OK, this will be a short story. I am waiting for a plane to haul me to sunny southwest Florida for a member-guest golf tournament. If I don’t get something in before take off, I may not be able to communicate in time. So here goes.
Marquette eliminated West Virginia University’s Mountaineers in their first Big East tournament game last Wednesday. Going one and done in the Big East Tournament used to be standard operating procedure for WVU in the early years of their conference affiliation. That has changed under coaches John Beilein and Bob Huggins, except this year when they ran into a Marquette team that routinely gives the Mountaineers fits.
With the early exit from the Big East Tournament, all that WVU fans could do was wait for Sunday’s seedings for March Madness. To the end, the Mountaineers received a five seed. Most of the bracketologists had West Virginia as a five seed at best and a seven at worst. So the seeding was as good as hoped, but the look of the East Region sure takes some luster off the seeding.
For starters, the NCAA has expanded the field to 68 teams this year, so there are now four Tuesday play in games and WVU will get to play one of them in Tampa this Thursday at noon. The winner of the UAB-Clemson game could prove to be a formidable 12 seed, but certain elements will favor the Mountaineers in their tournament opener. The UAB-Clemson game in Dayton was scheduled for Tuesday night at 9 p.m. The advancing team will then have to travel to Tampa for a 12:15 p.m. game on Thursday. Of course WVU’s streaky shooting woes are well documented and when those problems present themselves, any team in the field could be problematic.
Last year, WVU’s exciting run to the final four included an elite eight victory over Kentucky. This year West Virginia, if it advances, will likely find Kentucky in the second round. The Wildcats have a Thursday date with Princeton. WVU’s bad luck here is that Kentucky is a four seed instead of a three or a two. The wildcats had a RPI of nine, so the committee let them slide a little.
The good news is fans, or most of them, can now see all the games without subscribing to expensive TV packages. I was reminded this last week when I was contacting DIRECTV to cancel my auto renewable March Madness package since I would not be home for the first three rounds. The new deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting allows all the games to be televised live to the entire viewing public. The only requirement is you need to receive a CBS channel, TBS, TNT and TruTV to be able to view all the games. An updated schedule with times and channels can be found at http://www.cbssports.com/cbssports/ schedules/page/collegebasketball.
With that, my rusty golf game is heading south. As luck would have it, the first official event of the golf tournament begins 15 minutes before WVU tips. If West Virginia advances, they will play a noonish game on Saturday as well, also a conflict. Will be hoping for some DVR activity.