LITTLE ROCK — A pre-tournament advocate of bonus points for picking upsets, going conservative was costly.
The raw numbers were 31 of 48 correct with the best of the no-fee bracket only one better at 32. But, Jamie — if that really is the leader’s name — got a gazillion points for Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown, La Salle over Kansas State, and California over UNLV. In retrospect, he or she deserved every one of those bonus points for picking a 15, 13, and 12 seed to win in the first round.
In my bracket, No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State was the lone out-on-a-limb pick and the only No. 9 selected was Missouri, which lost to a Colorado State team that made half of its three-point attempts and shot 49 percent from the field. The saving grace is that my Final Four teams — Indiana, Louisville, Ohio State, and Kansas — are still playing. So is “Jamie’s” pick, Miami.
Rather than an itemized accounting of contests watched or not, suffice it to say the eyes should be well rested for the next round of games. With the staggered start times last week and the constant updating of scores at the top of the screen, it was easy to tune in for the finish of any game that piqued the interest. Plus, a lunch with one granddaughter on Friday and a daylong date with the other on Saturday is much more memorable than a three-pointer missed or made at the buzzer.
Indiana vs. Temple was circled on Sunday because the Hoosiers are the pick to win in Atlanta, but the halftime break didn’t jibe with the dog’s routine and the pause was on for almost 15 minutes. Fast forwarding, the score went from Temple 33-32 to Temple 46-45.
Indiana scored the final 10 points, including an important three by Victor Oladipo with 15 seconds to play.
Already, many of the results from Thursday and Friday are forgotten. By the time that Miami tips against Marquette on Thursday night, I’ll have to reference a bracket to recite who the Hurricanes and Golden Eagles eliminated. Same with the other 14 survivors.
Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle, Oregon and Wichita State are the darlings of the tournament at this point and rightfully so because they were all seeded No. 9 or higher. But, six of the top eight and 11 of the top 16 seeds are still involved. It’s also possible that the NCAA selection committee made mistakes in the seedings.
Several analysts contended the seeding of Oregon and Oklahoma State should have been reversed and it has been duly noted that Florida GC beat Miami, the team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and ACC Tournament. On the other hand, those same analysts made No. 3 New Mexico a sheik pick for the Final Four and pronounced that Kansas would rout Western Kentucky. The Lobos lost to the brainy guys from Cambridge, Mass., in the first round and the Kansas final was 64-57.
The point is that one score can be extracted from the 48 last week to support a particular theory or shoot down another. The recurring theme is that there are plenty of players in the country and that it is much easier to build a basketball team that is competitive on the national level than it is to succeed in college football.
With the apparent parity, would fans watching on TV be able to identify the favorite if it was white uniforms vs. red or grey vs. blue?
The things I do know:
• Basketball is impossible to officiate.
• A ton of in-close shots are missed.
• The mid-range jump shot is a lost art.
• Good three-point shooting is a must.
• Free-throw shooting is ordinary.
• The NCAA champion will have at least five losses.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.