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Let the Madness Commence

UMBC basketball coach Randy MonroeFirst, the good news: a Maryland team will win a game in this year’s NCAA tournament.

The bad news: it will be the play-in game.

On Tuesday night, Mount Saint Mary’s will take on the surging Coppin State Eagles in the “opening round” game. The winner earns the right to get throttled at the hands of UNC.

My beloved UMBC Retrievers, meanwhile, play on Friday against Georgetown. I like the fact that it’s an all-local matchup, but man…that’s a tough draw. I’ll keep hope alive, of course, but this looks to be a situation where just getting there is the victory.

I could be wrong, but this bracket doesn’t seem to include any great injustices or surprises. Everything feels pretty right.

The Loss Column will be setting up a brackets pool on CBS Sportsline, but there won’t be a buy-in or prizes. Unfortunately, there’s no feasible way to collect money because PayPal shut me down last year. So we’ll be doing it for sheer joy and bragging rights.

Consider this your pre-Tournament open thread and let it fly in the comments.

3 comments to Let the Madness Commence

  • Zak

    Yeah, the Hoyas are a tough draw. But, hey, at least they’re the weakest of the #2 seeds.

    Anybody else making the trip down to Raleigh?

  • neal s

    I can’t agree that G-Town is the weakest of the #2 seeds. I actually thought, going in, that they had the talent to be a #1. I think they’re practically a lock for the Final Four.

    I wish I was making the trip to Raleigh. If you’re going, Zak, would you have any interest in writing a guest post or two about your experiences?

    GO DOGS!

  • Zak

    Hmm, I see it differently about Georgetown, mainly because of the other #2s:

    Tennessee dominated the SEC all year; they’re crazy athletic and score a ton of points in transition (Lofton and Smith nailing 3s); and their non-conference schedule is solid (wins over Memphis, Xavier, and Gonzaga). I think they’re the best 2. And I’d argue (albeit futilely) that had they not lost to the Hogs in their opening game of the SEC Tourney, they could sniff a 1.

    Texas finished tied for the Big 12 title (with Kansas, whom they beat), and their non-conference wins have been huge — manhandling Tenn. by like 20 and taking down then-#1 UCLA in Pauley. They’re well-seasoned, and D.J. Augustin is a beast.

    Duke is Duke — solid defense, 3-pointers, awkward bench high-fives. Even though they scuffled a few games within the ACC, they’ve looked unbeatable at times (think at Carolina). There’s a reason Krzyzewski has the most wins in NCAA Tourney history (that might be just among active coaches –I’m too lazy to look it up). They’re well-disciplined and won’t overlook anyone (VCU was an aberration last year).

    Georgetown, meanwhile, is good, don’t get me wrong. They did win the Big East, their guards can hit from anywhere, and Hibbert’s really tall. But their non-conference schedule is weak at best (the only real team they played, Memphis, beat them soundly). And, I just don’t think the Big East (or the Big 10, for that matter) is any good. Marquette, Notre Dame, UConn, Pitt … I’m not sold. With the exception of Pitt beating Duke, I can’t think of a big non-conference win for any of those teams.

    Anyway, like I said, the Hoyas are good (frankly, I’ll be thrilled if we keep it respectable for a half). I just don’t think they’re better than the Tenn., Texas, or Duke.

    I’d love to guest write about the trip down to Raleigh, Neal. Lemme know what you have in mind.