By Billy Fellin
Welcome to article number 357423 written about March Madness here on Sportscolumn written within the past week or two. Two rounds into the tournament and Cinderella has yet to show her face. Two rounds in, there are hot trends emerging and things we just want to stop now and be done with. Here are some of those; here is Hot or Not.
Hot: Facebook’s March Madness Pool- This may seem an odd way to start off a sports column, however I think this is a point to be made. For those that are unfamiliar with Facebook, it is basically Myspace only better. It’s a global social network, recently gone public, but started out as just college students, eventually growing to high schools as well. It is the thing in college, and it seems that nothing is official if it’s not visible on your Facebook profile. As I found out a couple days before the tournament started, Facebook also runs a March Madness pool, where you can fill out your bracket on Facebook. Initially I was skeptical, not knowing what to expect from this pool since more times than not Facebook has absolutely nothing to do with sports. So I filled out my bracket, joined a few pools and waited for the tournament to start. After the first day, and a quick check of my bracket, I was surprised at how good of a job they did with the system. A basic point system of a point being given if you get a pick right, and bolding the pick on your bracket. An incorrect pick and you get a strikethrough on the bracket. They also have a ranking system where you are ranked within your network (in my case CNU, the college I go to), and within Facebook as a whole. I’d have to say all in all good job, Facebook! You’ve given college students yet another reason to be completely obsessed with you!
Not: Facebook Rankings- While it’s all well and good that Facebook is kind enough to show how you rank against your peers at your school and others, its disheartening at the same time. It’s a sad day when people are excited that they are ranked in the top million. Or even the top 200,000. I guess that’s why pools exist, to give an ego-boost. You can say “Hey I’m 5th in my pool!” Yea, well you’re still ranked 257,456th overall. Get a move on.
Hot: Top seeds- Cinderella must have gotten tired with carrying George Mason to the Final Four last year, because she hasn’t shown up to the Big Dance in ’07. All four number one seeds are still alive. The only high seed that has been kicked out is Wisconsin, the 2 seed that was sent packing by UNLV. So all those classy upset picks? Not happening this year. VCU over Duke was a slight upset, but then again its Duke. I wasn’t surprised. In the first round only 5 teams that were a lower seed than their opponents won: VCU, Michigan State, Purdue, Winthrop and Xavier. For the Sweet 16 and beyond, look for these top seeds to continue to hold strong.
Not: Wisconsin and Villanova- Going into the tournament, it seemed to me that these two teams were very sexy picks to make it to at least the Elite Eight. Gotta love how they fell flat on their faces. `Nova lost in the Battle of the Wildcats against Kentucky, and the Badgers were, suitably enough, run over by the Rebels. Bracket busters of the year, go team.
Hot: Overtime games-There is a reason this time of year has come to be called March Madness. I’m pretty sure that everyone was holding their breath if they had watched the scores or the game itself of the Ohio St.-Xavier game. I was one of those people, glued to the futon in my dorm room hoping that the Buckeyes would survive. Ohio St. dropped some key threes and then took off in OT to move on. I’m pretty sure that I heard the entire East Coast breath a sigh of relief. Pitt and VCU took it to extra minutes and the Vandy-Wash ST game needed two extra sessions to decide that one. There has been no lack of madness thus far in the Tournament.
Not: Virginia teams- I know this has nothing to do with overtime games, but I have to say this. Living in Virginia and going to college in Virginia, you spend a lot of time hearing about how well Virginia Tech or UVA are doing in sports and such. Well that’s great, but if you are like me, you don’t understand the hype and I frankly dislike Tech and UVA as much as Duke. I couldn’t wait to pick against them in the tournament. ODU fell in the first round and the other three in the second. VCU was a feel good story, borderline being called the George Mason of the ’07 tournament, but they really didn’t have a shot. I’m glad that there will finally be some piece and quiet around here; except for the morons at my school who foolishly picked one of the four Virginia schools to do well in the tournament, though I doubt their cries of anguish and stupidity will get old.
And the last one goes to:
Hot: Mac commercials- I have to say that the newest Mac commercial that has that security guard asking if he will allow or disallow everything coming in or out was very funny. Those guys over at Apple have a good advertising department, and obviously did their homework on Vista’s security measures. Not that its exactly rocket science.
Not: Dick Vitale- Yes, Dick, it’s not delivery. As Vin has already said all that really needs to be said about Dickie V, I’ll just say this: Have his vocal chords blown yet?
So that’s my March Madness edition of Hot or Not. Hope your brackets aren’t limping toward the Georgia Dome for the Final Four and enjoy the Sweet 16.