And Then There Were Four
I was trying to think of the best way to start this newsletter, but once again the NCAA Tournament has left me stumped. Last week the Tournament walked into the bar and got entirely too drunk, causing him/her to act irrationally inciting incoherent madness, thus, forcing my bracket to look like this GIF.
Needless to say, I, Kevin Luthringer, am out of the running for the chance to win the bracket challenge despite the countless numbers of hours I have spent watching College Basketball the past fourth months. In fact, the two brackets that I filled out and entered in now have a combined total of zero Final Four teams still playing. I say all of this to say, if you are still reading my recap of the weekend's Tourney action, God bless you.
First, let's take a look at the Top Five in the JPP Bracket Challenge as it currently stands. Ole Snake Pearlman has slithered his way to the top of the rankings (85 total points) from fourth place last week. Schweaty Basketballz (82 total points) is second, followed by Bonehammer 1 and Michael Moats (Tied with 81 total points). Then, Cody Lewis (79 total points) rounds out our top five. Shouts to all of you for being smarter than all of the JPP Show hosts (that may come off as a backhanded compliment). We will get into whether or not all of you have a shot to win the whole thing, and if there is an outsider with their hand still in the cookie jar momentarily (Skip to the bottom of the page if you could do without Kevin's commentary and just want to know about scores).
But first, I want to talk about this weekend's action. We had one contestant with the brains (guts?) to pick Loyola-Chicago to reach the Final Four. Job well-done to you Hannah. Hannah also has the most bonus points out of everyone with 24, thanks in large part the Fighting Sister Jeans, I mean Ramblers…
Which gets me to my first point. Sister Jean has now become the face of the tournament, which is all well and good. Except, I would bet that less than half of the people watching the tournament this year even know the name of Loyola's coach (Porter Moser), and I bet a smaller number know the name of their best player (Mount Verizon Conference MVP Clayton Custer), but everyone knows the 98-year-old Nun and team Chaplain for Loyola, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who by the way looks absolutely adorable in a backwards hat.
The whole point of that is to say, while Sister Jean may, in fact, have the Big Man's ear, this team (hold on to your seat here) may actually be good at basketball. Their roster is deep, with a different player being responsible for them winning every round, and they have five seniors and three juniors, so they are the most mature team still standing. I don't know if this run continues to the championship but it sure has left me like this video following each of their victories:
The team they face? One of the most profitable and well-known athletic programs in all of college sports, the Michigan Wolverines. I mean come on, they are sponsored by His Airness, sporting the Jumpman logo on everything they wear…
Fun fact: According to ESPN Stat and Info, since seeding began in 1979, Michigan will be the first team to reach the title game without playing a team seeded 1-5 if the win Saturday. They have been the higher seed in all of their matchups thus far.
At least the right side of the bracket can still recognize itself in the mirror with Kansas and Villanova, two one-seeds staring each other in the face like:
I love a good upset as much as the next guy, but with all of the craziness that happened on the left side of the bracket, we lose matchups like Sunday's, two schools that are among the Blue-est of Blue-Bloods, Kansas, and Duke. That was a fantastic game. Duke fans are most likely upset because they feel that the fifth foul on Wendel Carter Jr. in overtime forcing him to sit the remainder of the game, was egregious.
And, they are (in my opinion) right. In a season where it has seemed like College Refs have been giddy to call offensive charges they shied away from it on one of the biggest stages. It seemed like (after watching the replay 1,983 times while the Ref discussed) that Carter Jr. beat Malik Newman to the spot by a mile. Watching that game was probably tough for Duke Fans (hand up) as they never get a call to go the Blue Devils way… I hope my level of sarcasm doesn't go unnoticed here.
On the last play of regulation Grayson Allen, maybe the most hated player in all of college basketball, had a chance to win it for the Blue Devils. The ball hit every inch of the rim before finally rolling out. The play summed up Allen's career at Duke perfectly.
Then, in overtime Kansas' Newman took the game over, scoring all 13 of the Jayhawks OT points, as Kansas proved to be the better team. Leaving Dukies to sit at home looking like Jerry Seinfeld.
I don't have much to say about Villanova other than they still look like the team to beat in this Tournament. And, Vegas seems to agree, having them as the overwhelming favorite of the four left to win the championship.
On to our scores! Based on our calculations, of the aforementioned Top 5, only three have a chance at winning the challenge; Jake the Snake, Michael Moats, and Cody Lewis. Sorry Schweaty Basketballz, you had a good run and thank you for the donation. As always, PLEASE check your scores and let us know if you see any mistakes. Regardless of our calculations and prognostications, the winner will be the one with the most points.
So, on to San Antonio we go for the Final Four. This time next week we will not only have crowned an NCAA National Champion but more importantly, the winner of the inaugural Just Press Play Bracket Challenge will also be named. Stay tuned to see who gets the prize, and gets to accept (or decline) the opportunity to come on the show and chat it up with three guys who clearly aren't all that bright when it comes to college basketball.
Until next time, PEACE OUT!