published Monday, March 18th, 2013

5-at-10: Selection Monday (and a little college football because that's who we are)

Hope you enjoyed the glorious weekend weather as much as we did.

There's a ton of stuff to get to, so from the soon-to-be-closed Bubble bubble inside the "Talks too much" studios, let's do this. (Or if Dick Vitale was involved — LET'S DO THIS, BAY-BEEEE!!!!!! Side note: Dickie V was off his game last night, missing match-ups and only kissing up to Duke every third sentence as opposed to every other sentence. Say what you want about the guy — and we have plenty of times — he loves college hoops like few others. Maybe he should have a spot on the selection committee;he watches a ton of games, he knows everyone and he truly loves it. Just a thought. Plus, if he's locked in a room for four days in March, that's four days he would not be splitting our ears. Win-win, BAY-BEEEE.)

The Field

Unless you are StuckinKent or Joey Brackets, you probably were left with a few questions after the NCAA tournament bracket was released Sunday night. StuckinKent, our resident bracketologist got 67-of-68 NCAA teams correct, missing only by picking Tennessee over MTSU (which we'll get to in a moment). Joey Brackets' "last four in" as of 40 minutes before the show was spot on and his top team on the "first four out" was Tennessee, and we believe that's how it fell.

Is it tough for Johnny Vols Fans and for Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin? You bet, especially after a torrid final four-plus weeks to the season. But, as Hyman Roth says in Godfather II, "This is the business we have chosen."

The Conz and Co. were working from behind the 8-Ball after an awful 11-10 start. And man, Jay Bilas was spot-on in his analysis last night that the selection committee was looking at who you lost to way more than who you beat. Otherwise it's tough to argue keeping out a Vols team that had nine wins against the top-100. Bilas also accurately noted that the little guy got the benefit of the doubt in every debate.

So the Vols were jacked. Yeah, more than a little bit, considering the resumes. And while we're here, we think the tournament committee overall did a pretty good job. Tennessee has a beef, and we probably would not have given Gonzaga a No. 1 seed, but those are quibbles more than glaring question marks. Our ace columnist and college basketball guru Mark Wiedmer has more complaints about the field. (And here's a theory about the committee's appeared anti-SEC bias: There are 10 people who are involved in college athletics on the selection committee and whenever a team that is in your school's conference comes up, you leave the room for discussion. There was one SEC person on the committee — LSU's AD — and can't you just hear the talks when a Tennessee, Alabama or Kentucky comes up: "The SEC makes huge money on football, they don't need this too." Or, as Weeds said, "That's a football league, these teams play in basketball leagues." Yes, the SEC was down, but three teams? Ouch-standing.)

And before anyone complains too much about this inclusion or that denial, the best thing about the NCAA tournament selection process is other than the Ivy League schools which do not participate in a conference tournament, every school in the country was technically in the NCAA tournament during the last two weeks. Ole Miss was on the bubble and worried about its spot, so the Rebels went and won a ticket to the Dance. The Mocs were part of the SoCon tournament, and if they had won four games, they would be among the field. Tennessee, same story only with an orange cover.

So now we're here. We're to the week that even casual sports fans will know that Creighton's nickname is the Bluejay and their best player can score with anyone. That guy who doesn't know a free throw from a fungo will start talking about how he likes 12-seed Cal because they are playing a home game for all intents at purposes, and we all know at least one 12-seed wins during the opening weekend.

This is the point where the marathon march of mediocrity that is college basketball's regular season becomes the merriment of March and magic.

Enjoy, whether your team is in the Dance or not.

————

The Contest

We're back, and of the contests, this is one that has stayed relatively the same throughout the three years of the 5-at-10: First No. 1 out, last underdog in.

The rules are pretty simple: Send us two teams — the No. 1 seed you think will be eliminated first and the last double-digit seed to be playing. The first No. 1 out and the last underdog (double-digit seeded) to be dismissed.

Questions?

We'll play for some Masters gear or some Final Four stuff, winner's choice.

Deal? Deal. Hey you might as well play, it don't cost nothing.

————

The numbers

NCAA tournament brackets
NCAA tournament brackets

Some of the mind-boggling numbers for the NCAA tournament that we recycle because, well, they are mind-boggling:

— Over $12 billion (yes, billion with a 'B') worldwide is expected to be wagered on NCAA tournament, and that's more than the Super Bowl. According to RJ Bell of pregame.com, less than 1% of that worldwide sports betting occurs in Nevada and more than 100 million people likely will play a tournament bracket contests.

