Why Joe Lundardi’s Early Bracketology Is Absurd

Joe Lundardi is ESPN’s resident Bracketologist. And if that sounds like a made up position, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. How does one even become a bracketologist? Do you have to have a fake degree from a fake school like Hogwarts, Trump University or South Harmon Institute of Technology? Anyway, I digress.

Lunardi has released is way too early predictions for what 68 teams will populate the 2020 NCAA Tournament bracket. You can see the full bracket and previous predictions here. Picture below.

Now, the Kentucky homer in me doesn’t care about Kentucky being a 2 seed or even that Louisville is too. The casual college basketball fan can usually guess at least 7 of the top 8 teams. There are two problems with this early bracket though: why is coming out 2 months before football season even starts and how can Joey Brackets realistically predict the low seeds?

The problem is with the 11-16 seeds. How in the world can this guy predict what teams will be there? He is essentially picking conference tournament winners since that is the only way teams from the SWAC, MEAC, MIVA, or SoCon will get into the tournament.

Nobody can actually predict who the double digits seeds will be 4 months before the season. And the people that think they can probably didn’t realize that one of the four conferences above is actually a men’s volleyball conference. Basically, don’t make a prediction on a conference champion when a 5’10” white dude could get hot from three and wreak havoc on a tournament. So, let’s pump the brakes and let football have at least one month of spotlight before we start making such bold predictions.

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Saturday Morning Sports Trivia: Elite 8 Edition

We are back once again this Saturday morning with another round of trivia. The theme of this week will be the Elite 8 in honor of the great basketball going on tonight. Hopefully, by now you have stopped complaining about not having a perfect bracket. If you are perfect in this week’s trivia, however, let us know on Twitter @soft7sports for a free S7S sticker. As always, I love you all for your minds.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Name all 8 schools that made it to this year’s Elite 8.
  2. In honor of Auburn’s upset win over UNC, how many times has a 5-seed made it to the Elite 8?
  3. The Tennessee Volunteers failed to make the Elite 8 once again this year. How many Elite 8’s has the school been to total?
  4. In 2005, the Michigan State versus Kentucky Elite 8 matchup was forced into overtime on a controversial three pointer at the buzzer made by whom?
  5. How many times has Tom Izzo made it past the Elite 8 into the Final 4?
  6. What two teams combined for the highest scoring Elite 8 game of all time?
  7. What team still alive in the tournament has the top scoring offense?
  8. What team still alive has the worst 3 point field goal percentage?
  9. What team has the most Final Four appearances?
  10. The remaining school in the Elite 8 have combined for how many Final Four Appearances?

ANSWERS:

  1. Duke, Kentucky, Auburn, Virginia, Purdue, Michigan State, Texas Tech, Gonzaga
  2. 8
  3. 1
  4. Patrick Sparks
  5. 7
  6. UNLV vs. Loyola Marymount: 131-101 in 1990
  7. Gonzaga
  8. Duke
  9. North Carolina
  10. 47- Kentucky (17), Duke (16), Michigan State (9), Virginia (2), Purdue (2), Gonzaga (1), Texas Tech (0), Auburn (0)

It’s 11:30 and Kentucky Fans Are Jumpin’ Jumpin’ to Conclusions

Ladies leave your man at home 
The club is full of ballers and their pockets full grown 
And all you fellas leave your girl with her friends 
‘Cause it’s eleven thirty and Kentucky fans are jumpin’, jumpin’ to conclusions

Thank you, Destiny’s Child, for this banger.

Every sports fan loves to jump to conclusions. When the injured star player starts walking again, we immediately think they will be in the starting lineup that night.

PJ Washington has been giving us all of the mixed signals on Twitter and is even working out with the team, but there is no word on whether or not he will play. Fear not, sports world, Kentucky fans are here to jump to the conclusion that best suits them. Every random Kentucky “news” page is losing their mind, because PJ took a couple free throws.

