Archive for the ‘Bradley's Bracket Fiasco’ Category

Is Tech a bad job? Note all the Georgia products still dancing

Kevin Anderson, then of Peachtree Ridge, now a Richmond Spider. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Kevin Anderson, then of Peachtree Ridge, now a Richmond Spider. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

There are those who say Georgia Tech isn’t a good job. And then we note the word “Georgia” in the school’s name. And then we note the following:

• Kevin Anderson is a Richmond guard who was the Atlantic 10’s player of the year last season and was first-team all-conference this year. He scored 25 points in the Spiders’ NCAA tournament upset of Vanderbilt and 14 against Morehead State. He’s from Atlanta. He played three years at Whitefield Academy and spent his senior year at Peachtree Ridge.

• Jeremy Lamb is a UConn wing who, as a freshman, has scored 30 points in the Huskies’ two NCAA victories. He’s from Norcross. He played at Norcross.

• Chris Singleton is a Florida State forward who returned from a broken foot to score five key points in the Seminoles’ NCAA victory against Texas A&AM and who worked 10 minutes in their upset of Notre Dame. He’s averaging 13 points. He made the all-ACC …

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Would Tech be smart to hire Smart? Or does it need a Buzz?

D-Rad the AD figures to be a ramblin' guy the next two weeks. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

D-Rad the AD figures to be a ramblin' guy the next two weeks. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

The nice thing about this NCAA tournament is that it keeps offering up possibilities for programs seeking a coach, which describes Georgia Tech. (And also Kennesaw State. But no longer Georgia State, which has hired Ron Hunter of IUPUI.) To our Tech short list of last week, we attach Shaka Smart of VCU and Buzz Williams of Marquette. But we affix asterisks to both.

If you’re a program seeking a coach, what you hope is that your targeted man wins an NCAA game to pique your interest — and also your fans’ interest — and then loses before the first weekend is done. The trouble with Smart and Williams, and also Chris Mooney of Richmond, is that their teams are still playing. And a school seeking a coach can’t really interview a guy if his team’s still playing.

Georgia Tech spent last week preparing itself for this week. (Athletic director Dan Radakovich went to Columbus with the women’s team.) …

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Butler fouls! Pitt fouls! Weirdest NCAA ending ever? Yep

OK, you’re asking: Have I ever seen anything like the end of Pitt-Butler? And the answer is:

No, because nobody has ever seen anything like it.

The silliest foul in the history of the Big Dance followed by an even sillier one. An absolutely great game that had an ending to make even the winning coach feel sheepish. And here’s the weirdest part: The refs weren’t wrong either time. Both the goofball fouls — first Shelvin Mack’s, committed 45 feet from the goal, and then Nasir Robinson’s, committed 90 feet from the other goal — were fouls.

If it was unfortunate that such a game was decided by back-and-forth lapses of sense, it nonetheless proves yet again that the NCAA tournament cannot be handicapped or scripted. You can’t write stuff like this. Butler is the most resourceful team in the land and possibly the best-coached, and it messed up. Then Pitt messed up worse. Amazing. But not really.

Because that’s the thing about the Big Dance: These guys aren’t pros, and many of them …

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UGA’s hoops epitaph: It gave itself a chance but lost anyway

The story of a season. (AP photo)

It was both the end of the road and the story of the season. (AP photo)

Charlotte — “Losing in the tournament,” Mark Fox said, his voice a rasp as Friday night became Saturday morning, “there should be no shame in that.” There shouldn’t, and there isn’t. You could even describe the presence of Georgia in the NCAA tournament as a breakthrough. And yet …

The season that ended here didn’t feel quite that emphatic. Georgia won 21 games and made the Big Dance, yes. It also lost 12 games and was gone from the NCAA after 40 minutes that could stand as the season in miniature.

The Bulldogs got what they wanted against Washington — the game, the pace, the score. They just couldn’t win it. “Yes,” said Fox, the Georgia coach, “that was frustrating.”

Two years ago it was possible to wonder if the Bulldogs would ever again grace the only tournament that matters. That they made it in their second try under Fox says much about this coach, and in a different era we would look on Georgia and …

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Live from UGA-Washington: It’s late night at the Big Dance!

Mark Fox at Thursday's practice at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer)

Mark Fox coaches free throws at Thursday's practice. (Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer)

Charlotte – To borrow from the Kenny Loggins song that served as NBC’s theme for the 1980 NCAA tournament — yep, NBC once had the Big Dance — this is it. Georgia and Washington are about to meet, and ’round midnight we’ll know if the Bulldogs will be halfway toward the Sweet 16. And now you ask: Who in his/her right mind would pick Georgia to make the Sweet 16?

Er, me.

I haven’t had a very good tournament, forecast-wise — and we’re only in (Full) Day 2! — but I have made a bit of a comeback from yesterday’s misdoings. I had Arizona over Memphis, George Mason over Villanova, Florida State over Texas A&M. (I also had Tennessee over Michigan and came within 31 points of being right.)

As we speak, I’m seated courtside at Time Warner Cable Arena, and you will be shocked to know there are about 12,000 folks wearing powder blue in the joint. (North Carolina play Long Island in the early …

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What a Fiasco! I’m 5,461st in the NCAA contest I founded!

