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March Madness 2016

 



PaulC
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Mar 3, 2016, 6:21 PM

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March Madness 2016 Can't Post or Reply Privately

March Madness approaches to determine the US NCAA Basketball champions.

Format

Entries
32 Conferences hold a tournament to determine their champion . The remaining 36 entrants are selected by a panel of "experts"


13 March - Selection Sunday (the 36 selected teams are named). The bracket (the draw) is made with teams distributed into 4 regional groupings - each group will get one team from seeds 1-4, 5-8 etc

15/16 March "The First Four" A preliminary round of 4 matches with the 4 lowest ranked Champions meeting the 4 lowest ranked selected teams. To be held at University of Dayton, Ohio

17/18 March First Round 32 matches.

19/20 March Second Round 16 matches.

Each of the four regions uses two centres. Each centre hosts 4 First Round matches followed by two Second Round matches

24/25 March Regional semi-finals (Sweet Sixteen)

26/27 March Regional finals (Elite Eight)

One centre per region.
KFC Yum! Center, Lousville KY
Honda Center, Anaheim CA
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
United Center, Chicago IL

April 2 National Semi-Final

April 4 National Championship

Matches played at NRG Stadium, Houston


zebedee
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Mar 3, 2016, 7:11 PM

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Re: [PaulC] March Madness 2016 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Minor correction. 31 conferences hold a tournament to determine their automatic qualifier. The Ivy League gives its spot to the regular season champion - although it quite possible that this will need a playoff this season as Yale and Princeton both have just one defeat (in both cases their visit to the other).


PaulC
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Mar 3, 2016, 7:17 PM

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Re: [zebedee] March Madness 2016 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Yes - couldn't be arsed going into even more detail! Thanks for adding the extra detailSmile

I trust we'll be getting it here on ESPN.

I'm much taken by the idea of the KFC Yum! Center. Sounds a bit of an oxymoron.


(This post was edited by PaulC on Mar 3, 2016, 7:19 PM)


Richard Rundle
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Mar 3, 2016, 7:58 PM

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Re: [PaulC] March Madness 2016 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

March Madness, even more than the FA Cup or Vase is my favourite knock-out tournament in sport.

One other minor correction, in the "First Four" the lowest ranked champions do not meet the lowest ranked "at large" teams, the 4 lowest ranked champions play 2 games amongst each other and the 4 lowest at large teams do likewise, the champions are then slotted in to 16 seeds in the regionals for the weekend and the at large teams usually are about 11 seeds.

This season has been been a little like the Premier League in football, no one dominant team and seemingly almost anyone can beat anyone on in a 40-minute game. Kansas have begun to separate themselves a little at the top but the 3 other Number 1 seeds could still go to any one of 7 or 8 teams.

The team I follow, Butler, had a great first two months of the season, then struggled when Conference play got going but have picked it up of late, and I would have thought a win in their last Conference regular season game at the weekend will be enough to bring them off "the bubble" and securely into the tournament field.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 4, 2016, 11:06 PM

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There could be a further twist with the Atlantic Sun conference qualifier.

The final is between Stetson & Florida Gulf Coast (who made some waves a couple of years ago with a team nicknamed "Dunk City").

Stetson are ineligible to play in the NCAAs due to some historical academic issues, so if they win the A-Sun final, the regular season champion, North Florida (who FGCU knocked out yesterday) will get the automatic bid.


AndrewG
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Mar 6, 2016, 2:16 AM

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Another - yet another - nailbiter between Duke and North Carolina at Cameron tonight. The Tar Heels came out on top this time - would have put a big question mark against their chances in the big dance if they had again failed to hold on to a lead against their biggest rivals.

North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State and Virginia amongst the favourites to come out on top, but who knows. This is always one of sport's most unpredictable tournaments, and it looks even more open than usual this year.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 6, 2016, 8:46 AM

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Re: [AndrewG] March Madness 2016 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

It was a bad day for a number of "bubble" teams; Michigan, Syracuse, George Washington, VCU, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Wichita State all went down, the latter in their Conference tournament semi-finals so there's nothing more the Shockers can do now but wait. All the others still have their conference tournaments this coming week so can still play their way in.

The first automatic berth have been allocated, Austin Peay coming out victorious in the Ohio Valley final. They were the no. 8 seeds (of 8 qualifiers) going in to the conference tournament, and with their 18-17 record they will almost certainly be one of the teams going to Dayton for "first four" games.

