Debating William & Mary, sports and culture since 2011. Updated every Wednesday.

2012 CDH March Madness Breakdown: Part 2

In Basketball on March 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Since my esteemed colleague in St. Louis decided to go all Dead Poet’s Society on me with a T.S. Eliot reference in his lede, I will push all my chips in on a Dylan Thomas reference.

Eighteen teams represent the Western Bracket, which is the coincidentally the same number of whiskeys Thomas claimed to have downed at the White Horse Tavern in the West Village, kicking off the bender that eventually killed him. How is that relevant to college basketball? I don’t know — or care. All that matters is that I’ve proven I can be just as literary as Brickey; and what is sports writing if not public overcompensation for perceived inadequacies?

(Ball’s in your court, whoever has the next post. You better come at me with some Joyce or Kafka or other boring, indecipherable sh*t. I’ll go 1500 words into a Faulkner-esque stream of consciousness narrative from the perspective of Nets point guard Deron Williams if I have to. I do not play.)

I’ll stretch this shaky Thomas reference/metaphor even further because I hate my readers. Thomas’s fate will be mirrored by whatever team survives this deeply flawed, kind of emo conference. I just don’t see any of these teams having enough to survive against Kentucky or (sorry Duke fans, you guys suck) Indiana in a Final Four matchup. Whoever survives the Elite Eight in Atlanta wins it all, by the way.

Let’s get down to it. My picks:

Michigan State wins over Long Island University, whose record was surprisingly comparable to that of the Spartans. They’ll lose in the second round to Memphis — when I think the Tigers will really start to feel the injury to Brandon Dawson.

Memphis’s luck will run out in the next round when they face Louisville — a team with which I was impressed during the first half of their loss to Syracuse. Maybe I’m just a sucker for Rick Pitino’s craggy good looks, but damned if I wouldn’t love seeing that team make a shocking, under-the-table run to the Final Four (low-hanging fruit on the Pitino joke, I know).

My picks for the bottom half of the bracket are Murray State and Missouri. I actually had the pleasure of watching Mizzou play at Madison Square Garden, where they beat the living daylights out of Villanova. This team — as Brickey can attest — is really, really good when it can control the pace of the game and stay out of half-court sets (against Villanova, I liked them on the fast break). If they can stay hot, there’s no reason why Mizzou could not beat Louisville in the Elite Eight. They won’t though. They became complacent during their heartbreaking loss to Kansas, and that does not bode well for the team’s longevity.

HOWEVER…they’ll have to get past Murray State or Marquette first. I don’t know very much about either of these teams, to be honest. The whole “we went 30-1” thing Murray has going for them should scare Marquette. Were any of their wins particularly impressive? Not particularly. That doesn’t matter though, because neither of these teams is going to the Final Four. That honor will go to Louisville (a team that crushed Marquette in the first round of the Big East tournament, by the way), who will lose as soon as they get there. If I’m wrong, at least I know I made these picks without doing a damn bit of research.

In closing, do not go gentle into that good night that is the second round (when people start caring) and, to quoth Nas, “Play on Playa”. That’s the Western District way (triple-reference score!).


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