The ageless Joe Mazzulla and West Virginia had a better day than I did. (AP photo)

The ageless Joe Mazzulla and West Virginia had a far better day than I did. (AP photo)

It’s not exactly a great moment when you awake on the second full day of the NCAA tournament to find you rank 5,461st of 5,742 entrants in the contest you founded. But that’s where I, Mark Bradley, stand in Mark Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco after as bad a prediction day as I’ve ever known. (Which is saying something.)

I went 7-9 in Thursday’s games. My two major upsets — Belmont over Wisconsin and Wofford over BYU — never came close to fruition. The two major upsets I chose not to pick — Morehead State over Louisville and Richmond over Vanderbilt — actually happened. The Michigan State comeback against UCLA fizzled. Old Dominion lost to Butler on a last-second putback. Missouri and St. John’s and Clemson all lost, and only Clemson was ever in its game.

To which I say: Rats. But now we move forward. The good news is that I have all my Elite Eight working. (The less-good news is that only three of …

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Georgia in the NCAA: A good team that still might get it right

The bright lights of the Big Dance shine on the Bulldogs. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The bright lights of the Big Dance shine on the Bulldogs' media session. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Charlotte — Sometimes I feel I’m the lone ranger. I watch Georgia and I see good players, a good coach and a good team. Others wonder why this team made the NCAA tournament field. So I asked Lorenzo Romar about the Bulldogs, and now I don’t feel so all alone.

Said Romar, whose Washington Huskies will play Georgia on Friday: “I definitely don’t see a team that shouldn’t be here. They’re physical. In the paint they’re more than capable of playing well and competing against any team. They’re well-coached. They have a system that you can see they’re disciplined in. They have great quickness, and they really do a good job defending.”

Then, regarding Mark Fox: “You can see he has them playing the right right way. I’m really impressed with how he goes about handling his business.”

Then, regarding Trey Thompkins, the Georgia forward Romar coached this summer as part the USA Select team: “He …

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Chattin’ live on the NCAA tourney, propped-up-feet and all

The channel I'm watching, alas, is NOT truTV. (Photography and podiatry by M. Bradley)

The channel I'm watching, alas, is NOT truTV. (Photography and pedicure by M. Bradley)

Charlotte — Welcome to our third annual live chat off the Thursday afternoon NCAA tournament games. The first two years weren’t without controversy. In 2009 you folks made fun of my TV. Last year the Milwaukee Hyatt impelled me to relocate to Major Goolsby, a sports bar across the street, by delivering the sobering news that it did not offer room service for lunch.

(For breakfast, yes. For dinner, yes. Just not for lunch. Are you kidding me?)

But I digress. And now I move to this year’s issue: Of the 65 channels available on the wide-screen TV here at the Civic Center Marriott, truTV isn’t among them. I confess that I’d never heard of truTV until it came a carrier of NCAA games, but now I know what it is. And it’s not here. So I’m going to miss those games today.

My life: Drama untold.

And here we are again. I’m pretty sure the Marriott offers at least a tuna sandwich if not truTV, so I …

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A Fox, a Byrd and a Jimmer: The Big Dance begins in earnest

Mark Fox used to work for U-Dub. Now he's facing it. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia's Mark Fox used to work at Washington. Now he's facing U-Dub. Small world, eh? (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

The road to the Final Four, which will be staged in Houston, has begun with the newfangled First Four, staged in Dayton. In between much will happen, only some of it foreseeable by human minds. As the NCAA tournament prepares to begin in earnest, we offer a four-pack of foursomes for your perusal.

Four coaching curiosities

Lon Kruger, UNLV: He’s the world’s nicest guy, so what did he do to deserve this? The former head Atlanta Hawk — remember his ill-fated playoff guarantee? — will face one of his former schools (Illinois) in Round 1. Should the Runnin’ Rebels advance, Kruger would surely face the man who succeeded him at Illinois (Bill Self, now of Kansas) in Round 2. And looking way ahead, two other former Kruger employers (Florida and Kansas State) sit in his half of the bracket.

Mark Fox, Georgia: His Bulldogs will meet Washington, which is where Fox began his …

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Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco: UGA to surprise, Buckeyes to win

Don't think UGA could beat Carolina? Georgia Tech did. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Don't think UGA could beat North Carolina? Let's note that Georgia Tech did. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The 24th annual edition of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco — yes, next year will mark our silver anniversary; time flies, huh? — begins with words to commit to memory: The RPI matters. Georgia not only made the NCAA tournament field but made it with room to spare, whereas Alabama, which beat the Bulldogs twice in seven days, wasn’t invited.

But enough about that. We here have a time-honored function, and that’s to pick a Final Four. Here’s mine: Ohio State, Duke, Purdue and Florida.

Regarding Georgia: As a No. 10 seed, the Bulldogs not only avoided having to play a game in Dayton just to get into the big bracket, but they find themselves in a position to do damage. Washington is a nice team — it has a great guard in Isaiah Thomas and some size underneath — but Georgia has good perimeter players and some big guys, too. (And Washington has to travel across country, which never …

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