Monday, March 12, 2007

Poll First, Brackets Later

First of all, a big shout out to Karl Hobbs and the George Washington University Colonials. Back in October, I interviewed Karl for some articles I was writing in the GW game program. I asked him if he was aware that the Colonials had never made three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

"Is that right?" he asked. "I did not know that. But it's a great goal."

The Colonials played ferocious defense in beating St. Joe, St. Louis and Rhode Island to win the A-10 tournament. Critics will note that St. Louis knocked out UMass, and URI took care of Xavier, but after a four-game losing streak a month ago, the Colonials have been on a tear, winning eight in a row. This one is especially sweet for senior point guard Carl Elliott, the only starter to return from last season's historic team, and fellow senior Dokun Akingbade, who came to GW as a walk-on and redshirted last season. Akingbade started 30 games this season and had 15 points and nine rebounds in the A-10 Championship game.

In bracket news, I have no sympathy for Syracuse. The Orange played exactly one nonconference road game this season, courageously venturing 150 miles west to play that notorious hoops powerhouse Canisius. Drexel, by comparison, went 6-2 in their noncon road games including wins at Villanova, Creighton and, yes, Syracuse. So, I don't care that 'Cuse went 10-6 in the Big East, they have to get in line behind Drexel to file a complaint. The guy I feel bad for is my friend Mike Tuberosa, who went to Syracuse and is now the Assistant AD at Drexel. But he did his graduate work at Niagara and worked at GW and Georgetown, so he's got a few horses in the race.

I'll have more bracket observations later in the week. After years of not picking brackets for no good reason, I did fill one out last year, and this year, it looks like I'll be in at least five pools. I will win none of them. I have trouble picking against my sentimental favorites and eventually I make my picks strictly for entertainment purposes, mostly my own. Speaking of my own entertianment, here is this week's Local Poll (Big Stein should have the full results up this afternoon):

1. Georgetown
I’d feel better about their title chances if they also had Michael Graham, Jr.
2. Maryland
Once again, the Terps get screwed because they have to play the conference tournament in a traditional ACC hotbed.
3. VCU
If the Rams beat Duke, the only person happier than head coach Anthony Grant might be his boss, VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Class of 1987.
4. GW
I got your overachievers right here, pal!
5. Virginia Tech
Could not stop the NC State Wolfpack's determined march to the NIT.
6. Virginia
See Virginia Tech, above.
7. Old Dominion
Better not sit Blaine Taylor and Bruiser Flint next to each other at next year’s CAA Preseason Media Day Breakfast.
8. George Mason
Note to the GMU pep band: It’s been nearly a week now, it’s time to stop playing “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
9. Loyola
If it’s March on North Charles Street, that can mean only one thing … lacrosse season.
10. American
They come into your town, they’re gonna party down, they’re an American University.

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