— There are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets (9.2 quintillion). That number is a million times bigger than 9 trillion. It's also this big:

— If everyone on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be over ONE BILLION to 1 against any person having a perfect bracket.

— If one bracket per second was filled out, it would take 292 BILLION years to fill out all possible brackets (that's 20 times longer than the universe has existed).

— If all the people on earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

— 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.

Plus, the calculations above assume a 64 team bracket – if expanded to consider 68 teams, multiple the figures by 4.

Wow. And good luck.

College football

Butch Jones is rolling.

The Tennessee Vols have started spring with enthusiasms. (Side note: As many great turns as DeNiro had, his portrayal of Al Capone in "The Untouchables" was great and is rarely mentioned as one of his better roles. That, friends, is the functioning definition og an impressive resume.)

Jones has enjoyed what appears to be an early buy-in from the team, and the excitement seems to be catching. For example, we loved the photo we ran on the front of Sunday's sports section. There was energy and passion.

Now, granted, there is always new-found hope with new arrivals. When Kiffin bolted, we were quick to praise Dooley's steadiness. Now, it's easy to embrace Butch's energy.

Does that mean any extra win or two come October? No and yes. Yes and No. Finkel is Einhorn. Einhorn is Finkel.

Still, the biggest knock on Butch and the Boys was the legitimate question whether they can recruit on an SEC-level? That appears to be a definite yes, considering the Vols landed five commits in the last 10 days and have 2014 pledges six overall.

Plus, there seems to be a method to the madness of the spring drills with odd scoring systems and all, a sense to the silliness if you will that looks to be fun.

We'll start going around the SEC spring drills with a little more regularity, but the Vols' energy from this weekend actually leapt from the page. And that has to count for something.

This and that (with a question)

— The Miami Heat keep winning. The streak has reached 22 games, and Miami could take sole possession of the second longest winning streak in NBA history with a win at Boston tonight. Miami is playing at a different level right now, converting when it has to and getting stops when it needs them.

— Congrats to Kevin Streelman, the PGA Tour journeyman who won for the first time in 10 years this weekend at the Tampa Bay Open.

— Kasey Kahn won the NASCAR event at Bristol, and to be fair after all the belly-aching and bagging on the new Gen-6 ride, the race was entertaining and fun. That said, as TFP prep ace Stephen Hargis accurately tweeted during the event, it was pretty jarring to see that many empty seats at Bristol.

— Remember the Lady Mocs and the Lady Vols will find out tonight where and when and who they will play in the women's tournament tonight. If you are so inclined the Lady Mocs have a watching shindig at Big River, and the festivities start around 6.

— Amid the NFL free agent moves — including Jake Long going from Miami to St. Louis — there was an interesting item that the Arena League team in Orlando is trying to sign Tim Tebow. It would be a genius PR move, but just one question: Would he play linebacker or tight end? (Kidding, mostly.)

— In case you're one of the few that play a bracket, we have UT, Kentucky, Virginia and Alabama as our NIT Final Four. Yes, that's a lot of chalk — UT is a No. 2 seed, the rest are 1-seeds — but so it goes.

— The Jimmy Valvano 30-for-30 last night was excellent. Simply outstanding. It's in our top five of the 30-for-30s, which is saying something.

— After going tournament-less for the last two years, do you think Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin starts next year on the hot seat? We believe he is a very good-to-great coach, but coaching is a tough BID-ness, and three years without a dancing partner is a long time.

— Discuss and feel free to review any of the weekend topics.

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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ordinaryguy said...

Just to give the contest a shot...first #1 out will be Conzaga...their bracket has them facing either Pitt or Wichita St in round two, BYE BYE ZAGS...the last double digit team to be ousted will be (drum roll please) Ole Miss..Is it me or does Butch Jones bear a striking resembleance to that former local talk show host at the worldwide leader affiliate LOL...I also was stunned at the number of empties in Bristol yesterday, a good question is; has NASCAR priced themselves out of the everyday joe market?

March 18, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- problem with the SEC is they dont go ON THE ROAD NON-CONFERENCE and WIN against big teams. You shouldnt get a lot of credit for IN CONFERENCE Home wins. . . those are situations that mid-majors dont get. also, do you think that some coaches, maybe not the schools, are not very excited about conference expansion when you have 14 teams and only 3 are getting in ? will lead to a lot of firings

March 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

Addressed the issue regarding Frierson's report on the top SoCon's brass "bellyaching" over more TV time (my interpretation mind you). Hopefully, the full email will be included in Friday's Mailbag.

