I didn't see the entire episode of The Bachelor's finale last night but I saw enough to know Vanessa and Nick have no future together. I got home last night right before Nick's proposal to Vanessa so I missed everything leading up to that including Raven's rejection. I'm glad for her though, she wants no part of Nick long-term. Probably best to cut bait now and move on to bigger and better things. Some Quick Hitters about the rest of the episode though:
- A lot of award hand holding during Nick's proposal to Vanessa. They were doing some mirror-like hand pressing with each other or something and it was just.....weird.
- I know love isn't all about being "head over heels" all the time but Nick had a certain look and giddiness while being around Andi and Katlyn....that's just not there with Vanessa. Vanessa is great and probably too good for Nick, but just reading body language it's fairly obvious to me that the same spark isn't there.
- September 14, 2017 is where I'd set the Over/Under for the public breakup date between these two.
- I don't like Raven going to Paradise. Seems like a step down for her. I don't know what her next move would have been but going to Paradise and continuing on with the Bachelor life seems like a disappointment.
- Hopefully the "start the next season right now!" move will be a 1-and-done. That wasn't good. Think it had more to do with Vanessa/Nick not being a great match and needing to fill time but that didn't work for me. I'd guess ABC also wanted to get a foot in the viewing audience's door with a season with their first black Bachelorette as the lead. Not sure that accomplished much though.
- Eric from Baltimore seemed fun. The white guy who said "I plan on going black and never going back" on national television....not so much.
Not only is it time to start filling out your NCAA bracket but it's also time to start filling out your Flyover Sports Podcast bracket as well. I'll be filling mine out here for the next three days. I'm going to start with the two regions on the lefthand side of the bracket.
For the rest of the region:
- (4) Tirico over (5) Andrews: I've been over the Erin Andrews hype for the better part of 4-5 years now.
- (6) Dakich over (3) Gruden: I actually enjoy Dakich calling games and think Gruden is a little too much of a charactiture at this point.
- (2) Patrick over (7) Bilas: Paired against a different #2 seed and Bilas may have had shot but Dan Patrick is too much for Jay to overcome.
- Then eventually I have Jim Nantz over Dan Patrick to get to the Final Four. This will be the premiere matchup of the Elite Eight. Whoever wins this one will have earned their Final Four trip. Nantz is jut too strong for me to drop before the Final Four though.
In the bottom region, I didn't come into this tournament expecting to take Colin Cowherd to the Final Four but that's just where the bracket too me. I really think this region is wide open. I don't expect the voters in the pools to advance Cowherd but he'd be my pick. I think the 6 and 7 seeds really have a strong chance to make a Cinderella run in this region to a Final Four. Musberger is very likeable but I don't think he's a strong 1 seed that will roll through the region. Potential is there for many people to make a run.
For the rest of the region:
- (1) Musberger over (8) Walton: Musberger may not be a dominant 1 but he's not losing in Round 1 either.
- (4) Cowherd over (4) Bayless: My prediction is also that this is the 1st Round matchup with the least amount of votes.
- (6) Barkley over (3) Michaels: Charles is just too likeable and Michaels is really good at his job but doesn't have the personality to make a run in this tournament.
- (2) Vitale over (7) Ueker: Bob Ueker was one of my guys to get cut from the tournament so I can't have him winning a matchup too.
- Ultimately I have Colin Cowherd advancing to the Final Four with a win over Charles Barkley. These are who I would pick, not who I'm predicting will win. No way Cowherd has enough public support to beat Chuck in a Twitter poll. I'd actually put Barkley as the favorite to come out of this region. I think Vitale and Musberger also have good chances to do so. This region is wide open.
Back tomorrow to fill out the other side of the bracket. Final Four predictions on Thursday.
And just to show Hawkeye fans some love I'm going to talk some NIT here in this final section. I didn't think it was right to be filling out NCAA brackets, and Big 12/Big 10 brackets, and Flyover Sports Podcast brackets, and leave the Hawkeyes out of everything. I mean, technically they were part of the Big 10 bracket stuff but they weren't in that tournament very long and didn't put up much of a fight in it so they were easy to overlook. Now I'm not actually going to fill out an NIT bracket but I'll at least provide an overview of my predictions at the end.
Most blogs wouldn't even give the NIT Tournament a look, but not here! Let's talk about the Iowa Hawkeyes and the NIT Tournament. I know this is an important time for Hawkeye fans and I want to give them their moment of glory as well. I really think the Hawkeyes have a great chance of making a run in this tournament. Fran McCaffery seems to struggle in most tournament settings but that doesn't correlate to the NIT Tournament for some reason. His teams shine with the lights shine the dimmest. Despite having a losing record at Iowa in both the NCAA Tournament and Big Ten Tournament, Fran has a lifetime record of 5-2 in the NIT Tournament and is poised to make another run this year. The Hawkeyes had a magical NIT run in 2013 that saw them get all the way to the Finals, could 2017 be the year Iowa finally gets over the hump and wins the Kinda Big One? . 2-7 Big, 5-2 NIT.....4 as better seed.
I know what you may be thinking, "Can Iowa really make a deep NIT run after such a disappointing showing in the Big Ten Tournament?" Absolutely! That's right in Fran's wheelhouse. The Hawkeyes under McCaffery are perennial duds in the Big Ten Tournament with a lifetime 2-7 record. And it's not like they are just drawing bad matchups. Of those seven losses, four have been when they are the higher seed. The much higher seed actually. Fran has lost Big Ten Tournament games as a 7 against a 10, a 5 against a 12, a 5 against a 13, and a 6 against an 11. That shouldn't happen that consistently. But despite those downfalls, the Hawks show up when the NIT rolls around. They don't let that embarrassment and disappointment resonate with them. They get right back out on that NIT court and play some above-mediocre basketball at an occasionally high level.
So a quick look at their region shows they actually have a tough path to the NIT Final Four. They should be able to get by South Dakota with no problem but TCU waiting in the next round is a tough NIT matchup. If the Hawkeyes weren't coached by someone who has such great success historically in the NIT Tournament I'd probably pick the Horn Frogs but you can't count out Fran McCaffery in the NIT. The NIT is basically Fran's Time. So give me Iowa to pick up the win there.
Next they'd probably have to face Clemson with a birth to the NIT Final Four on the line. Clemson is an above average basketball team this year, not good by any means but at least above average, but unless Dabo Sweeney is helping coach the Tigers or Deshaun Watson plans on lacing 'em up for the first time in the NIT I just don't think they have the firepower to match an NIT juggernaut like the Hawkeyes.
That would get Iowa to the Final Four. From that point, it's really anyone's tournament depending on who actually gets there. NIT tournaments are hard to predict because a lot of teams just bag the season and aren't that focused during that stretch. Upsets are abound. So I have no idea who else will be joining Iowa in the NIT Final Four. For the sake of predictions though, I'll take Monmouth, Colorado State, and Illinois State as my other three teams. It's really hard to see any of those teams competing with the Hawkeyes though. This really could be Fran's year.