published Monday, March 17th, 2014

5-at-10: All about the Madness

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    2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament bracket
    Staff Photo Illustration

Hey look, college basketball has started. Great. As expected we'll go wall-to-wall college hoops today. It's that big.

From the "Talks too much" studios, the ball is tipped.

Bracket breakdown

Here is our complete regional breakdown Good times.

Here is our top 5 list of takeaways from the brackets:

1) The committee gave Wichita State a No. 1 seed and said, "Be careful what you want," because the Shockers' draw is filled with land mines. UK in round two is tough. A potential date with Louisville in the Sweet 16. Duke or Michigan on the other side. Man. Shockers awed indeed.

2) If the brackets had been drawn in January — back when we said we were riding Syracuse to the title — there's a chance that three No. 1 seeds back then landed in the South with The Orange, Florida and Kansas. And for Florida to be the overall No. 1 seed and get the most dangerous No. 2 in Kansas does not make sense.

3) We will stay with the UNC as the biggest bracket buster in this draw. The No. 6-seeded Tar Heels could be a Final Four team; they could lose to Providence and star senior point guard Bryce Cotton in Round 1.

4) There are two four seeds that are as good as anyone in Michigan State and Louisville. Happiest coach alive: Rick Pitino, who now gets two full weeks of, "No one thinks your anything. You won it all last year and they think your are the 16th best team in the country."

5) Here's our Final Four: Florida, Arizona, Louisville, Michigan State, with Florida and Louisville meeting in the title.


Contests where you can win stuff

We are participating in three bracket related challenges.

First we will play in the TFP office pool, and since it's for entertainment purposes only, we hope to have as much entertainment as last year when Louisville won it all and made our bracket the office standard. Good times.

Second, we will host and play in the fourth annual "Method to the Madness: Last-in, First-out Challenge." The rules are easy, pick the first No. 1 seed to get bounced and the last double-digit seed to be left in the dance. Since there are more double-digit seeds in the draw, in the case of a split tie (one has the double-digit and one has the No. 1 seed correct), we'll give extra credence to the double-digit seed. If we still have a tie after that, we'll let the Electric Elite Eight Shootout challenge serve as a second tie-breaker. (The Electric Elite Eight Shootout is when you pick two players alive in the second weekend and the pair that scores the most total points wins. We'll get to that next week.)

Third, we're going to enter a bracket in the ESPN 105.1 pool at espn,com. Here are the details: Contestants must have an account on to enter. If they don't have one, they must create one. Click on "Tournament Challenge" under the "Fantasy & Games" tab. Search for the group name "ESPN 105.1 The Zone." Use the password "chattanooga." One bracket per player and prizes are still to be determined.


Hoops beyond the bracket

Let's discuss three things beyond the pieces of paper that everyone will be filling out and handing to some guy named Bill or Dave or Jay, who will be moving between departments and pandering for everyone's $5 entry fee. It's the gambling version of Girls Scout cookies.

First, enter a bracket. It's good for company moral. In fact, let the Mrs. enter one too. It's the perfect way to get her hooked on the festivities. we're all about family time here at the 5-at-10. And gambling.

Second, this is the perfect time to discuss the conference tournament as the dinosaur of major TV sports. Quick, other than UK's final minute hiccups — which marred an inspired performance that otherwise bodes well for the youthful and talented and enigmatic bunch — what was the lasting moment of Sunday? Anyone? Nope, the brackets and the selection and the drama have left conference title games with the shelf life of day-old bread. It's time to kill conference tournaments and give the NCAA bids to the regular season champ. We could even expand the NCAA tournament another weekend with the extra time. (Side note: The only reason the tournament has not expanded already is that CBS has said no because it does not want the Final Four and the Masters on the same weekend, and since the Masters is the only sporting event anywhere that really does not care about the money and CBS can't move that, well, the tournament stays as a three-week entity.) You could explore a number of ideas. Start the regular season later. Still have small conference tournaments and let the regular-season winner and the tournament winner in the expanded field. Let much smaller sights host those first round games. It could even be an exaggerated version of the play-in games, just with 32 of them played out between 64 teams to face the 1-through-8 seeds that received get a weekend off. And that bye means the regular season and playing well on a nightly basis — and scheduling — is even more important. So you have 96 teams in the real dance and 64 on an opening weekend filled with 32 games spaced among the channels to fill the void left in the TV schedule as opposed to almost a couple dozen teams playing in a weekend that no one remembers.

Third, and please accept this as our mea culpa, but Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin deserves kudos for getting his bunch into the tournament. It's a foregone conclusion that Martin now will be back, and as Jomo has said from the beginning, he likely deserved that either way. Dude has won 60 percent of his games, and now that he has a dance ticket on his resume, he has earned the support. It's never easy being the guy that replaces the guy. Tubby Smith learned that. So did Bob Kesling. And Martin was the antithesis to ever-popoular Bruce Pearl in a slew of ways — some of those speak very highly of The Conz, others not so much. But now, on the line that matters most, each has Dance participant on his placard and that should count for something. (Side note: We still believe this bunch should have been strides better than what they were from November through February, but if college basketball of today has been stripped and mined to where only March matters, then these Vols and their coach have peaked at the right time.)


This and that

— Women's bracket is tonight, and if Jim Foster's XX Mocs get anything lower than an 11, then the committee needs to be investigated. And if they get sent to College Station, Texas, for the second year in a row, then it's time to seriously question the entire pod system.

— Carl Edwards won the NASCAR race. Yay.

— The Braves have not lost another starting pitcher today, but the day is not over yet.

