Home cooking in 1974
It is always nice to be remembered. (Link)
1974 â€“ NC State (@ Greensboro) â€“ 80 miles. This NC State team led by David Thompson was really, really good, but make no mistake, UCLA in the semis and Marquette in the finals were playing road games. There was a serious pride of basketball in the ACC at that time and they were intent on showing how good their league was by packing the house with NC State partisans and cheering the Wolfpack home to victory. NCSU was good enough to win those games without fan support, but old-timers still like to talk about how great their local support was there.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants made Duke a 7-5 favorite to win the title and a 2.5-point favorite to beat West Virginia in the semifinals on Saturday night, oddsmaker Kenny White said.
White said either Duke or West Virginia would likely be favored over Butler or Michigan State in the finals.
The Las Vegas-based firm that recommends betting lines to 90 percent of sports books in Nevada said Butler had a 5-2 chance of winning the title and put West Virginia’s chances at 2-1 and Michigan State’s at 17-5.
The firm said Butler is favored by 1.5 points in its game against Michigan State.
The Las Vegas Hilton, which listed Duke as a 6-5 favorite and Michigan State as an 11-2 underdog, saw bettors flocking to Butler at 7-2 odds to win the title, said Chris Graham, race and sports coordinator.
Five Final Four Storylines you will be sick of by Saturday
Link includes bonus of five storylines that won’t get the kind of attention they deserve.
# The comparison of Butler and the movie Hoosiers: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re guilty of it already, I know. But it is just too easy! I mean, the connections between Butler and both Hickory High — the fake state champion — and Milan High — the real state champion — are uncanny. Small schools, Hinkle Fieldhouse, etc.
# Duke’s return to the Final Four is a conspiracy: The Blue Devils ran through the weakest region of the tournament, advancing as the only #1 seed in the Final Four. They were on the receiving end of a couple of beneficial calls in their Elite 8 game as well. Connect the dots, and it can only be a conspiracy to get Duke back to the Final Four for the first time in six years. Right?
# Tom Izzo is god: Never bet against Tom Izzo in the tournament! Six Final Fours in 12 years! Greatest coach ever!? Yes, Tom Izzo is a fantastic coach. I’m not denying that. But come Saturday you are going to be done reading about it.
# Parity and madness: When a mid-major is involved in a Final Four with two five seeds, of course the “parity” of college basketball and the “madness” of March is going to be discussed at length. But keep in mind, Duke and West Virginia are two of the five best teams in the country. Michigan State and Butler were both top 10-15 teams in the preseason. Michigan State’s seed no longer matters in March, and Butler was underseeded as a five and has won 24 straight games and 32 on the season. You can’t do that if you are not a very good team.
# Butler is hosting the Final Four: Yup, Butler is in Indianapolis. The Final Four is in Indianapolis. Not only is Butler the first school to play in the Final Four in its home city since UCLA in 1972, they are also hosting it. Not hosting in the sense that the games are being played in Hinkle, but hosting in the sense that they are throwing the party; Butler is responsible for coordinating a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that happens.
You vs the Media in Final Four picks originally posted on March 29th
Thanks to the Big Lead for tracking how the know-it-alls did when it is time to put their expertise on the line. Link to article.
FWIW, I had the exact same Final Four as The Big Lead – Kansas, Syracuse, Duke & West Virginia. I was fortunate enough to get both regional finals correct with Duke’s win over Baylor and West Virginia’s win over Kentucky. But, I took a beating on the other side of the bracket.
Dick Vitale, ESPN (KSU, Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova)
George Dohrmann, Sports Illustrated (Syracuse, Kentucky, Ohio State, Texas A&M)
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova)
Gary Parrish, CBSSports (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor)
Jason King, Yahoo! Sports (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor)
Mike Huguenin, Yahoo! Sports (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova)
Gerry Ahern, Yahoo! Sports (KSU, Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova)
Mike Golic, ESPN Radio (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor)
Scott Van Pelt, ESPN (Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor)
All others with at least one team in included some combination of Duke and West Virginia, although few had both (Bill Simmons, Seth Davis, Joe Lunardi, Mike Greenberg, Gregg Doyel, Jason McIntyre, Tim Layden, Andy Staples,). John Smoltz, whose brackets we suggested you pay close attention to a couple weeks ago, was the only one to pick Michigan State to advance from the Midwest Region. Smoltz is a Spartan alum and picks them every year, so does that mean heâ€™s just a lucky homer or knows something we donâ€™t?