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Fischer’s Friday Five

Yes, I know it’s Saturday, and I’m sorry I didn’t have a Friday Five yesterday, but unfortunately we had to rush Lucie to the emergency room late afternoon yesterday with heart and liver complications.  Thankfully she’s home now and doing much better, but she needs to go on a radical diet immediately and is on three different types of heart medication to hopefully strengthen her heart and reduce the size of her liver.  Basically she’s fat.  Only 25 lbs, but they say she shouldn’t be any greater than 17 pounds!

So needless to say, she’ll be taking a sabbatical from the blog, which I really don’t mind, because her only contributions have been articles about her love for Mark Harmon and her excessive gas – both of which I can do without.

Back to the Friday Five, thankfully my middle name is Seth, so for one time only (or until I skip the next Friday post again), I give to you a modified column…

I’m Jarrett Seth, It’s Saturday, and here’s my six…


Seems only fitting considering this special time of year.  For the record, I don't think the tournament should be expanded to 96 teams or however many more the committee wants.  I think the tournament is perfect the way it is.  Four weeks and 10 days of games (not counting the meaningless play-in game just to play yourself out two days later) is the right amount.  Between filling out brackets, buzzer beaters, upsets, and so much over-analysis from all the major media outlets, I'm usually exhausted by the time the finals come around.  To add an extra round just to get 32 more "bubble" teams seems like overkill and just a way for colleges and the NCAA to profit more.  If you disagree, look at college football, the majority of the  bowl games are just essentially made up of "bubble" teams playing meaningless games just to money can be made.

One idea I would be open to is expanding the field to 66 teams and taking the so-called last four bubble teams and making them play Tuesday night, with the two winners getting a 12 seed in the tournament.  I think it's kind of cruel to currently make the two worst automatic qualifiers (Winthrop and Arkansas Pine-Bluff this year) to have to play their way into the field of 64.  They already did that when they won their conference tournament, let them get their moment in the big dance, and not in a play-in game.

Honorable Mention: the usual big buzzer beaters - Tyus Edney, Bryce Drew, Richard Hamilton, James Forrest, etc.

Dishonorable Mention: me for falling asleep at halftime of the Memphis/Kansas championship game two years ago, Duke rallying from a 21-point deficit to beat Maryland in the 2001 Final Four, and my brackets just about every year, including this one.

2010 First Round - Thursday's games

Maybe I'm being lazy because I needed a quick six, as opposed to a quick fix, but I don't care, because Thursday was one of the best days of basketball I can remember.  In fact, I'll go as far as to say it was the second best overall day in tournament history (the best day is forthcoming in the countdown).  Look at how it started, a double OT game between BYU/Florida, a down to the wire upset by Old Dominion over touted Notre Dame, and a school or a guy named Robert Morris as a 15 seed, almost pulling off a miracle mega-upset against the 2 seed Villanova.  Unfortunately for Bobby Morris, Villanova had 8 guys on the court in the second half if you include the referees.  If that wasn't enough, we got a buzzer beater upset of Murray St., a huge upset of 3 seed Georgetown to Ohio, the 9th best team out of the MAC conference, a Wake Forest buzzer beater after trailing by 6 with a minute left, a Northern Iowa buzzer beater and an insane comeback by Washington who trailed by 15 in the second half against Marquette.  In fact, the only two games that had no drama were Kansas State's win, which CBS never showed any coverage of, and the late afternoon solo game that never gets air time of Butler/UTEP.  Good day all around.

Drew Nicholas' game-winner vs. UNC-Wilmington, 1st Round 2003

Sure, as a Maryland grad I'm extremely biased (foreshadowing for later  in the top 6), but this was an awesome game-winning buzzer-beater.  I had just moved to Florida a few weeks earlier and that night I was watching my 2-year old nephew while my sister was out.  Since he was sleeping in the room next to where I was watching, I couldn't have the TV on loud or cheer when I wanted to.  So sadly, I sat on the couch by myself, doing silent cheers and golf claps.  Down 1 with 5 seconds left and having to go the full length of the court, Nicholas got the in-bounds, dribbled over half court then to his right and hit a fade-away 3-point with two guys in his face!!!  My first reaction was I jumped up and gave the world's largest silent scream, then for some unknown reason, I took my shirt off and ran outside and did a lap around the house screaming for real!  Living in Florida makes you do weird things.

