Posted 03/16/2008 at 04:41 PM
4:40 p.m. Eastern: My favorite day of the year has arrived! I have to make an admission, though. This will be my first Selection Sunday not hearing my alma mater's name called in a decade, so I've got that chafeness I'm coping with. It's not consuming me like it was Thursday night after that terrible loss to Alabama. I'm almost over it. Seeing an NIT first-round matchup against the 'Noles would get me past it. After all, The Oh-Fours did hook the Gator Nation up with a couple of banners hangin' from the rafters at the O-Dome -- forever.
I'll chime in on and off all day and into the late evening with thoughts once the brackets come out. And you wanna go to the VI Radio page tonight to listen to the LVSC Selection Show from 10:00 p.m. until midnight Eastern. I'll be breaking down the games involving SEC teams at around 11:40.
To the games in progress...Kansas is clinging to a 64-61 lead over Texas with 9:02 left. I've recovered from Bloody Thursday by going 3-1 yesterday and already cashing Clemson plus 6 1/2 today in its 86-81 loss to UNC in the ACC Tournament finals. (Gotta love that call putting Oglesby on the line shooting 3 shots for the spread cover with 2.2 seconds remaining!)
Georgia's remarkable run continues. The Dawgs, whose wild Saturday was chronicled in my SEC Finals preview, came out on fire and took a double-digit lead in the opening minutes against Arkansas. UGA maintained that lead at 10 when the teams went to intermission. However, the Hogs are on a run and have just cut the deficit to six, as close as they've been since the opening minutes.
I'm on UGA at plus eight and told several clients to get a small taste of the Dawgs on the money line for a plus 320 return. I'm hoping the Dawgs hold on to cap an unbelievable story line that I'll cover at great lengths later. Last wager I have pending: 'over' 111 for Wisconsin and Illinois. Back shortly...
5:15 p.m.: We're just minutes away from the announcement of the 65-team field. Here's the half-dozen teams that are the most nervous and most likely vying for the last 2-3 entries.
Kansas pulled away from Texas and took the cash in an 84-74 win. Do the Jayhawks take a No. 1 seed from Tennessee?
Arkansas is rallying, pulling to within 56-53 with 3:55 left at the "under 4 minutes" TV timeout. UGA had led wire to wire but appears to be running on fumes. This would be so heartbreaking for the Dawgs if they can't hold on. Dave Bliss, who limited skills-wise but has developed into a decent SEC player, just had a shot at a short attempt in the paint, only to be whistled for traveling as he slid his pivot foot while trying to give two Arkansas "bigs" a shot fake. Hogs will have the ball and chance to tie with a trifecta.
My guess is Georgia is going to hold on and win on a big shot from Sundiata Gaines. We shall see...
5:40ish:Dawgs prevail to garner an NCAA Tournament bid. What a story! The dagger did come from Gaines, but in an indirect way. Leading by five with just less than two minutes left, Gaines did a masterful job off the dribble to milk the shot clock, then beat Gary Ervin into the paint and dished out to Billy Humphrey for a wide-open look at a 3 at the top of the key. Humphrey buried it and that was all she wrote.
As I've written and discussed at great length all weekend, Georgia went into Thursday's game against Ole Miss most likely needing to win at least one game to save Dennis Felton's job. Seventy-two hours later, Felton is in line for a raise and a contract extension.
Brackets to be released in a matter of minutes...
A few bracket predictions:
1-I'm guessing Georgia will be No. 12 or 13 seed.
2-Davidson will get slotted in an 8-9 game, possibly to play UNC in a second-round game that would be a rematch of their great game in November that went down to the final minute.
3-St. Joseph's will be the last team "in."
Here we go...
The No. 1 seeds have been announced with no surprises. North Carolina is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Memphis, which will get to play in the South region and in nearby Little Rock the first weekend. UCLA is No. 1 out West, while Kansas takes the Midwest thanks to Tennessee's loss to Arkansas yesterday.
I just switched from CBS to ESPN real quick and the ESPN crew was talking about Virginia Tech. Let me be extremely clear on this subject: It will be a joke if the Hokies are left out. Actually, it'll be a crime. I know Seth Greenberg's squad was completely unimpressive during its non-conference slate, but we have clearly seen that the Hokies are very deserving of a bid with their play the last couple of weeks, including yesterday's heartbreaking loss to Carolina.
7:15 p.m: I'll share a few quick thoughts before getting to a work on a "Bracket Analysis" column.....I think Tennessee was the best No. 2 seed, so why would the Vols potentially have to face UNC, the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, in an Elite Eight showdown? Shouldn't the worst No. 2 seed be in the region with the Tar Heels? I think Arizona should be "in," but how can Arizona St. be "out" when it beat 'Zona not once, but twice.