1) I'm proud to get a 1-seed. Really proud. And excited. It's an honor! And a statement that we've "arrived" as a program.
2) Saw a graphic on ESPN that other than Duke and UNC, we have earned the most 1-seeds in ACC history (as members of the ACC). We have... four, I think? I think this is the fourth. Maryland had one. Wake had one. And that's it. So that's pretty cool.
3) Holy shit, the NCAA Tournament page on Wiki is pretty damn awesome.
4) HERE's a nice bracket you can print at home (read: work) and use for tracking the tournament (read: gambling). Don't feel guilty picking Michigan State to beat UVA in the Sweet Sixteen. It's never a good idea to bet on the Hoos.
5) Okay, let's talk about Michigan State. None of the talking heads seem to think we have a chance against them. In fact, I'd say the pulse of discourse has the Spartans positioned as maybe the 3rd or 4th most popular team to win it all. Florida is #1, red-hot Louisville is up there somewhere, and Arizona.
6) Vegas has Florida as the clear favorite, laying 4-1 odds. Michigan State is #2, at 9-2. Here's the list:
1 Florida 4-1
2 Michigan State 9-2
3 Arizona 6-1
4 Kansas 8-1
~~~ 5-way tie at 5th ~~~
Wichita State 15-1
10 Wisconsin 20-1
11 Michigan 25-1
11 Villanova 25-1
11 Creighton 25-1
14 Iowa State 35-1
14 UCLA 35-1
16 Kentucky 40-1 (pretty good for an 8-seed)
17 North Carolina 50-1
We'll go ahead and stop there.
7) So yeah, Michigan State looms as a very tough potential opponent in the Sweet Sixteen.
8) To Get to the Sweet Sixteen, we have to win two games this coming weekend. The first, against Coastal Carolina, looks like a favorable matchup for the Hoos. The Chanticleers average more turnovers (14) than assists (11) per game, they shoot a pedestrian 33% from deep, and their bigs run about 6-6 / 6-7 (we'll have a huge size advantage). They beat nobody of note, and got destroyed by Clemson, 69-40. I'd equate them to a slightly-better Radford or Liberty, teams we beat by 20+ points BEFORE the "Tennessee Turnaround."
9) Once we get past Coastal Carolina, I'm sure Memphis will await. They face George Washington in the 1st round, and I'm certain they'll crush the Coloniels.
10) Memphis is one of the teams I was really hoping we'd be able to avoid in the Big Dance. Like I said last week...
Those guards are numerous, and all good as shit, and all thrive on the dribble-drive. We thought Seth Allen and Dez Wells were rough? Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon, Geron Johnson, and Chris Crawford are otherworldly as slasher-style scorers. This might be Virginia's nightmare matchup in the entire Tournament field...
11) So yeah, I think we got a tough draw. "Sweet Sixteen or bust" requires a win over the Tigers, so we better nut up for them. The performances in the ACC Tournament were encouraging... to say the least. ACC regular season and tournament champions should have no trouble with the 4th place team from the American Athletic conference. However, I equate Memphis in quality to Pitt, and as we know, those were two tough wins for us to earn. Plus, Memphis poses very specific matchup problems for us.
12) Other teams' draws that I'm jealous of: Florida, Kansas, and Duke.
13) Other teams' draws that I do not envy: Arizona (Oklahoma St. in the 2nd round), Wichita State (Kentucky in the 2nd round, L'Ville in the S16), Villanova (UConn, then Iowa State, then us or Michigan State).
14) Looking at the big picture, I'd say we got a middle-of-the-road draw. Michigan State is a big boulder, but we got arguably the softest 8/9 matchup any 1-seed will face in the 2nd round.
15) You might be tempted to think "we're the 1-seed, we should be able to flex nuts all the way to the Final Four," but make absolutely no mistake --- if/when we face Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen, we will be the underdog.
16) If we somehow get past the Spartans, I fully expect to see Iowa State in the Elite Eight. It's another terrible matchup for us. So if we do go on the miracle run to the Final Four, it truly will be a miracle.
17) I'm so freaking excited right now. What an awesome season, and an awesome bracket to finish it off!
18) We need Joe to go en fuego in this Tournament. We need Brog to keep being Brog. We need Akil to keep being Akil. We need Anthony Gill to continue his storm surge. We need London Perrantes to keep hunting his own shot. We need Mike Tobey to find his offense and his sense of aggression. We need Justin Anderson to make a bunch of Justin plays. We've got the kind of team that can win its regional and advance to the Final Four... now we just need to get it done.
19) GO HOOS!