger Woods shot a 66 on Sunday. He smiled and laughed as he moved from early-morning starter into the top 10. He hit a lot of greens and made a few putts — of the five 10-plus-footers he made this weekend, two were on the back nine Sunday. It was reason to believe, right?

"Oh yeah," Woods said when asked about whether his game is moving to a point where he can contend next month at Augusta.

Easy, Eldrick, easy.

Woods became a Tiger by winning from the front, not moving into the top 10 before the TV cameras light up on Sunday. Hey, a 66 is great — the 5-at-10 could shoot 66, but then we'd have to play the final five holes, Thank you, Thank you — but Eldrick has not been Tiger in a lot golfing ways in the last 18 months. High among those differences has been Woods' shaky play under pressure.

And a 66 in a Sunday round that starts before the leaders eat lunch does not address that concern.

We'll see.

This and that

— The 5-at-10 is excited to watch the women's selection show tonight and see how/where/when the possible showdown of the UT Lady Vols and UConn could be. The feud/silence between the nation's top women's programs and coaches will be a drama tapestry that hangs over the field and the 5-at-10 is giddy about it.

— Hold on NBA update... Kevin Love's mind-boggling streak of 53 consecutive games with double figures in points and rebounds ended Sunday when he finished with six points and 12 rebounds. A huge stat in that record-setting run: Love's Minnesota Timberwolves were 13-40 in those games. Gross. ... More NBA news... The Miami Heat cried after a regular-season loss. No, this is not new news, but it's paramount that we don't forget this.

— Basketball coaches John Pelphrey and Paul Hewitt were fired from Arkansas and Georgia Tech over the weekend. Hard to argue against either of these calls, especially since Arkansas and Tech were power players in the SEC and the ACC respectively not that long ago. This year, each was more or less an after thought.

— Four Auburn football players were kicked off the football team last Friday for several criminal charges stemming from a robbery attempt. Another — Eric Smith — was dismissed earlier this winter. Commentary and jokes aside — Who knew the program would completely mirror those championship-winning teams of the Miami Hurricanes in the 1980s? — the Tigers now appear truly low on numbers. As many as 27 players either left early for the draft/expired eligibility from last year's national champion team. Now with the dismissals, the Tigers have lost an estimated 32 scholarship players from last year's team.

— Growing weary of non-stop attention from rabid college football fans in Columbus, Ohio, apparently ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit moved to Nashville to get away from a crazy college football atmosphere. No offense intended Johnny Vandy Fan.

Until tomorrow...

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

I am glad to see Love's streak over, the T-Wolves have managed only 11 or 12 wins during the streak which to me is like leading the most laps in a race and losing....besides his streak isnt even in the same galaxy as Wilt Chamberlin's streak...but that was before the merger..oh well...Kleenex opened up a new manufacturing facility next to the American Airlines arena...The Heat will never run out of Tissues.... Most Overrated Team is USC...all I heard last night on the Brakettology was how USC is the team you do not want to face blah blah blah...if that is the case...why are they an at large bid? Most Underrated Team...well how about the Butler Bulldogs...will they play for all the marbels again? No way...but I could see them making the sweet 16

March 14, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC As our resident NBA guru, the 5-at-10 knows you know this, but if anyone else wants to be stunned, go back and look at the stats Wilt put up. By modern comparison, The Stilt was LeBron+Shaq. Love the line about the Kleenex Inc. opening an extension in the Heat's building.

I agree with your overrated/underrated picks, but if you want to be part of the 5-at-10 Bracket Over/Under your most overrated has to be a No. 1 seed and your most underrated team has to be seeded 9th or higher (Butler is a No. 8 seed). Whaddya say EC?

— 5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.
patrickd said...

Pdavi's putting his picks in.

Underachiever: Virginia Tech Hockies

Overachiever: Fairfield Stags

March 14, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
jgreeson said...

PDavi

Put the Boone's Farm down. It's 11:30 Monday morning for crying out loud.

Oh, you're playing the always fun NIT bracket. The 5-at-10 knows you have a soft spot for all things Crimson — be it the Tide or even Harvard maybe — so we'll play along. (Be back in a second, we have to look up who is in the NIT.)

NIT version — overrated Boston College; underrated College of Charleston.

That said, PDavi, you still need to leave the Boone's Farm alone either way.

