Monday, March 17, 2014

Your Handy-Dandy SECOND Guide to NCAA Tournament Jargon

Last year, we published a guide to NCAA tournament jargon. As part of our ongoing outreach effort to educate, illuminate, and pre-write blog posts for GDC week, we are proud to present a further translation guide of bracketologist-to-English:

"A team no high seed wants to face" - A tournament team from a small (read: one-bid) conference that can play defense, shoot threes, and keep from turning the ball over. Teams like this have a habit of getting hot just often enough to send Kansas home in the first round once every five years; as such, this has become shorthand for "team that has a slim chance of pulling an upset so please watch the first-round games from Dayton". No team with this designation has ever gotten higher than a 13 seed.

"Coach did an amazing job with the resources he had" - Mid-major coach who, though his team's tournament performance, has put his name on the want lists of all the power conference search committees. Pretty much guaranteed not to be back at the same school next year.

"Down year for the ACC" - A standard year for the ACC, as reported by commentators who don't understand that Duke and Carolina can't both go undefeated, every year.

"Experienced team" - Team lacking in NBA talent that went pro after one year, so the upperclassmen stuck around. Not Kentucky.

"Foul" - Something only teams from non-power conferences do in the last four minutes of first round games.

"Got hot at the right time" - Made a run to at least the semi-finals of their conference tourney, beating one or more bored and disinterested tournament teams along the way. Shorthand for "Team that broke the magic 20 win barrier because UNC tripped over its own shoelaces again".

"Next Four Out" - Because expanding the mythical "bubble" keeps more fan bases engaged, bracketologists have expanded the "Last Four In/First Four Out" category to include teams with even more tenuous claims to making the tournament. Essentially the four teams that would make it in if the eight teams ahead of them all spontaneously combusted or lost to Rutgers, even if that's mathematically impossible.

"Non-Power conference" - Athletic conference where none of the football coaches make over $4M/year. Generally restricted to one bid, unless someone puts a gun to the selection committee's head by winning 25 or more games and beating a bunch of football schools.

"Power conference" - Athletic conference that plays big-time football. Which has everything to do with basketball.

"That will affect their seeding" - A team that Dick Vitale doesn't like lost too early in their conference tournament, meaning they've probably dropped a seed line or three.

"That shouldn't affect their seeding" - A team that Dick Vitale likes lost too early in their conference tournament, which will have absolutely no affect on their seed line.

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