Would like to see how our Warrior Princesses will fair on the bracket circuit. Unfortunately, I'll be working on new material at my local Monday hangout.

Thanks for the Butch Jones update as it gave me something to read about (Men's bracket: No Mocs = No reason to care). NASCAR? Don't get it.

Picked up my Ranger's pocket schedule at Rally's Sportshouse in Arlington this past Thursday. Yeah, I'm ready.

March 18, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.
chas9 said...

How come if Guinness is full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, I don't feel great today?

No, you may not discuss football today. That's just wrong. You talk too much anyway.

It's apparent we KY fans are nuts about our Cats, but most of us know a bit about roundball and that part of me says Kentucky deserves to be left out. Tennessee, too. They shoulda won Friday. Period. Two of the great things about sports are that the scoreboard is final and close ain't good enough.

I truly think Florida is the only SEC team that deserves a bid. And who knows which is better, Bama, UT, UK, Ole Miss, or even Mizzou? If I were the committee, of that bunch I'd have taken The Rebel Bears even if they'd not won Sunday.

And I kinda like taking the mid-majors over the big dogs when it's too close to call. Good luck, MTSU.

I don't doubt that The Vols might have been the first out, but how come the NIT seeded UK and Bama better? Just a different set of eyes I guess. But since The Tide manhandled UT Friday, they should be favored.

Yes, shout it from the rooftops: Ryan Harrow gave UK no chance to win Friday. Once he saw Vandy was smothering his drives to the hoop, he shoulda started kicking it out. Coach Cal would never say it directly, but he let slip in an interview that he'd made an (unspecified) recruiting mistake. It was Harrow, I think.

March 18, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
orangeguy said...

If Vols have this same result (record & no dance) WITH Maymon, Conz is on the hotseat. The team actually overachieved a bit in my mind. That's probably because the SEC is a bad conference, which is why I'm fine with the Vols not getting in. I knew when they lost to Georgia after playing lights out for 2 weeks that this team's only consistency was inconsistency. And a 10 point loss to a similarly talented Alabama was just the final dagger.

Same result next year, with Maymon & (hopefully) Stokes are back, and the seat temp goes nuclear.

I expect a quick out in the NIT. Maybe they surprise me and get up for the kiss your sister tourney, but I can't see any motivation at this point.

First No. 1 out - Indiana, longest double digit seed in - the screamin' Marshalls (Ole Miss).

March 18, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, observations from the weekend:

Marshall Henderson is fun to watch. Period.

Plenty of good seats to be had at Bristol. And who did the paint scheme for the 33 car? Jackson Pollack or Kandinsky?

And who wins in the battle of ESPN hair? Mel Kiper Jr. or Joe Lunardi?

What's the cutoff for first 1 out and last double digit standing picks?

March 18, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show sportsfan

Jay,

Got a busy day ahead of me. Probably won’t be able to check out the 5 at 10 until late this evening. Disappointed the Vols didn’t make the Dance, but not totally unexpected. I concur with Jay Bilas. Looks like the tourney selection committee cared more about who you lost to rather than who you beat. Gonna pull for MTSU and Belmont instead. Watched the ESPN program on Jimmy V last night with Mrs. Sportsfan. Wow. Just Wow. We should all strive to be the positive influence he was.

Sportsfan

March 18, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
dawg747 said...

5@10 Cup: I truly enjoyed the 30-for-30 on Jimmy V and the NCST Wolfpack. One of the best I have seen. Wittenberg and Gannon made it great with their comments and I was always a Jimmy V fan. It is sad that he and Lorenzo Charles are no longer around to celebrate it with the rest of the team. You could tell the love each member had for each other.

Tourney Picks: First #1 Out: Kansas. Last Double Didget Seed: Belmont. I believe that with Belmont being in a better conference than in the past will help them.

March 18, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Just saw a photo of Butch Jones presenting Danica a clorox orange jersey yesterday at Bristol...Is Knoxville so out of touch they don't realize it is Danica Patrick, not Brooke...

