As my good friend Greg Larson says, “Now is when the REAL tournament begins…”.
The Sweet Sixteen cranks up, and by Sunday evening we shall have the Final Four, ready to head to Detroit. The field, for all intents, has held to form as they were seeded, with both the South and East Regional brackets going with the #1-4 seeds. The only lower seed still in the mix is the #12-seed Arizona Wildcats, and they of course are a major program with a fine pedigree. If I remember correctly, this is pretty-much what I predicted.
We should see some good games played this weekend. We could end up with four Big East teams playing in Detroit, with the #3-seed Syracuse Orangemen still alive in the South, to go with the other #1 seeds. We could also see three Big 12 teams in the Motor City as well, with Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri still playing. Or, we could end up with Big 12 teams Michigan St. and Purdue in the Final Four. The Spartans would almost feel like they’re coming home if they make it to Detroit.
Last year, for the first time, we saw all four #1 seeds get thru to the Final Four. That is entirely possible again this time. Louisville, UConn, Pitt, and UNC are all playing good ball, and while their roads are entirely paved, they all have a good shot at making it. We shall see.
Meanwhile, in the first two rounds of action, I think CBS has done a pretty good job in their televising and commentary of games. We haven’t seen bad switch-offs from games we were watching, as we have seen in the past, and the guys calling the action have done a good job, as well. The only point I’ll make is that I believe Clark Kellogg is not the best color analyst CBS has, and that I liked Billy Packer.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
The World Baseball Classic is over and done with, and now teams can have ALL their players back in Camp and ready to go, now with only a few weeks before the start of the season.
While the final contest between Korea and Japan was entertaining, the bottom line here is that the whole series itself is a little bit of an obstacle for Major League teams and fans, to say the least. Most American baseball fans don’t give a crap about the USA team and how it performs in the WBC. They are too focused on their hometown team and what its doing in Spring Training.
In the Asian and Caribbean nations, however, baseball fans are very much into their national teams and how they are performing in the WBC. Fans in Puerto Rico, the Dominican, Japan, and Korea were totally in to their team and how it did. The bottom line here is that interest in this event is varied around the world. In the U.S., I would say a lot of fans are indifferent about whether its played.
While there were only slight injuries to a few players playing in the WBC, then heading to Spring Training, I’m sure almost every Manager would have felt better having their boys back in camp and playing, as opposed to being somewhere else, as all squads prepare for the season. I’ll be curious to see how players on the various teams will perform in the Major Leagues this season. If they have subpar years, then a lot of critics will blame their play in the WBC as being a hindrance.