Today three more bids will be confirmed, all three from conference tournaments where the No. 1 seed has already been eliminated. The Atlantic Sun (see previous post), the Big South where NC-Ashville meet Winthrop and the Missouri Valley where Northern Iowa (who were the team that knocked off Wichita yesterday) are up against Evansville.


zebedee
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Mar 6, 2016, 1:08 PM

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Yale have also secured the Ivy League bid - they won both their matches this weekend to finish with a conference record of 13-1, whilst Princeton lost at Harvard on Friday. Yale's previous appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 1962.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 6, 2016, 10:40 PM

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Northern Iowa have beaten Evansville to win the Missouri Valley bid with a good old-fashioned buzzer beater that hit the back of the rim, looped a good four feet in the air (over the height of the backboard) and dropped perfectly into the net.

UNI were a 5-seed last year, winning their first game before bowing out against Lousiville. This year they will probably be about a 13.


zebedee
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Mar 10, 2016, 7:46 AM

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In the majority of conferences sides that don't get the automatic bid cannot expect an at large place in the NCAA tournament. This essentially means that the regular season is a two month competition to determine seeding for the conference tournament in the final week of the season.

One team that has defied the odds and seeding is Holy Cross. This university from Connecticut has quite a history in basketball, having been national champions in 1947, but has since dropped down the pecking order and currently plays down the Patriot League which is amongst the weakest conferences. Holy Cross had a poor regular season, winning 5 and losing 13, including all 9 away games. This saw them finishing 9th of 10 meaning road games all the way but then their form totally flipped as they won through to the Patriot League championship. Last night the miracle run led to the title as the Crusaders won 59-56 at Lehigh to book their ticket for the big Dance.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 14, 2016, 9:00 AM

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So we have the "bracket" and the consensus seems to be that the committee haven't done a great job picking the teams. One team in particular stands out that is in is Tulsa. A website called Bracket Matrix keeps tracks on all the predictions on the internet, from the major media organisations (ESPN, CBS) to ordinary Joes doing it for fun. Not one of the 59 brackets had Tulsa in. Not one. As usual all the best teams left out come from the ranks of what is known as the "mid majors" - St Bonaventures, Valparaiso, Monmouth etc. and the likes of Syracuse and Vanderbilt from Power 5 conferences get in. Money talks.

Anyway, here is the list of opening round games
South
1 Kansas v 16 Austin Peay
8 Colorado v 9 Connecticut
5 Maryland v 12 South Dakota State
4 California v 13 Hawaii
6 Arizona v 11 Vanderbilt or Wichita State
3 Miami v 14 Buffalo
7 Iowa v 10 Temple
2 Villanova v UNC Asheville

West
1 Oregon v 16 Holy Cross or Southern
8 St Joseph's v 9 Cincinnati
5 Baylor v 12 Yale
4 Duke v 13 UNC Wilmington
6 Texas v 11 Northern Iowa
3 Texas A&M v 14 Green Bay
7 Oregon State v 10 VCU
2 Oklahoma v 15 Cal State Bakersfield

East
1 North Carolina v 16 Florida Gulf Coast or Farleigh Dickinson
8 USC v 9 Providence
5 Indiana v 12 Chattanooga
4 Kentucky v 13 Stony Brook
6 Notre Dame v 11 Michigan or Tulsa
3 West Virginia v 14 Stephen F Austin
7 Wisconsin v 10 Pittsburgh
2 Xavier v 15 Weber State

Midwest
1 Virginia v 16 Hampton
8 Texas Tech v 9 Butler
5 Purdue v 12 Arkansas-Little Rock
4 Iowa State v 13 Iona
6 Seton Hall v 11 Gonzaga
3 Utah v 14 Fresno State
7 Dayton v 10 Syracuse
2 Michigan State v 15 Middle Tennessee

The 4 play-in games are at Dayton on Tuesday & Wednesday and the Round of 64 matches take place on Thursday & Friday.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 19, 2016, 9:12 AM

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So all the First Four and First Round games have been completed and it's been one of the best years ever for upsets. 10 "double-digit" seeds upset higher ranked rivals including a no. 15 Middle Tennessee beating the no. 2 Michigan State, no. 5 Purdue throwing away a large lead in the last few minutes with dumb play and dumb coaching to give no. 12 Arkansas Little Rock the win, just hours after Yale had taken out Baylor in another 5-12 game, and late last night Northern Iowa eliminating Texas. Okay it was only a 6-11 game, but the finish was a shot from inside their own half as time expired.

That's to not even mention Stephen F Austin, Hawai'i...

Bracket for the second round

South
1 Kansas v 9 Connecticut
5 Maryland v 13 Hawai'i
11 Wichita State v 3 Miami
7 Iowa v 2 Villanova

West
1 Oregon v 8 St Joseph's
12 Yale v 4 Duke
11 Northern Iowa v 3 Texas A&M
10 VCU v 2 Oklahoma

East
1 North Carolina v 11 Providence
5 Indiana v 4 Kentucky
6 Notre Dame v 14 Stephen F Austin
7 Wisconsin v 2 Xavier

Midwest
1 Virginia v 9 Butler
12 Little Rock v 4 Iowa State
11 Gonzaga v 3 Utah
10 Syracuse v 15 Middle Tennessee State


With all these upsets, it should surprise no-one that not one of the millions of brackets entered into CBS Sports' competition is intact.


Richard Rundle
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Mar 24, 2016, 10:12 PM

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After all the upsets in Round 1, the following two days saw "chalk" prevail, i.e. results following the normal way of things. We're left in the "sweet 16" with no small schools left, even the two remaining double-digit seeds are Syracuse and Gonzaga, big name schools. It's like if the FA Cup last 16 was made up of virtually all Premier League teams, with a couple of Championship teams that had recently been in the Premier League as makewights.

Anyway the line-ups for tonight and tomorrow:

South
1 Kansas v 5 Maryland
3 Miami v 2 Villanova

West
1 Oregon v 4 Duke
3 Texas A&M v 2 Oklahoma

East
1 N Carolina v 5 Indiana
6 Notre Dame v 7 Wisconsin

Midwest
1 Virginia v 4 Iowa State
11 Gonzaga v 10 Syracuse


Richard Rundle
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Apr 2, 2016, 8:29 PM

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64 of the 68 teams have now gone, and tonight it's the "Final Four".

Three of the four number one seeds went out last weekend and the line-up for what is effectively the semi-finals is

Oklahoma (2) v Villanova (2)
North Carolina (1) v Syracuse (10)

Syracuse could be the first ever double-digit to win the National Championship if they can win the next two games.

Action starts later tonight, with the title game on Monday evening (early Tuesday morning our time)


Richard Rundle
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Apr 4, 2016, 9:02 AM

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After a superb tournament, what we got on Sunday were, to be frank, a pair of stinkers. A combined margin of victory of 61 is the highest of any Final 4 pair of matches ever, and Villanova's 44 point destruction of Oklahoma (with the probable player of the year Buddy Hield) is the largest beatdown of a number 2 seed ever, in any round of the tournament. Villanova shot an unbelievable 71% throughout the 40 minutes.

So after a season where no one team established itself as the best, and for all the talk of a potential run to the title game by a 8 or higher seed, we have a number 1 v a number 2, the ACC Champs v the Big East Champs, two teams that were ranked in the Top 10 pre-season and both spent a spell as number one in the AP poll during the season.


Let's hope the final between North Carolina and Villanova will be a whole lot more watchable. Carolina are currently 2.5 point favourites. I'll take Nova with the points.


AndrewG
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Apr 4, 2016, 9:44 PM

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I was surprised when Villanova were being talked about as a number 1 seed earlier in the year, as the Big East is just not that strong a conference any more. Of course it would be their results in out of conference games that got them their early high ranking, but I am always wary of how much relevance those early season results have when it comes to the Big Dance. On this occasion I should have given them more credit - it was their win over Kansas that convinced me, it was one of those performances that just shouted out 'this is our year'.

The Wildcats have won the national title once before, back in 1985, when there would have been little chance of seeing it on these shores. Reports rate it as one of the greatest college basketball shocks of all time, eighth seeded winners being the lowest in tournament history, and, interestingly in view of their semi final performance, they shot 78.6%, a tournament record for a single game.

North Carolina have rightly been amongst the favourites all year, so, hopefully it will be a close contest, but I will go for a Villanova win. In any case, like most people I think, my natural instinct as a neutral is to cheer on the little guys, and, when you compare the basketball programmes of the Tar Heels and the Wildcats, that is undoubtedly Villanova.

Not sure if I will manage to last to the small hours to see it live or if I will have to watch a re run on Tuesday - at least as long as you don't actively search it out online it is not difficult to avoid finding out the result!


Richard Rundle
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Apr 5, 2016, 4:38 AM

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Re: [AndrewG] March Madness 2016 [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

After the dreadful games on Saturday night, we got a classic tonight!


Villanova win a game that went one way then that, with a long range 3-point "buzzer beater" shot from Chris Jenkins. Carolina had a half-time lead, Nova took a ten point lead with about 7 minutes left but the Tar Heels brought it back and tied it with 4.7 seconds left.


I think you're doing the Big East a little disservice Andrew, now they've lost the "football schools" those that are left are predominantly basketball schools and both Villanova and Xavier have been among the elite this year, Providence had two top notch players (Dunn & Bentil) and both Seton Hall and Butler were worthy NCAA tournament teams.


