Stream of Consciousness 1st Round Picks – NCAA Tournament

My fascination with Bob Huggins and his physical transformation causes me to pick his team every year in the NCAA tournament.
My fascination with Bob Huggins and his physical transformation causes me to pick his team every year in the NCAA tournament.

If you’re looking for a link to a printable bracket, here you go. 

I’ve decided to publish my picks for the 1st round NCAA games using my tried and true strategy of looking at the teams, spending 10 seconds remembering whatever useless knowledge I have stored up about their programs (95% of the time that knowledge is outdated but somehow relates to Memphis), and then choosing a team based on no sound reasoning whatsoever.

This is a totally unresearched column. All this information is from the deep recesses of my mind.

I have never won a bracket in my life.

The picks:

MW No.14 Northeastern vs. MW No.3 Notre Dame Memphis has virtually no memorable history with either program. However, when then Memphis State was making its magical 1992 Elite 8 run with Penny Hardaway, a young head coach named Mike Brey was getting his start at Deleware. Why do I remember this? I have no idea. Brey is now the longtime coach at Notre Dame, so I’ll go with the Irish. Thursday, March 19 12:15 pm CBS
S No.14 UAB vs. S No.3 Iowa St. Memphis has a long history with UAB, from their shared heritage (Gene Bartow, Larry Finch) to their time together in CUSA. However, the history is not an all-together friendly one – highlighted by the infamous 2008 Pierre Henderson Niles incident in which the burly Memphis reserve smacked a screaming red-neck in the face. In the early 1990s, Iowa State was led by Johnny Orr, then Tim Floyd and Larry Eustachy. Orr coached Fred Hoiberg – who is now the Cyclones head coach. I’m going with the Cyclones. Thursday, March 19 12:40 pm truTV
W No.14 Georgia St. vs. W No.3 Baylor Baylor crushed Memphis earlier in the year and is led by a coach – Scott Drew – who was almost named the Memphis coach in 2009. Their old coach covered up a murder. I was admitted to Georgia State law school in 1999, but opted for Memphis instead. Therefore, Baylor. Thursday, March 19 1:40 pm TBS
W No.15 Texas So. vs. W No.2 Arizona Texas Southern is coached by Mike Davis – formerly of UAB and Indiana. What I love about Davis is when he was at UAB he would openly admit that his teams had no chance of beating Memphis. He did this even after John Calipari had left and Memphis wasn’t really that much better than his Blazers. Arizona is obviously the alma mater of current Memphis head coach Josh Pastner. Pick: Wildcats. Thursday, March 19 2:10 pm TNT
MW No.11 Texas vs. MW No.6 Butler Memphis beat Texas in 2008. My sister graduated from Texas. Butler used to be a really enjoyable program to watch when they were unique and plucky. Pick: Longhorns. Thursday, March 19 2:45 pm CBS
S No.11 UCLA vs. S No.6 SMU I love Larry Brown. I love Larry Brown. I love Larry Brown. I love everything about Larry Brown. I love his career, I love his interviews, I love his job hopping history, I love the way his teams play. I love the way he’s totally miserable all the time. I love that he has SM freaking U in the tournament. Am I the only person that remembers the Matt Doherty era? Robodoh? Good lord I love Larry Brown. Pick: Mustangs. Thursday, March 19 3:10 pm truTV
No.11 Ole Miss vs. W No.6 Xavier Go to hell Ol’ Maid. Pick: Muskies. Thursday, March 19 4:10 pm TBS
W No.10 Ohio St. vs. W No.7 VCU In 2007, I went to San Antonio and watched Memphis lose in the Elite 8 to Greg Oden and Mike Conley’s OSU team. The only thing that took the sting away is that the Buckeyes had reached that game by delivering a crushing loss to the UT Vols a few nights earlier. I can remember at least 2 occasions in which VCU has beat Memphis off the top of my head – once in an early 1990’s non-conference road game, and once in that Bahamas ball room just a few years ago. I don’t like either program, so I’ll go against what’s sure to be the most popular choice. PIck: Buckeyes. Thursday, March 19 4:40 pm TNT
