I don’t want to talk about my bracket. My alma mater, Indiana, went into the tank after coach Kelvin Sampson was forced to resign over his alleged telephone improprieties. The Hoosiers fell to Arkansas in their first-round game Friday.
ESPN.com did an analysis of the 3.86 million brackets that were submitted in its 13th annual Men’s Tournament Challenge. Some of the findings.
— 2 picked all 16 of the Sweet 16 teams correctly;
— 4,621 picked Davidson, Villanova, and Western Kentucky to advance to the Sweet 16;
— 72 picked 15 of the 16 Sweet 16 teams correctly;
— 294,060 picked Davidson to defeat Georgetown in the Second Round;
— 640,180 had picked Xavier to defeat Duke in the Sweet Sixteen;
— 544,753 incorrectly picked Butler to defeat Tennessee in the Second Round;
— 1,950,119 incorrectly picked Connecticut to advance to the Sweet Sixteen;
— 189,492 have picked Xavier to defeat West Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen;
— 25,331 have picked Villanova to defeat Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen;
— 159,423 have picked Michigan State to defeat Memphis in the Sweet Sixteen;
— 420,746 have picked Texas to advance to the Championship Game;
— 4,703 have picked Davidson to advance to the Championship Game;
— 50 picked Davidson to defeat Western Kentucky in the Championship Game;
— 3,159 have picked Villanova to advance to the Championship Game;
— 1,548 picked Western Kentucky to advance to the Championship Game;
— 64,813 have picked Washington State to defeat North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen;
— 233 have picked Davidson to defeat UCLA in the Championship Game;
— 16 have picked Western Kentucky to defeat Villanova in the Championship Game.
The Men’s Tournament Challenge “National Bracket” – reflecting the percentage of people picking each match-up throughout the Men’s Tournament – showed that more fans picked North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis and UCLA to reach the Final Four than any other teams. In those predicted games (North Carolina vs. Kansas,
Memphis vs. UCLA):
— North Carolina was picked to defeat ansas 67.7% of the time;
— UCLA was picked to defeat emphis 61.8% of the time;
— Fans picked North Carolina to defeat UCLA in the national championship game 64.4% of the time.
Hoops resume Thursday: KWTV NEWS 9 will air Washington State vs. North Carolina at 6:27 p.m. and Louisville vs. Tennessee at 8:57 p.m. On Friday, it will be Big 12 doubleheader with Texas vs. Stanford at 6:27 p.m. and Kansas vs. Villanova at 8:40 p.m.
DVD alert: ESPN Classic (Cox 254) will replay the OU-Kansas men’s basketball championship game at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Kansas took 15 fewer shots, but made five more than Oklahoma as the Jayhawks upset No. 4 OU 83-79 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas, eight-point underdogs, shot 63.6 percent from the field, led by Manning’s 31 points. The Jayhawks finished the season 27-11. The game is a part of a marathon of NCAA championships on ESPN Classic. Other NCAA finals games involving the Jayhawks: 1 p.m. March 24 — 1991, vs. Duke; 1 p.m. April 3 — 2003, vs. Syracuse.
Tar Heels early favorite: Early returns from ESPN.com’s Tournament Challenge indicate North Carolina is the heavy favorite, taking the championship spot in 34 percent of the brackets ompleted online. The other top seeds follow — UCLA (16 percent), Kansas (14 percent) and Mmphis (13 percent). Fans are also predicting that the 12th seed most likely to upset the 5th seed — always a highly contested match up — is Villanova over Clemson in the Midwest. Davidson is the highest seed (10) to be favored by fans to make it past Round 1 over Gonzaga (7).Fans can complete their Tournament Challenge Brackets on ESPN.com.
Time for baseball: ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to deliver four consecutive days of spring training telecasts beginning Tuesday when the Detroit Tigers host the Washington Nationals at noon on ESPN. Other games include Toronto at Boston, 11 a.m., Wednesday; New York Yankees at Toronto, noon Thursday; Chicago Cubs at Colorado, 3 p.m. Friday.
Red-hot Rockets: The Houston Rockets will go for their 23rd victory in a row — second longest in NBA history — when they host the Boston Celtics at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on TNT. The Los Angeles Lakers won a record 33 in a row during the 1971-72 season. Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins and David Aldridge will call the game.
Doug Gottlieb, the motormouth former Oklahoma State guard who hosts his own talk show on ESPN Radio, “The Pulse with Doug Gottlieb,” 6-9 weeknights on Jox 930, recently was profiled in USA Today in an excellent cover story by Reid Cherner.
A few of the gems from the piece, which can be found at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2008-02-26-Gottlieb_N.htm/:
– No one would be surprised if the 32-year-old talked in his sleep because he doesn’t stop while he’s awake.
– If ESPN paid him by the word, it would be in Chapter 11. But he doesn’t need a microphone to yak, just another person.
– He is smart and funny, his work ethic is unparalleled and his recall so acute that ESPN College GameDay host Scott Reiss and ESPN “bracketologist” Joe Lunardi refer to him as “Rain Man.” “It’s like he knows the schedule of all 340 teams off the top of his head,” Reiss says. “You never have to worry about asking him a question that he can’t answer. He always has the answer. He knows he has the answer.”
– “Sometimes I badly strive not to come across as the know-it-all,” Gottlieb says. “And yet I’m in a job in which you are supposed to be a know-it-all. How do you relate what is happening without coming off as the pain-in-the-(rear) know-it-all.”