Considering the chaos of this NCAA Tournament, it’s almost surprising that the teams remaining — Duke, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Butler — are as recognizable as they are. The way our bracket, and everybody else’s, looks, you’d think the Final Four were Winston-Salem State, SIU-Edwardsville, Alabama A&M, and Presbyterian. Alas.
The games tip off in Indianapolis at 6:07 — it will be exactly 6:07 — with Michigan State and Butler, the official host school. Duke and West Virginia, widely considered the two best teams remaining, play a half-hour after that game ends. The latter game features Bob Huggins and Mike Krzyzewski, perhaps the only two coaches more disliked than John Calipari. (We prefer Bob and Coach K to the car salesman, ourselves.) The national championship game will be Monday, running opposite the Giants-Astros game.
We do hope you enjoy this weekend, because it’s probably the last Final Four with a 65-team tournament. The NCAA made the case for a 96-team tourney yesterday, and there was plenty of backlash, as you’d expect. John Gasaway from Basketball Prospectus, however, reminds us that much of that backlash was phooey, and let’s face it: Tournament expansion is inevitable. So you might as well try to enjoy it. This is the case we’re trying to talk ourselves into. We even had a “spirited” debate about it with ESPN: The Magazine and The Atlantic writer Hampton Stevens yesterday on that bloggingheads.tv thing. We think we’ve convinced ourselves.
We have also convinced ourselves we have a huge head.
Anyway: It’s the last “pure” Final Four, if by “pure” you mean, “using a format that’s just over twenty years old and on historical average changes even more often than that.” Enjoy!
By the way: We still remain a bit alarmed that if Duke wins the national championship, as they are favored in Vegas to do, New York’s own Ben Mathis-Lilley will win our tournament bracket and use his winning post to give you all our passwords to ESPN Insider, Baseball Prospectus, and Bill James Online — the ones we use to cut and paste him stories from those sites for free. You’re only hurting yourself, BML.