Sports Tsar’s NCAA Mega First Round Preview Part 1: South Region

by Clayton on March 12, 2012


It’s finally here: The NCAA Tournament Brackets were released today and March Madness sports coverage is in full swing. Over at SI, Luke Winn asks the big questions. On the World Wide Leader, Eamonn Brennan beats a dead horse uses the metaphor of a “road” to describe the tournament. Yahoo’s Pat Forde just barely keeps his Missouri bias in check for his column. And HuffPo Sports? They’re writing about soccer and how kids like to play it.


So while the whole world of sports journalism spins around in search of any possible angle to cover of the NCAA tournament, what is there for poor Sports Tsar?

The only thing Sports Tsar knows how to do:

I’m going to give you a completely biased run down of every single match up in the NCAA tournament. As with football, it’s not about “scores” or “points” or “defense” or “what probably will happen,” this is going to be about my gut instincts. That being said, here’s a rundown of every college basketball game I watched this season in one sentence:

Mostly Ohio State, Kansas to see if I could see my sister in the crowd, some Pac-12 stuff, and I think I might have paid attention to the Big West Championship game.

Not what those in the industry would call “a lot” but I watched enough to not make the mistake of attending the Pac-12 tourney at Staples Center. Seriously, turning on Sportscenter for one minute would have given enough indication that it wasn’t worth their time. But still, they showed up …all 6,747 of them…

So in the immortal words of Chief Jurassic Park Engineer John Raymond Arnold, hold on to your butts:


Ed. Note: I’ll make my predictions for match-ups involving the winners of play-in games after those match-ups are decided. But seriously, do I need to? Lamar is this year’s worst group of seniors and general terrible human beings Cinderellas, baby!

I’ll be rolling these out, region by region as we lead up to the start of the tournament on the 15th. Today, we’ll start with the South Region.


The South region in interesting because if you look at the bracket, it’s location is ACTUALLY in the Northwest corner of the bracket. This just astounds me how the NCAA could get this SO wrong.



Play-In Game

Mississippi Valley St vs Western Kentucky University

I’m going to go with Mississippi Valley St. here. The term “play-in” works well here because I have absolutely no idea which conference either team “plays-in.” See what I did there? Almost as clever as my brother’s Mississippi joke:

“If I was Governor of Mississippi, I’d make the state motto: “ONE MISSISSIPPI” because it sounds strong and only takes one second to say.”

And that is the most anyone will say about this match-up.


8 Iowa St vs 9 Connecticut

Both these teams aren’t very good at shooting free throws. So let’s hope that one of these teams doesn’t start fouling a bunch at the end of the game. It will be very hard to watch. I’ll take Iowa St. because I think their hot shot freshman, Royce White, is going to go off, prompting the “should he leave early” (he shouldn’t) debates.

5 Wichita St. vs 12 VCU

This is a tough call because it combines my mom’s favorite movie (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles) and I think my mom’s favorite song from the 80′s. The connection being “Welcome to Wichita” and Shaka Smart, head coach of VCU, has a name that sounds like Chaka Khan who sang “I Feel For You,” which most people don’t know was a song originally by Prince. Wichita St. is going to try and make it (Purple) Rain on VCU but I believe that the Rams with play the car rental agent to the Shockers’ Neal Page. (VCU’s defense will shut them down.)


4 Indiana vs 13 New Mexico St.

Indiana is the Hoosiers, no one else can claim that. There are literally 25 colleges in the NCAA nicknamed the “Aggies” and New Mexico St. isn’t even the best one. Indiana in a walk.


6 UNLV vs 11 Colorado

Colorado is the only team to make it out of the Pac-12 this season that earned it. And by “earned it,” I mean that they won their conference tournament so “technically” they are given a spot but in all reality there shouldn’t be any teams at all from the Pac-12 Conference in this bracket.

What is the point of hosting a conference tournament? I understand a championship game, but a tournament makes no sense from a competitive viewpoint. The regular season champion of the Pac-12 (Washington) didn’t even make the NCAA tournament after being bounced in the first round of the conference tournament. Even then, they weren’t supposed to be the best team in the conference. That honor is supposed to go to Cal, who got blown out in the second round of the conference tourney by Colorado. Who then went on to beat Arizona (a team pronounced dead in the water following the regular season) in the conference final. Both teams made the tournament.

The conference tournament system benefits teams from big name conferences with weak resumes because it creates national TV matches against schools with well-known names. In all reality, UCLA is not that good this year. Yet, to voters in the polls (most of which don’t watch many games), UCLA is still considered a powerhouse in NCAA basketball. Many of them still think that John Wooden is coaching Lew Alcindor, bread costs a nickel and that this young Adolph Hitler character “seems like a pretty nice young fellow.” They don’t see that UCLA recently got wasted (mind the pun) in Sports Illustrated and wasn’t even the best team in Los Angeles this season. They just see that teams from the Pac-12 like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and California beat a team who used to be good and react accordingly.

The Pac-12 had a down year and deserved one bid at most. Yet, due to the tournament, a team like Arizona was able to play its way in (despite not really beating anyone significant) and we’re not even supposed to question it.


That being said, Colorado is going to win and make everything I just wrote pointless.


3 Baylor vs 14 San Diego St.

If Baylor accidentally leaves a highlighter in their pocket when they wash their uniforms again, expect it to be the biggest thing in uniform news until Nike Oregon realizes that they’re not being talked about, and goes full retard/releases clear helmets. Baylor will win this, but I’m not sure why. I think it has to do with Robert Griffin III (RIP the next 10 years of the Washington Redskins) more than anyone realizes.


7 Notre Dame vs 10 Xavier

This is a classic case of a big conference team (Notre Dame) just happy to make the tournament against a legitimate mid-major contender who won their conference (Xavier). Remember, Xavier was ranked as high as 9th this season and despite have a lull, have corrected the ship and ride a lot of momentum. A lot of times, it’s not the best teams in the tourney, but the hot ones. Xavier fits the mold and wins this game in a classic “not really an upset but it’s Notre Dame so we’ll say it anyways” games (See: Anytime Notre Dame plays anyone in anything).


2 Duke v 15 Lehigh

I hate Duke and therefore will predict them to lose every game in this tournament. Just add “and Duke loses too” to the end of every prediction for these columns and you get a general feel for what I think. I’d explain my distaste for Duke, but I’m not one for preaching to the choir. No one’s on the other side of this issue, much like all this KONY 2012 stuff popping up on the internet these days.

And now we wait for those users who search for KONY 2012 to just start pouring in…



Tune in tomorrow for continued Sports Tsar Coverage of the NCAA Tournament with a Preview of the first round in the West Region.


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  • sportstsar

    No KONY traffic yet. However, there have already been 6 visitors this month searching for “kobe bryant sandwich”

  • richie

    lol i love that u write. popped back up on my rss… was so happy!