Elite

Elite.  That's what Michigan is today.  They join Florida as the only teams from last year's 8 that are in this year's 8.  Everybody else is at home.  The path to this point, the sloppy moments, and the fact that we nearly shit the bed (in what would have been in the hall of fame of Michigan epic collapses) against the 11th seeded Vols last night means absolutely nothing.  NOTHING.  I don't care how they played, I don't care how they looked, I don't care about any past tense verb you can throw at me.   I also don't care about what an amazing performance Jordan Morgan has put in in this tournament or that he has effectively become 2013 McGary.  

I care about the current game.  The 3rd seeded Wolverines beat the 14th seeded Xavier Minutemen by 5 in the opening round of the 1989 NCAA tournament.  And Glen Rice and I could care less.

And I will continue to care about the current game until there isn't one.  Then we can reminisce and evaluate and pat each other on the back.

Also, today marks the one-year anniversary of Trey being Trey:

Remember that?  That's when we backed in to the Elite 8 last year.  Until the last 4-minutes, it was arguably a worse performance than the one we had last night.

So here we are, moving on to play Calipari's band of illegally recruited, underachieving one-and-dones.  I'm guessing people will wonder how we plan to handle their size.  Just a guess.  If Jordan Morgan pulls another one out, I'll see you on Delta.com on your iPhone in the lobby of Lucas Oil at around 7:15pm tomorrow.

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15 brackets can still take first place cash in the UMTailgate.com tournament challenge, and 6 of those have a better than 5% chance:

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That top one...the one that belongs to baby gorilla, is very dependent on Michigan State winning it all, and Michigan losing on Sunday.  Think about that before you root for him.

Good luck everyone!  And as always, Go Blue!

12 Teams Remain, 38 Brackets Still with a Chance

We beat this version of the Vols by 30

We beat this version of the Vols by 30

Big game tonight?  Big game tonight.  Between Ken Pomeroy, BPI, RPI, and all the talking heads, I have no idea whether I should be confident,  but I guess I am for today.  I think the reason I'm confident is my trust in Beilein and what he can do with this team in 6 days.  Couple that with the fact that I don't think there is all that much difference between Tennessee and Texas, and that helps me to lean the scales towards us playing on Sunday.  I had Tennessee in this game against us in my bracket, and the funny thing about that is that I had them because of the dual team selection method...in short, I thought it would be Iowa, not Tennessee, making their way past Duke (not Mercer).  Well, it seems two wrongs occasionally make a right.

Anyway, Michigan is effectively two wins away from adding John Beilein to Michigan's Mount Rushmore of coaches.  Bo level shit people.  Exciting times.

And somewhat exciting times remain for 38 brackets in the UMTailgate.com tournament challenge.  The percentages vary, and change rapidly from game to game, but a little more than a third of the brackets still have a chance to take the first place cash.  Below are those with a better than 5% chance at just that:

Not sure what kind of posting frequency you can expect in the next 72-hours...could be too sad...could be celebrating too hard....could be too lazy.  But either way, Go Blue, Go Cavs, and good luck with your brackets.

Day 4 Roundup

48 games are done, and Frydaddy is in the lead, both in points (4-way tie) and in possible points.  Dude is killing it.  Unfortunately for him, we've never had someone lead after week one and end up the winner.  His bracket sure is pretty though:

We've got plenty of not-so-pretty brackets too, including our last "Thanks for your $20" bracket of the day of week one...

Good luck the rest of the way, and Go Blue!

Day 3 Roundup: Have a Relaxing Sunday

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As a Michigan fan, I'm coded to find flaws.  I am supposed to hail all losses as the end of the world, and find faults in nearly every victory.    When the Longhorns cut the lead to six, I was certain this team was not good enough...for anything.  When them game ended, I saw that we hit 14 three-pointers and thought we should have probably only really hit nine or ten of those, that those four or five extra constitute luck, and would have effectively removed the amount of points we won by.

Then I saw Syracuse and Villanova lose.

