Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bracket Busted?

            The most exciting two days in the 2019 sports world have come to a close, and they did not disappoint. New stars and Cinderella stories have emerged.

            Thursday started it off with four fairly predictable upsets, two of which I called for on Tuesday and a 3rd I bet last minute after the Howard suspension for Syracuse. The fourth one (Minnesota) I just didn’t see coming but, according to my betting account balance, three out of four ain't bad when it comes to plus money underdogs! The upset I called for that didn't happen was New Mexico St. over Auburn. If you were with me you know a last 10 seconds of horror snatched victory out of our grasp.

            What I learned on day one is there are two players in this tournament that are not as talked about as Zion Williamson but are still NBA talents who will leave their mark on this tournament. Naz Reid for LSU is 6'10", has a solid frame, and moves well. He needs to work on his perimeter game to fit in the current league but, he has a real shot. Ja Morant has all the skills it takes to be a guard in the NBA today. Because of high school kids getting drafted in the past, and now the one and done rule, I haven't seen a sophomore this talented in the NCAA since the early '90s. Because of these two men amongst boys, I will be changing two of my previous picks to make the sweet 16 for Saturday's betting purposes: 1. LSU will not be upset by Maryland as I previously predicted. 2. Murray St. will pull off the upset eliminating Florida St. Other than those two, my bracket predictions remain as is for the other games on the first day of round two. You can take a look at my picks on my previous post, "How to Pick the Perfect Bracket."

            I know Gonzaga looked good against the 16 seed in round one but, I still don't get how they got the one seed over Michigan, Michigan St. or Tennessee. At first glance, I thought the committee did them a favor, giving them probably the easiest overall region of the four. But, after round one, it is clear to me, Morant and his Murray St. Racers have a real shot at moving on in this tournament and sending the Bulldogs home early!

            With both of my beloved Iowa teams taking the court Friday, I spent more time being a fan and less time being an analyst. Hawkeyes kept my heart racing and got the come from behind win. However, the Cyclones could not quite complete their own comeback and fell to Ohio St. making the Big Ten 7-1 in the opening round of the tournament.

            Friday was another good day for my betting account's bottom line and it was for yours too if you took my three suggested underdogs. For those of you who missed it (Tim) I tried to tell you on Tuesday that UCF is good: "UCF is a veteran team with a 7’6” giant and this time of year experience and size can quickly take over a game." With Washington, UCF and Liberty each getting the W, it made for a real nice 14/1 money line parlay.

            Lastly, what in the world is this "player's cylinder rule"? I knew a player could not touch the ball when it is on or above the cylinder of the rim, but did you know in 2016 they instituted a rule that says a player cannot invade the space immediately around an opponent? Is it just me or does that basically mean touching the air around another player is a foul? Doesn’t that essentially make it illegal to strip another player of the ball, even if you don't touch them? I'm pretty sure I've seen a couple hundred missed calls on that rule in the past three years. That is until Friday when out of the blue, it was called twice, and of course, both times against the team I was rooting for.

            If you are following along, you know my bracket looks fairly average. The good news for me is I've only lost 1 sweet 16 pick! For my thoughts throughout the day during the tournament follow me on twitter @Jake_Ruch. Let the madness continue…

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