For those Maryland fans or anyone else wanting to feel nostalgic, here's the highlights of that game set to some In Da Club by 50 Cent.

Christian Laettner's perfect game

I don't really think there's much more that can be said about this game and that final shot.  This was the first big game I ever remember watching and Laettner was absolutely sick that night, almost on a Jordan-esque level.  Outside of the 5 turnovers he had, he was dead-on perfect.  10 for 10 from the field, including 1 for 1 from 3-pt land, and also 10 for 10 from the free throw line for a 31 point, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals final stat line, and of course, the biggest and baddest buzzer beater of all-time that will never be topped.

Unfortunately for Laettner, his amazing collegiate career didn't translate to a great professional career.  Tell us why Rick James....

2005 Elite Eight

This was the best day/round of college basketball I've ever seen, and it was only two games on two days.  Hands down, four of the most competitive games where the outcome was in doubt until the very end.  Actually that's not true, as one of the outcomes seemed to be a foregone conclusion, as Arizona lead Illinois by 15 points with 4 minutes left, only to see the Fighting Illini fight their way back to force the game to overtime and win it after Zona's Hassan Adams missed a buzzer beater.  The other three games were just as great.  Louisville rallied in regulation after West Virginia went cold and then went on to win in overtime as well.  Then the next day, eventual champion UNC held on against a spunky Wisconsin team that was seeded 6th in their region and then the nightcap of the tournament was a double OT thriller between Michigan State and Kentucky that saw Kentucky rallied from a late 8-point deficit and then hitting what appeared to be a game-tying 3-pointer by Patrick Sparks at the end of regulation.  After a 10-minute deliberation and countless reviews, the referees confirmed it was a three and the game went into OT.  But 5 more minutes wasn't enough, as the Spartans needed to a second overtime to clinch the victory and another Final Four berth for Tom Izzo.  Four incredible, three of which needed extra time, and the top seeded team only being upset.

Here's that wild finish of the Michigan State/Kentucky regulation...

Chris Duhon's Meaningless 3-Pointer, 2004 Final Four

This one is for the degenerate gamblers out there, as I will forever remember this moment and its ramifications.  Duke was playing Connecticut with a berth in the finals at stake.  After a back and forth game, UCONN had the win wrapped up when Emeka Okafor hit a free throw with 3 seconds left to give them the Huskies a 4-point lead.  At this point, all the UCONN bettors had to be happy as they were covering the anywhere from 1 to 2.5 point spread.  But Duke didn't just take the inbounds pass and let the clock run out, instead they gave the ball to Duhon who ran upcourt and heaved a long 3-point shot at the buzzer than went in and now all those people who were happy about UCONN covering the spread, were downright miserable.  In fact, ESPN covered the gambling aspect of that shot and how that shot meant a transfer of anywhere from $30-100 million dollars in wins/losses.  (Click here for the article).

On a personal note, this was a dagger for my friendship with Steiny.  He had wanted to put money on the UCONN moneyline to win the game, but I talked him out of it and told him to put the money on the UCONN -1.5 spread, because it paid out more than the moneyline and the only way he would lose his bet is if UCONN won by exactly one point.  Oops.  To this day, we still laugh about it.  Well, I laugh at least.  But since then Steiny stopped taking betting advice from me.  Smart choice.

For nostalgia sake, check out the video around the 8:30 mark...

Maryland wins 2002 National Championship

What else?  This is why I stayed in college for an extra two years, just so I can say I was still at Maryland when they won the national championship.  Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter, Byron Mouton, Chris Wilcox, Tahj Holden, Ryan Randle, Drew Nicholas, Calvin McCall and who can forget Mike Grinnon, Andre Collins and Earl Badu!  Great tournament run - considering they beat NCAA powerhouses Wisconsin, Kentucky, UCONN, Kansas and Indiana along the way.  And it was all capped off with Gary Williams getting to cut down the nets while the students of College Park were lighting couches on fire and partying at R.J. Bentley's!!!

Try not to tear up as you watch the One Shining Moment montage from that year...

Everybody have a great weekend, enjoy the Madness!!!

2 Responses

  1. Sorry to hear about Lucie. I hope she is better soon.

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