— Our bracket expert StuckinKent sent his bracket in Sunday afternoon and hit 67 of 68, missing only SMU. Well-played. We'll check the seeding swings shortly.


Today's question(s)

Who won the weekend?

What's the tournament takeaway?

What's Rushmore of Patricks?


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 ...

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.
jomo11 said...

March Madness, no better sports time of the year ! . . .Virginia was the big winner of weekend, bumped up to a 1 seed. . .Wichita was the loser, albeit getting a 1 seed. . . Louisville may have been the seeding rip-off award. . . .what in the heck is the SEC going to do about basketball apathy ? thank goodness for KY. without KY the SEC could have played their tourney at Fulton High School gym. . . .and kudos to the Conz, only 3 SEC teams get in tourney and UTK Vol fans STILL dont like him ! not a very touchy-feely fan base from a program that has only been to ONE Elite 8, and only 3 sweet 16's in their history !!!

March 17, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Tournament takeaway...the powers that be do not like mid majors, ie Wichita St in this case, crashing the Final Four, so they did their best to make sure it doesn't happen again this year.

Florida is the worst number one I can remember. Yes, they are good team, but when they are number one in the rankings and seedings, the word parity immediately comes to mind. This tournament is wide open. Teams all the way down to the fifth seeds have a legitimate chance of dancing home in several weeks.

Let me throw out this Patrick, Patrick McGoohan and the big bouncing ball that chased him.

March 17, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Rushmore: Patrick Ewing, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Duffy, Patrick Swayze (too easy).

Looking forward to seeing who the XX Mocs draw tonight. I checked Friday's mailbag and obviously nothing that jumped out. Did you guys talk about the Deion article I mailed you on the radio show? Also, any key highlights from the Coach Russ interview? Thanks

Had a nice paid day off on Friday. Bought my birthday gift and had some Ft. Worth BBQ for lunch and sushi is Richardson for dinner.

March 17, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.
Etsubuc13 said...

Just a thought but does anyone else see the similarities between this Tennessee team and Shulmans last team that won the SoCon. That year the Mocs had a ton of talent and floundered around and wound up having a very mediocre season in a mediocre conference. Tennessee has some really talented pieces this year and played a very mediocre season in a sub par conference. The Mocs won that championship because they played like they had to win. Shulman coached that tournament like his job was on the line and the seniors played out of their minds, for the first time all year, because this was their last chance. Tennessee finished out this season playing like their coaches job was up in the air and the seniors finally started playing like this was their last chance. But just like the following years for the mocs, where's the talent at for the future. Just like all those seniors graduated for the Mocs, most of Tennessee's talent will graduate/go pro (Stokes). In both instances I went to/watched games out of obligation, not because it was fun. In both scenarios they played slow, defense minded basketball that generated little fan interest. The Conz still could turn out to be a good coach (I don't think he will but that's just my opinion) but how did those following years turn out for the Mocs?

March 17, 2014 at 11:28 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, no credit here for Conz getting his troops into the play in game. Not for a Tennessee team that took Florida to the wire, while not scoring a bucket for a full 10 minutes of the second half. Florida slashed the Vols achilles by shutting down Stokes with a blanket double team. The Vols forced to live or die on the perimeter shrank into their shallow graves.

What could have made the Tennessee scheme work this year is a player cut from Chris Loftin's cloth. Unfortunately, there's no one recruited to the Tennessee bench answering that description.

Now, to Maynor. You're supposed to say, "Aw Ref, he's doing it too," then let the coach take over the jawing. Instead, Florida picks up four points, turns the game, and Maynor fouls out. I always hold the coach responsible for intemperate outbursts from players. This goes back to Day 1 at practice--DISICPLINE--and should be preached relentlessly all year. Very few calls are over turned by the aggrieved on the floor.

Tennessee will not fire Martin, but it would be best not to extend his contract at this time. Next year will tell the tale of Conz's coaching and the quality of his recruiting.

March 17, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

You and Paschall have each backed The Conz from the start. You each are wise beyond your years — and your schooling.

MT —

Yes, there is a slew of parity in this field, but we believe Florida to be an extremely tough out. Those boys are good.


That may be a first-round Rushmore TKO. Well played indeed. Maybe Patrick Roy or Dodgeball legend Patrick "Patches" O'Houlihan could quibble, but well done. We have not discussed the Deion story as of yet, but it's on the horizon.


Very interesting point sir. And one that continues to magnify how all of college hoops is about the Dance. Getting there, keeping the guy that got there, etc.

FE to the C —

Fair points, but we do have to give The Conz credit for how hard his team plays, regardless of the scenario.

So it goes.

March 17, 2014 at 12:53 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Who won the weekend? Michigan State and Louisiana-Lafayette. Turned from the ACC championship game to catch the end of Georgia State's implosion in New Orleans. They had the worst stint in the Big Easy since Pakenham in 1815, going up against Andy Jackson and the Cottonbalers.

And there was nothing like seeing the half-empty Lakefront Arena for the Sun Belt title game, even with the most local team in the league playing for the crown in the 9,000-seat barn. For this, GSU is leaving the SoCon. As Nimitz said to Halsey, the world wonders.

March 17, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.
titanic said...

Patrick Henry, Patrick Roy, Patrick Sajak, and Danica Patrick

March 17, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Am I the only here who watched The Prisoner?

March 17, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Best Patricks...

Patrick Pearse. Irish author and patriot.

Pat Metheny, jazz guitar great.

James Patrick Page. Better known as Jimmy Page. Rock guitar god.

And 5 has a sneaking suspicion whom might be the last choice.

March 17, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.
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