Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why Your Team Won't Win The NCAAs, Part I

Right now, there are 67 teams that think they can win the NCAA basketball tournament. (Harvard, on the other hand, thinks they can just buy the entire operation, and so playing in it is kind of pointless.) There are reasons each of these teams thinks they can pull it off, ranging from the perfectly logical ("We're Duke") to the perfectly specious ("Our mascot could eat their mascot"). That being said, only 1 team can be crowned the winner, which means everyone else will fall by the wayside. Here's a look at the reasons some of your favorite squads are doomed:

Team: Louisville
Seed: 1, Midwest Region
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Rose from the dead and hammered Syracuse in the Big East championship game.
Reason They Won't: Midwest Regional includes Duke, Michigan State, St. Louis, OK State, Barragon, and Mothra. Odds are good nobody makes it out of the Midwest because all teams involved have been immolated in the fiery crucible of competition.

Team: Gonzaga
Seed: 1, West Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: They're the #1 team in the country. Have clobbered the likes of Oklahoma, Davidson, K-State and more. Only loss this year was on a fluke shot against Butler. Leveraged their location in the Pacific Northwest to recruit an actual sasquatch to play center for them in Kelly Olynyk
Reason They Won't: People have been saying "this is the year Gonzaga breaks through" for as long as they've been saying "this next David Bowie album's going to be as good as Scary Monsters", and for about as long. Will be positively lost if they don't flame out in the round of 16.

Seed: 2, East Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Won the ACC regular season and tournament titles, the first non-North Carolina school to do so. Shane Larkin is a beast. There's no one on their side of the bracket who hasn't regularly brain-farted games away to teams like Green Bay. Jim Larranaga got George Mason to the Final Four. He could probably get this bunch to beat the Raptors.
Reason They Won't: The lost to Florida Gulf Coast. Even if they win it all, the one thing anyone will ever remember about this season is "lost to Florida Gulf Coast".

Team: Georgetown
Seed: 2, East Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Relentless, disciplined team, Big East regular season champs, beat a murderer's row of Big East teams in the regular season, including Marquette, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Even their losses were generally close. Tons of overtime experience.
Reason They Won't: This team scores about as often as Milhous at a frat party. Scoring, according to some accounts, is an important part of the game.

Team: VCU
Seed: 5, East Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Very few tournament teams have seen anything like the Havoc defense, battle-tested group that's been to the Final Four before. Nobody outcoaches Shaka Smart. Even the guy's NAME is Smart.
Reason They Won't: Lost to Duke. Lost to Mizzou. Lost to Wichita State. Lost to Temple. Lost to St. Louis. Lost to LaSalle. Let me know when you spot the trend here.

Team: New Mexico
Seed:3, West Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Pulled off a spectacular run in brutal Mountain West. Were in consideration for a #1 seed.
Reason They Won't: They don't win if they don't get to the line, and come Tourney time, it's hard for schools w/o bigtime football to get to the line. Funny how that happens.

Team: Florida
Seed: 3, South Regional
Reason To Think They'll Pull It Off: Every single one of their wins was a blowout. Billy Donovan doesn't lose in March, and if he does, he bites the ankle of the coach who beat him and won't get shaken off until after the tournament's over. They play suffocating defense and come at you in waves. Ability to wear orange unashamedly
Reason They Won't: The Gators are to close games what that guy from Extreme was to Van Halen. If they're not running someone out of the building, they're lost. Sooner or later, they're going to run into someone they can't run out of the building.

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