Day One Quick Hitters:
- Tom Crean: Possibly the best news dump of all time, at least in sports. Well played Hoosiers.
- I know no one cares about other people's brackets so let me get mine out of the way early: 14 of 16.
- My first loss of the day: Vanderbilt. I don't want to rag on a college kid that's not from Iowa too bad but how do you not know the score with 15 seconds left to play?
- Middle Tennessee State. Under-seeded.
- Minnesota. Over-seeded.
- Xavier. Under-seeded.
- Maryland. Over-seeded.
- What's our thoughts on Mike Brey's appearance? At first I thought it was a good look but the more I see of it I'm not sure. A little too something for me now and I don't even know what that something is.
- Randy Heimerman getting the officiating gig in the Purdue-Vermont game. Nice.
- Loved seeing the Florida kid shoot underhanded free throws. Not sure if he's done that all year or not but hopefully that starts becoming more common. Tired of seeing players shoot 60% or worse from the line but not make that adjustment.
- Iowa State with a quality win last night. Played well at times and weathered the storm from Nevada. Good quality tournament win. I actually like their matchup against Purdue.
- Bronson Koenig. Big time performance.
- Nigel Hayes. The type of performance you wish he would have had 10-15 more times this season.
- That Wisconsin-Villanova game is a hell of a Round of 32 matchup. Big time stop on The Greg Gard F U Tour.
An underratedly great part of March Madness for me are the celebrities coming to game to watch their alma mater play. I love those crowd shots. Yesterday had Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bill Murray. Just adds a level of excitement to the game and reminds you how big the stakes really are. Wish we could get more celebrities or stars to come to these games. I know when Wisconsin plays any game there's a good chance Andy North will be there. Then when it gets to the Sweet 16 and Final Four time, Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn will start making appearances.
But maybe all universities don't have those people either. I'm trying to think of who Iowa State would show other than Monte Morris' mom all the time and I can't think of who that'd be. I'm sure I'm missing someone but Hoiberg is busy coaching and I'm not sure CBS would even take the time to zoom in on Marcus Fizer. But other schools should have celebrities to show I'd guess. Just an added touch to the tournament that I realized I really liked yesterday.
News broke yesterday that Dwyane Wade would be out for the rest of the regular season with a fractured elbow. With the Bulls one game out of the 8 seed in the East, what do you think Hoiberg is really thinking? Is he upset that Wade will be out or excited to get the chance to coach his team without Wade in the lineup for an extended period of time? I know Dwyane has played well at times this year and is one of the greatest players of all time, but with his playoff hopes on the line in this final month or so I'm not so sure Hoiberg is too heart-broken to see D-Wade out of the lineup.
Not that the rest of the roster is an ideal fit but Wade on that Bulls roster never made a lot of sense, other than the fact that Wade is a Chicago kid. He's not exactly a Pace-and-Space guy like Hoiberg would like to have and they already had a younger version of Wade in Jimmy Butler. There are other issues on that Bulls roster but that addition just screamed of publicity instead of function, to me at least. With Wade out, made Hoiberg can tinker with rotations and playing styles a little bit more than he would have been able to with an aging Hall of Famer in the starting lineup.
The Bulls have to go 10-6 down the stretch here to get to .500 on the season. I'd guess that would also get them a playoff birth. I mean, you're still probably looking at a first round matchup with the Cavs or Celtics or Wizards though which would probably lead to a first round exit so not there's too much to get up for. But making the playoffs and getting a playoff series is better than missing them all together. Another missed playoff season for Hoiberg would make his already warm coaching seat much hotter. I haven't had a lot of interactions with Chicago citizens this year but if the opinions of the city are reflective of the 3 Uber drivers I've talked to this season about Fred, he's in trouble. They don't like him at all and still LOVE Coach Thibs. Ol' Freddy isn't exactly going to be running for public office in Chicago like he did in Ames anytime soon if you know what I mean. I think this is a big 16 game stretch for Hoiberg.