March 18, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.
biff_loman said...

committee chair was an absolute joke rationalizing mtsu over tennessee. said tennessee had a great stretch run but didn't really beat anyone during that stretch (hello? florida,mizzou,kentucky). also said that mtsu beat people on the road and tennessee didn't (note to tennessee schedule makers, set up road games against atlantic sun foes as the committee sees these as quality wins somehow).

tennessee had 9 top 100 wins, mtsu had 1. mtsu's best win was against a team on the 12 line of the bracket. tennessee beat a 3 and two 9's.

i have no problem with the vols being left out on their own merit, but they shouldn't have been left out for mtsu.

March 18, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.
chas9 said...

Biff--You're right about UT's resume compared to MTSU's. Is Biff your real name?

Jay--The Nobody's Interested Tournament is nothing. Nothing. But it's kinda galling that UK has to travel for its first game while Louisville gets hometown advantage in Rupp.

There is zero prestige in the NIT, so it's too bad The Cats are obligated to accept the invite. In normal years, I'd say playing a few more games helps your team develop and learn for next year, but this Kentucky team shows no ability to progress.

The 2013-14 Wildcats will NOT be led by Harrow, and anybody coming back from this team will have to find a role to play integrated with the super talent coming in.

Anybody who wants to ease Cuonzo out the door is ignorant. Though UT will be playing for second place, at best, next year.

Speaking of Louisville, I was high on them early in the season. Jay may remember I suggested he choose Russdiculous as his player to follow for the season. But when The 5@10 final four picks were made, The 'Cuse was ascendent and UL had hit a lull, so I picked The Orangemen as one of my four.

Since that was an aberration, just bad timing, I'd like to swap in Pitino's bunch instead. Would it help if I wrote my request on a $20 bill, and to what address should I send it? I'm fine with my other three picks.

March 18, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
compspeed said...

30 for 30 on the '83 NC State team and Jimmy V. was outstanding. Thurl Bailey talked about the fact that in the two years prior they didn't make the Big Dance and then lost in the first round the next year. For those who may have forgotten it was Chattanooga that beat what was essentially that same NC State team in 1982 in the first round of the tourney.

March 18, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

Fair question and one that will be mail-bagged about NASCAR.

No, Butch does not look like Bonsanto.

Jomo —

We can see that about going on the road. (Although, every SEC team played a slew of neutral-court games.

That said, you can't work both ends of that argument. You can't say the SEC can not count home conference wins, but then say Gonzaga can't help it that its conference stinks.

JMC —

We think the Lady Mocs will get an 11 in Knoxville. That's just our projection though and that's based on nothing more than feeling.

9er —

Three for the SEC seems low but it was definitely a down league.

Harrow going pro = Tyler Bray going pro?

And we're trying to locate all those Final Four picks as we speak. This is a sneaky busy week — and never mind the fact that T-ball practice starts this week. E-Gads.

And yes, money talks, even when it don't cost nothing.

Orange —

Well said about The Conz and the NIT. We think the Vols are either a quick (read: distracted) bounce or could make a motivated and irritated run. Same goes for the WIldcats.

Spy —

Need the entries by noon on Thursday.

March 18, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Biff —

Those are all fair points. And to top matters off, The Conz was in MTSU's spot — only with a better resume — at Missouri State before coming to Knoxville.

March 18, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
chas9 said...

Happy Birthday, Bruce Pearl. He turns 53 today. Which makes him exactly one day younger than Sam Bowie.

Biff--The Vols are 2-9 away from Knoxville against top-200 teams.

March 18, 2013 at 3:21 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Yes, happy birthday to Sam Bowie and Bruce Pearl. Yeah.

What's MTSU away from home?

We believe that maybe the Vols did not deserve to get in, but what's the argument to be made the MTSU is better than UT?

March 18, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.
biff_loman said...
<p>@chas9...biff is just a fun moniker from literature

i'm basing the following off of cbs' rpi

mtsu 0-2 vs. top 100 on the road

ut 0-6 vs. top 100 on the road

mtsu 11-1 vs 100+ on the road

ut 4-1 vs 100+ on the road

mtsu best road/neutral wins: 102, 111, 149, 154

ut best road/neutral wins: 56, 101, 108, 215

frankly, teams don't play on the road in the tournament, so i find looking at those games with enormous weight a little suspect

when you look at the numbers it's pretty clear that mtsu feasted on a poor conference, switch the two teams and you'd see opposite results

in this case it appears that UT was negatively impacted by playing in a better conference....bizarre

March 18, 2013 at 4:14 p.m.
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