E No.16 Lafayette vs. E No.1 Villanova Obviously my oldest memory of Villanova was them beating Memphis State in the 1985 Final 4. Sons of bitches. I lived in Philadelphia from 2004-2009. Also, they’re a #1 seed. Pick: Wildcats. Thursday, March 19 6:50 pm TBS
MW No.9 Purdue vs. MW No.8 Cincinnati Long history with both of these programs. Obviously Cincinnati is one of the longest standing Tiger rivals. Too much history to even go into. The Boilermakers and Tigers have met before as well, most memorably in the 1995 NCAA tournament when David Vaughn hit a shot with under 3 seconds to go to advance Memphis to the Sweet 16. Sure, the late Lorenzen Wright pulled a Purdue rebounder down by his jersey on the play and no foul was called – but that made sense considering Boilermaker coach Gene Keady had the worst combover in the history of humanity. Pick: Bearcats. Thursday, March 19 7:10 pm CBS
W No.13 Harvard vs. W No.4 N. Carolina Jeremy Lin vs. Roy Williams. Pick: Tar Heels. Thursday, March 19 7:20 pm TNT
S No.12 SF Austin vs. S No.5 Utah SF Austin beat Memphis in Memphis this year. Pick: Lumberjacks. Thursday, March 19 7:27 pm truTV
E No.9 LSU vs. E No.8 NC State LSU coach Johnny Jones was Memphis’ interim coach in 1999 after their current head coach, Tic Price, was dismissed on the eve of the season when it was revealed he had a violent domestic abuse situation with a student. The whole situation was crazy, and Johnny Jones almost got the permanent job at Memphis instead of John Calipari. Since that time, Jones has had a nice run at North Texas and now LSU, his alma mater. NC State used to play on one of those rubber surfaced courts. Pick: LSU. Thursday, March 19 9:20 pm TBS
No.16 Hampton vs. MW No.1 Kentucky I think Hampton won as a very high numbered seed before, but they’re not going to do it here. Pick: The Figthing Calipari’s. Thursday, March 19 9:40 pm CBS
W No.12 Wofford vs. W No.5 Arkansas At one point in time Arkansas was my least favorite program in the country. When Nolan Richardson had the Hogs rolling in the early 1990’s – he was doing it with mostly Memphis kids. The names of the players from those teams still roll of the tounge – Todd Day, Ron Huery, Dwight Stewart, Corey Beck, Corliss Williamson, Al Dillard, Lee Mayberry, Scottie Thurman. Pick: Hogs. Thursday, March 19 9:50 pm TNT
S No.13 E. Wash. vs. S No.4 Georgetown I know nothing about Eastern Washington. Memphis used to play Georgetown and get mauled every year. I’ve seen Memphis play in DC twice – on the road at Georgetown. 0-2. Those memories nothwithstanding, my pick here is the Hoyas. Thursday, March 19 9:57 pm truTV
MW No.15 New Mex. St. vs. MW No.2 Kansas Oh Kansas. Dear Kansas. My alma mater. My other sister’s alma mater. My mother’s home state. A true gem of College Basketball. Tradition, excellence, beauty. I actually don’t even like Kansas that much, but they’re probably going to win this. Pick: Jayhawks. Friday, March 20 12:15 pm CBS
E No.10 Georgia vs. E No.7 Michigan St. Georgia once employed Jim Harrick, a true win-at-all-costs kind of coach. A guy twice fired for running a dirty program. Hugh Durham, Dennis Felton, Tubby Smith. There’s some memorable history here. I’ve even been to a game in their coliseum. On the other side – the Spartans. Memphis’ most epic beatdown of all time came against Michigan State in 2008 in the Sweet 16. The halftime score of 50-20 (?) is one Tiger fans won’t soon forget. Who did they beat to advance to that round? Current Georgia coach Mark Fox’s then Nevada Wolfpack. Pick: Spartans. Friday, March 20 12:40 pm truTV