It reminded me to heed a recent UMTailgate.com study that concluded that single elimination tournaments are determined by about 30% pure basketball, 30% matchup draw, and 40% how good your team responds to tournaments.  Of course at Sparty it's 80% injuries and 20% referees, but that's a unique case.

Michigan has won it's two tournament games by solid margins, and they've done it with a not-as-porous-as-advertised defense that held Wofford to it's lowest point total of the season, and Texas to it's 4th lowest point total this season.  

Jordan Morgan proved more than serviceable against the giants down low despite the bevy of Texas-sized offensive rebounds, and notched yet another double-double...as I reaffirm my apologies to him and his family for the horrible angry thoughts I've had throughout the season :)  I mean, honestly, aside from Mitch McGary's breakout games against VCU and Kansas last year (21 point, 14 rebounds and 24 points, 14 rebounds) Jordan Morgan's 10/10 and 15/10 the last two games stand up to anything Mitch has done in his career.

Seriously, this guy's name is Jake Ryan.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Seriously, this guy's name is Jake Ryan.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Michigan makes the sweet sixteen and marches on to Indianapolis for the regional finals, where they will have the advantage of Duke being back in Durham, and me and The Cakemaker in attendance.  The latter will certainly inspire the team on to their second consecutive Final Four, though whether they will be able to hear me from my football seats at a basketball game remains to be seen.  The former is nice, but allow me to refer you to the 30/30/40 rule outlined above.  While Tennessee and Mercer are not our Blue Devil nemesis, there can be no complacency in the NCAA tournament.  The chalk lines point to Wichita State matchup on Sunday, but I'm inclined to think we are going to be seeing a 2013 Championship rematch with the Cardinals instead.  And with that I broke my old friend Norman Dale's rule:  Don't talk about the next step until you've climbed the one in front of you.

Tournament Challenge Update:

Digger's Maize Highlighter maintained it's dominance, and stands at 35 picks correct out of the 40 games played.  However, at this point it might be advantageous to look at who has the most possible points remaining.  A shout out to Robby Araujo, who has a completely clean bracket moving forward as of noon on Sunday.  Pretty impressive.

And finally, our "Thanks for your $20" bracket of the day goes to our boy Vik Bhatia, who has the elusive Syracuse - St. Louis championship game:

Relax and enjoy some basketball on this beautiful Sunday.  Really take it all in...ya know, like Aaron Craft is.  

GO BLUE!

Day 2 UMTailgate Tournament Challenge Roundup

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While it rarely translates to overall greatness, first round game picking greatness is something that should be revered.  And yes, I'm aware that the powers that be are attempting to shove the idea that the play-in games are round 1 and what we witnessed on Thursday and Friday was round 2.  But there's literally no one that thinks that isn't stupid.  Anyway, a shout out to bracket entry "Digger's Maize Highlighter" for getting 29 of 32 in a round of 64 that was complete madness.  His bracket has a two-point lead on the entire field.  He picked all three 12 seed upsets...and even picked the one 5 seed (St. Louis) that advanced.  He also had all the 7-10 match ups correct.  So, ya, raise a glass. some other bullet points:

  • Close:  One bracket went 27 of 32, good enough for 2nd place, and 8 brackets are tied at 26.
  • Loveable Retard: Only one bracket took Mercer over Duke...and that bracket belongs to our own Baby Gorilla (pictured above)
  • Next time flip a coin:  Five brackets only managed to get 20 of the 32, good for the very back of the pack
  • Future Mortgaged:  12 people lost a Final Four team when Duke went down, 8 of those took them as far as the championship game, and 3 had them winning the whole damn thing.  One bracket had Oklahoma St in the Final Four.

And finally, our "Thanks for your $20" bracket of the day is the only participant that lost two Final Four teams in the round of 64, as the Duke vs. Oklahoma matchup in Dallas just isn't going to happen.  This bracket is also starting the day today having lost 12 of the sweet sixteen before the teams even take the court...