— 5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
scole023 said...

overrated - Pitt underrated - osu (no. 1 seed is a higher seed than 9 - right?)

Winning!

March 14, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Well that makes everything even easier ! thank you for the clarrification...perhaps I am suffering from the lack of sleep as well... Overrated...Pitt Underrated...Michigan...Tim Hardaway Jr will march right past UT in the opening round...i hope these meet the requirements for entrance...love the 5@10....i have weekend withdrawls!

March 14, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Snow Peak Peach Flavored Boone's!

March 14, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.
scole023 said...

Ok - before I incur the wrath of of the 5 @ 10 underrated - Tennessee (homer)

March 14, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Ok forget it...the Wolverines are also an 8 seen...how about UGA at 10....those Bulldogs will win at least one game maybe two! I seemed to have misplaced the magic in my fingertips this morning

March 14, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC, The 5-at-10 carried into the weekend back at the ranch, too. Case in point: Watching UConn's impressive run into Big East history, the 5-at-10 looked at Mrs. 5-at-10 and said, this needs to be in tomorrow's posting. Mrs. 5-at-10 said, "It's the weekend doofus," and promptly hit me in the face with a pillow. Alas.

Sadly, Michigan is a No. 8 seed, so they do not qualify in the underrated realm.

Mr. Smarty Pants scole023 makes a fair point that the original wording was not exactly accurate. The underrated picks have to be seeded from Nos. 9 through 16. Thanks, and any more lip from you scole023, and "It's Macho Time."

That said: scole023 is officially in with Pitt/Tennessee.

And, EC, the Boone's argument starts with Strawberry Hill and then goes from there.

5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OK here's the board to date (overrated/underrated):

scole023 — Pitt/Tennessee

EC — Pitt/Georgia

Who's next?

— 5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

i as well am going to go with Pitt as my over, and as far as under...that ones a tough one. my heart wants me to pull for my Bullbogs....so i will. (i dont think they will get passed UNC if they survive Washington, but hey i can dream!) Also Under favorites are MEM and ILL. Let the fun begin!

March 14, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Good to hear that Mrs. 5@10 will partake in the veiwing pleasures that is college basketball....I have to lie to Mrs.EC and tell her that Kim and Khloe are floor side for her to watch basketball....

March 14, 2011 at 12:03 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I would like to recant my ILL statement and blame that entirely on sleep deprivation.

March 14, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC,

Mrs. 5-at-10 is a champ; we watch entirely too much sports at the ranch, and she is way, Way, WAY cool about it. In fact, sense we're speaking in private, her bracket topped mine last year, so there's that.

OsoGrandeee, you are in the field.

OK here's the board to date (overrated/underrated):

scole023 — Pitt/Tennessee

EC — Pitt/Georgia

Bigbearzzz — Pitt/Georgia

(We'll come up with a tiebreaker later if we need it. Pitt seems to be the overwhelming favorite for overrated, huh?)

Who's next?

— 5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 12:39 p.m.
patrickd said...

For those who want to see the winning picks.

Overrated: THE Ohio State Buckeyes

Underrated: Tennessee Volunteers

March 14, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Mr. nickel & dime, you did marry up. No doubt about that. Overrated: Pitt. Underrated: Utah State and Belmont. One of these will make the Sweet 16. Just glad the Harvard kids didn't get together and file a class action suit against the NCAA selection committee.

March 14, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sorry for the delay — been away from the InterWebs for a while.

PDavi apparently switched from Boone's Farm to Sanka. Nice picks in each direction with THE Ohio State and Tennessee — and if there is an Archangel for Columnists, say St. Red Barber, those two teams will meet.

Not to be out done, BIspy4, delivers the 5-at-10's top two underrated picks. And we've heard from BeachBum through the e-mail.

OK here's the board to date (overrated/underrated):

scole023 — Pitt/Tennessee

EC — Pitt/Georgia

Bigbearzzz — Pitt/Georgia

PDavi — Ohio State/Tennessee

BIspy4 — Pitt/Utah State

BeachBum — Duke/Utah State

(We'll come up with a tiebreaker later if we need it. Pitt seems to be the overwhelming favorite for overrated, huh?)

Who's next?

— 5-at-10

March 14, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
OTWatcher said...

Pitt/Old Dominion

March 14, 2011 at 9:17 p.m.
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