E No.12 Wyoming vs. E No.5 N. Iowa Memphis played at Wyoming in the late 1980’s in an early season non-confernece game and got their doors blown off. The Cowboys are now coached by Larry Shyatt – the once Clemson head coach. If it weren’t for a win over Northern Iowa a few years ago, Memphis would have finished one of those early season tournaments 0-3. Pick: Cowboys. Friday, March 20 1:40 pm TBS
MW No.12 Buffalo vs. MW No.5 W. Virginia One of the underrated storylines in college basketball over the past few years is how Bob Huggins went from a decent looking, great young coach in the 1990’s at Cincinnati to a giant huge fat man who wears windbreakers at West Virginia. In between he was fired for reasons I can’t recall, coached a year at Kansas State and has had multiple heart attacks. One of the Hurley brothers coaches Buffalo. Pick: Huggs, not Drugs. Friday, March 20 2:10 pm TNT
MW No.10 Indiana vs. MW No.7 Wichita St. Everyone and their mother is going to be picking the Shockers. Tom Crean coaches the Hoosiers. I’ve never cared for Tom Crean. Pick: Shockers. Friday, March 20 2:45 pm CBS
E No.15 Belmont vs. E No.2 Virginia Belmont is known for its aesthetic brand of basketball under longtime head coach Rick Byrd. Virginia is known for its aesthetic brand of basketball under head coach Tony Bennett. Memphis has a history with both of these programs. I could see an upset here, but I’m not picking it. Pick: Virginia. Friday, March 20 3:10 pm truTV
E No.13 UC Irvine vs. E No.4 Louisville I haven’t really been able to hate Louisville since Rick Pitino lobbied to get Memphis into the BIG EAST before it fell apart when Louisville bolted for the ACC. I know zip about UC Irvine. Pick: Cards. Friday, March 20 4:10 pm TBS
MW No.13 Valparaiso vs. MW No.4 Maryland I have a long history with the University of Maryland. It started on their campus in 1998 – in bars, apartments, convenience stores, etc… Later, I relished a 2009 Memphis 2nd round win over Grieves Vasquez. When current Maryland G Dez Wells visited Memphis prior to committing to Maryland – I ran into him on Memphis’ campus and suggested he commit to Memphis. He was unimpressed. Valpo also has a notable NCAA tournament history. Pick: Twerps. Friday, March 20 4:40 pm TNT
W No.9 Oklahoma St. vs. W No.8 Oregon When I think of Oklahoma State I think of former coach Eddie Sutton. When I think of Eddie Sutton, I think of Dick Vitale calling him, “Eddie Suh-On.” Oregon coach Dana Altman once took the Arkansas job only to quit 2 days later. I love that. Pick: Altman. Friday, March 20 6:50 pm TBS
No.16 Robert Morris vs. S No.1 Duke I like calling Robert Morris, “Bob Morris” – but they’re a #16 seed. One of these years a #16 seed is going to win, and it’s going to be awesome. Pick: Devils. Friday, March 20 7:10 pm CBS
S No.10 Davidson vs. S No.7 Iowa Steph Curry vs. Dr. Tom Davis. That white haired coach vs. Acie Earl. I’m digging deep here. Pick: Hawkeyes. Friday, March 20 7:20 pm TNT
E No.14 Albany vs. E No.3 Oklahoma My parents met at the University of Oklahoma. Pick: Sooners. Friday, March 20 7:27 pm truTV
W No.16 Coast. Car. vs. W No.1 Wisconsin Coastal Carolina is coached by Cliff Ellis – who used to coach Auburn. Pretty sure he was the coach when Auburn got a #1 seed in the 1990’s. Dude can coach. Wisconsin used to be coached by that dude Stu Jackson who went on to work in the NBA league office. Pick: Stinkin Badgers. Friday, March 20 9:20 pm TBS
S No.9 St. John’s vs. S No.8 San Diego St Steve Fisher vs. Steve “The Cockroach” Lavin. Steve Lavin is the cockroach because he survived nuclear holocausts every year at UCLA – keeping his job year after mediocre year. Until he was finally fired. This is a battle of retreads. Edge: Fisher. Friday, March 20 9:40 pm CBS
S No.15 No. Dak. St. vs. S No.2 Gonzaga This feels like it could be an upset, just based on the fact that Gonzaga has been to the tournament 3837 years in a row without advancing to a Final 4. Not picking it though. Pick: Zags. Friday, March 20 9:50 pm TNT
TBD vs. E No.6 Providence Rick Pitino coached Providence in 1987, when he was 11 years old. Pick: Friars.