Monday, May 9, 2011

weekend review of bad news for our northern neighbors

Remarkably, I have nothing to complain about vis a vis the results of last night's lacrosse selection show.  But Quint Kessenich (it was probably Quint but if it wasn't I'm content to blame him anyway) gave me a heart attack anyway when he teased us with the fact that two ACC teams would be meeting for the third time this season.  I know it would've been insane to match us up with Duke, but then again it was also pretty insane to send our ACC champion baseball team to Irvine, California for a matchup with Stephen Strasburg.  Tournament committees are prone to attacks of ludicrosity.

No, the only nutz thing that happened was matching up Maryland and UNC, which I think is a bit of a screwjob on Maryland but it's not like I'm unhappy seeing our three ACC rivals in Syracuse's side of the bracket.  (Besides, Maryland's schedule was lamesauce.)  Our own matchup with Bucknell is perfectly fair.  7th is the lowest UVA's been seeded since not making the tourney in 2004 (by far the lowest) but we did that to ourselves.

The bracket didn't produce much else that jumps out as being really weird, except for maybe ignoring the seemingly-natural Hopkins-Delaware matchup that pretty much every bracketologist ever had predicted.  Speaking of which: I said I was looking forward to comparing my bracket to those of the professionals.  LaxPower and Inside Lacrosse each did their own, of course.  Who's the champion bracketologist?  I compared each prediction bracket with the final result and gave each of them one point per team per difference in final seeding.  For example, Delaware is "seeded" 12th (by virtue of playing the 5th seed, Duke) and each of the three prediction brackets had them 14th (playing the 3rd seed) so each of them get two points.**  Fewer points is better, obviously.

Result: LaxPower's was the most accurate bracket with 17 points; mine second with 18, and IL least accurate with 21.  (And I'd've been two points fewer and scored the title if I'd put Siena and Hartford in the right spot.)  All three of us got all 16 teams correct; that was the easy part.  Both IL and LP underrated Bucknell and badly overrated Hofstra; I had both just about nailed and further I was the only one of the three to award Denver a seed and a home game; the others had them traveling to the 8 seed.  (Denver is the 6th seed, hosting Villanova.)  On the other hand, I had UNC massively underrated and LaxPower was the only one to nail the top five seeds.  I hit the top four and IL had the top three.

So either lax bracketology is easy enough for anyone to try their hand at and the pros don't do any better a job than the average schmo or I'm just that damn good and ought to be getting paid for this.  It's almost definitely the former but I'm happy to pretend to believe the latter.

**I know the NCAA is generally believed to not seed the bottom eight and assign games based on travel, but if you think about it, not seeding the bottom eight at all would make seeding the top eight totally pointless.  What good is it being the 1 seed if you're handed the 9th best team because they're close by?  The committee ranks the bottom eight too and then fudges a bit for travel as needed.  I think it's pretty clear they do consider Maryland the 9th-best team, Bucknell the 10th, and so on.


The news and stuff:

- It's a bad week for Maryland.  Besides losing to Colgate and probably costing themselves a host game, they also lose a basketball coach.  Just when the ACC coaching wheel of fortune had stopped turning, Gary Williams decided to step up and give that mother another turn.  Part of me is sorry to see this.  My utter dislike of nearly everything Terrapin does not extend one iota to Gary Williams, who I've always thought of as one of the most respectable coaches in the biz.  Terrific coach and a clean program.  Jordan Williams kept his butt parked in the NBA draft, so Maryland gets a double whammy, with more possibly on the way depending on how the recruits, both 2011 and 2012, react to the new hire.  Always a concern.

Where will the Terps go for a new coach?  The CAA well is about dried up now, with Larranaga off to Miami and Shaka Smart having signed an extension.  They struck out on Arizona's Sean Miller, who leveraged his way into an extension in the desert.  Right now unless your letterhead says UNC or Duke, Big East coaches like Jay Wright, Mike Brey, and Jamie Dixon won't see the ACC as anything but a sideways move.  Maryland will have to look probably into the SEC or Big 12; the big rumor today is Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon.

- A bad week for Maryland is usually a decent week for Hoos, and a good week for Mike Scott is a great week for Hoos.  His medical waiver was already a 90% fait accompli, but it's really, really good to have that in writing.  Except for the one VT game we never got to see him terrorize the ACC; this coming year he'll get to do so alongside a team that should be hugely improved from last year's.

- Back in the world of lacrosse, it's been made official we won't see Rhamel Bratton this week against Bucknell.  I am so, so torn as to whether it's a good idea or not to reinsert him into the lineup after seeing the obvious wild improvement in chemistry during the Penn game.  Probably the best thing is to keep him at defensive midfield - his defensive talents are undeniably excellent - and let him play offense once every eight possessions or so just to fuck with the opposition's game plan.  I really do wish Dom Starsia had kept it a state secret whether or not he'd be playing right up until game time.  Bucknell's planning just got a lot easier.

- Like an amoeba, Davenport Field keeps growing.  And growing.  In increments small enough to be completed in between home series.  You show up to the ballfield one day and you could swear those seats didn't used to be there.  But there they are, and now the stadium has cracked the 5,000 mark.

- Some congrats are in order for former Hoo ballplayer Brandon Guyer, who became the 109th player in MLB history and the first Tampa Bay Ray to smack a home run in his first major-league at-bat.

- There's still no good reason not to be voting every day for Tyler Wilson.

No comments: