So how'd we do on Thursday?
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Not too bad: We missed UALR, we thought Buffalo could pull an upset (they were close), we thought Iona could pull off Iowa State and that Seton Hall would take down Gonzaga.
On the bright side, we did get Butler, UConn, Yale, Wichita and Providence.
Congratulations to UALR and Yale for Thursday's best upsets - and to Providence for authoring the best ending. That was very much worth staying up for.
Locally, Virginia was solid throughout their game, even though Tony Bennett apparently forgot to drink anything for a while.
UNC was shaky in the first half but much better in the second. But make no mistake: the Heels were vulnerable Thursday. We caught some of the press conference on the radio and some of the questions were really interesting, with one reporter asking Brice Johnson about tension with Kennedy Meeks and another asking Ol' Roy Williams why Meeks doesn't jump. Finally Roy got testy when a reporter asked a location-based question and got the location wrong. The gist of the question was right though: did Roy go talk to Bennett about sideline vapors?
Yes he did! But outside, not in the hall.
His well-known and understandable indebtedness to Dean Smith has moved from a keen appreciation of his better to idolatry: Roy now says he "worships" Smith.
We're just guessing here but this could be a movement in Chapel Hill that hasn't hit the media yet. Ol' Roy as high priest in the Church of Dean? He'll need something besides golf after he retires, so there's that.
Smith, a committed Christian, would have been mortified by that comment. But when he's not being snarky, Ol' Roy's emotional metronome often swings between mawkish and maudlin. In fact, given his cursing, his occasional lack of self control and his periodic fits of smarminess, you could say that Ol' Roy is both apostle and apostate.
In another odd aside, he seemed to refer to himself as Leroy.
So on to Friday's pointless predictions!
Dayton over Syracuse. We saw somewhere that Dayton has won eight straight against ACC teams, but that's not why. Syracuse just isn't that great this season. For what it's worth, we think Archie Miller, who has shown real signs of coaching brilliance, is much better at this than is Jim Boeheim. On the other hand, Boeheim has been doing this so long that he's seen just about everything, up to and including dinner in Greensboro.
Villanova over Asheville. Duh.
VCU vs. Oregon State. Hmmmmm. Tough tough call. Our gut says Oregon State. We may regret that one. However, when Montana visited Cameron a few years ago, we were extremely impressed with Wayne Tinkle as a coach. He's really sharp.
Cal over Hawaii.
Michigan State over Middle Tennessee. Double duh.
Temple vs. Iowa. Well there's a tough one. Iowa has really stunk it up lately. Can we just go with Coach Fran? No? Well damn. Iowa then, if we must.
Oklahoma over CSU Bakersfield. Keeping in mind Bakersfield actually has a better tradition than Oklahoma. That's true: Bakersfield had a great, great run in D-II, much like Evansville. It's a basketball school in a way Oklahoma will never be. It counts for something.
Much as we'd like to pick S.D. State over Maryland, that seems unlikely. But the Terps better not sleepwalk here. The Jackrabbits are not bad.
Wisconsin over Pitt.
Stephen F. Austin vs. West by God Virginia. Should be West Virginia, right? Yeah. Thing is SFA is a tough, experienced and well-coached team. West Virginia, reluctantly.
Texas A&M over Green Bay.
Holy Cross could slow the game down a la Princeton - Bill Carmody is a master of the Princeton offense - and frustrate the Ducks, but just can't see it. The Princeton offense isn't always what it's quacked up to be.
Oh man....Weber State is another one of those hidden land mines. They have huge tradition there. Great program. But that Xavier 1-3-1 is funky and difficult. So don't fire the Musketeers.
Notre Dame should beat Michigan but the guards need to contribute more.
Finally, we'll take the Bearsplats over St. Joseph's.