AndrewG
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Apr 5, 2016, 10:14 PM

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I did say that I felt this was Villanova's year! I managed to stay up to watch it live, but held off from commenting until I had calmed down from the excitement. I don't think I would be overhyping it to say it will be remembered as one of the all time great sporting contests, and, like last years Australian NRL grand final, it had me leaping off the sofa. That's something that doesn't happen very often, but at this rate I will soon need a new sofa!

UNC's three point accuracy gave them the first half lead, but the Wildcats came back strongly after the break to set up that ten point lead. I am happy to concede Richard's point as he obviously has a much more detailed knowledge of the Big East than I have, but I still felt that the experience of the Tar Heels in the ACC, where so many games will go to the wire, worked in their favour. They clawed back level with a superb three pointer of their own, and would surely have carried that momentum into overtime. But 4.7 seconds can be an age in basketball, and what a finish, apparently the first buzzer beater in the national final since 1983.

A word of praise for ESPN for their style of coverage. They cut to Michael Jordan celebrating like any other fan when the Tar Heels hit their late leveller. Great to see one of the sport's all time greats supporting his alma mater, and other reports I have read say he was one of the first to speak to the disappointed losing team in their locker room after the game. Even better that the cameras cut to a shot of Rollie Massimino, the now 81 year old coach of the Wildcats 1985 championship winning team, after the winning basket - the obvious joy on his face was an absolute picture!

(This post was edited by AndrewG on Apr 5, 2016, 10:38 PM)


PaulC
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Apr 6, 2016, 4:20 PM

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In Reply To
I did say that I felt this was Villanova's year! I managed to stay up to watch it live, but held off from commenting until I had calmed down from the excitement. I don't think I would be overhyping it to say it will be remembered as one of the all time great sporting contests, and, like last years Australian NRL grand final, it had me leaping off the sofa. That's something that doesn't happen very often, but at this rate I will soon need a new sofa!


I never had any intention of staying up to watch, but I recorded it and watched it last night, and even though I avoided Richard's post I still managed to learn the result before I watched it ... but it was still exciting stuff.

I then had to find out where Villanova is located - turns out to be a Catholic university in the suburbs of Philadelphia.


Richard Rundle
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Apr 2, 2018, 9:16 PM

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This year's March Madness reaches a conclusion tonight when the 2016 winners, Villanova, take on Michigan. Nova (as they are popularly known) have been one of the top two teams all season, and were the Number 1 seed in their region of the NCAAs while Michigan have never threatened the top of the rankings, but have steadily sat round the 10 to 15 mark all season, and entered the tournament as the 3 seed in their region.

This year's tournament has had two big storylines

The first was the first ever upset of a number 1 seed by a number 16, UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) shocked Virginia. In fact they thrashed them by 74-54. I think the stat before this was that the No. 1s were 135-0 against the 16s. Now of course it is 135-1, and all 16 seeds next year will have a little more belief in their chances. I mentioned earlier that Villanova were one of the two best teams all season, well Virginia were the other and they were officially ranked as the highest 1 seed by the committee that draws up the tournament bracket.

The second major story was the run of a Number 11 seed, Loyola of Chicago. They won their first 3 games by a TOTAL of 4 points, with three different players hitting game winning baskets. Yet they were overshadowed by their talisman, a 98 year old nun by the name of Sister Jean who has been with the team for decades. Her profile grew and grew that by the time Loyola arrived for the Final Four, she was in more demand than their coach Porter Moser and his players. They were beaten by Michigan in the semis while Nova beat fellow 1 seed Kansas.

I was lucky enough to see Villanova a few weeks ago during their conference championship in New York and along with the Vegas oddsmakers and most pundits, am picking them for the title. National player of the year Jalen Brunson will be the best player on the floor, and Mikal Bridges may well be the second best. Give me Nova by 81-72 or something like that.


AndrewG
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Apr 3, 2018, 10:14 PM

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Villanova turned out to be head and shoulders above everyone else, winning all six tournament games by double digits. Whether they were very good or the overall standard a little below par is debatable - probably a bit of both. Certainly the Wildcats were outstanding in their semi against Kansas, arguably the toughest opposition they faced.

The women's tournament actually provided the better entertainment this year, with both semis going to overtime, and the final going down to the wire. I had been rooting for Mississippi State, going for the schools first national title, so the outcome was disappointing, but great sporting entertainment. Some emotional coverage on the Dawgs social media, as their four seniors end their college careers as part of the winningest team in school history, but miss out at the final stage for the second successive year.

 
 


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