Free throws are the one part of basketball that requires zero athleticism. And apparently they also negate injury reports. Now, here are the two things I don’t understand from what I’ve written above: why are my fellow Kentucky fans setting themselves up to be let down? AND who is actually allowed in the club? It sounds like everyone and no one at the same time.

PJ did tweet a video of him walking earlier this week which shut down Kentucky Twitter for about 45 minutes:

Doesn’t necessarily mean he will play, but he also may not be allowed in the club. The ladies are supposed to leave their man at home, but what if their man is one of the ballers that is supposedly filling said club? Then the fellas are supposed to leave their girl with her friends. Why? So the fellas can go to the club? I thought they weren’t allowed from the first line. Anyway, I digress.

Just because PJ can do that doesn’t mean that he can do this:

Kentucky may or may not need PJ for this game versus Houston. I actually have never watched them play so I have no idea if they earned their 3 seed or got it because they played in the AAC. I know they still couldn’t win their conference over Cincinnati so I am not too worried. PJ would definitely help, but every time I have ever jumped to conclusions about Kentucky Basketball, I have been let down with the exception of 2012.

Let’s take it down a notch, BBN. Lastly, if the third most talented member of Destiny’s child ever wants to get rid of Jay-Z and wants to get the group back together, I will request an updated version of “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” with a more clear set of rules.

Tyler Herro Doesn’t Care about Your $110K Sports Bets

The most heavily bet matchup on the first Saturday of the NCAA Tournament ended in heartbreak for one very unlucky fan.

As Kentucky closed as a 5.5 point over Wofford just before tipoff, an overly confident bettor placed a $110,000 bet on Wofford to cover the spread. The final score was 62-56 Cats. Because of two late free throws, Wofford failed to cover and this angry sports bettor has only one person to blame.

Well, two. One is wrongly to a Kentucky player and the other is himself. I am all for the “go big or go home” mentality, but this may have been so big that he no longer has a home to go back to. Imagine explaining to your significant other that you lost $110k because you really thought the WOFFORD TERRIERS had it. Regardless, I am sure this person is deflecting all his blame to a specific Kentucky player.

That player is Tyler Herro. Add another to his long list of haters. As it turns out, Herro could not possibly care less about your sports bets. He played a near perfect game defensively and stepped up when Kentucky needed him to close out the game with free throws.

Image result for tyler herro
From Tyler Herro’s Twitter @raf_tyler. Creds: Lexington Herald Leader

Herro held Wofford’s best shooter, Fletcher McGee, to 0/11 from 3-point range. He was in that dude’s shorts from the second he crossed half court to the time he shot an off-balance 30-footer. Then, to close the game out, Herro knocked down two free throws to make it a 6-point game. The guy with $110k on the line probably felt his heart sink when he saw the second best free throw shooter in the nation get fouled. He needed a miracle.

Moral of the story: don’t bet against my Cats.

The Person Who Wins Your Bracket Challenge Pool

The NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge is the biggest scam that every sports fan falls for every single year. We get a group together and pay our dues to see who knows college basketball the best. But here is the thing about the bracket challenge though: the person who knows the most never wins. EVER.

Here are the kinds of people that win your bracket pool every year. Basically, it is anyone but you.

Mascots over Everything
No basketball analysis, no caring about seeds, no caring about players, coaches, record, etc.; just mascots. One type of person fills out their brackets based on who would win in a fight between the two mascots while the other picked UMBC because they like Golden Retrievers or UC Irvine because the nickname “anteaters” really made them laugh.

Cheryl from Accounting
Cheryl isn’t a real person, but it is the man or woman that is the quintessential example of some who is just here for a good time. They enter the office pool because it’s fun to fill out a bracket. They don’t keep up with basketball, won’t watch more than two games, you’ve even heard this person refer to basketball as “shooty-hoops”, but the worst part is that they don’t realized they are in the lead until the Final Four.

Barack Obama
Not necessarily referring to the 44th president of the United States of America, but also not not referring to him. I am talking about the homers who will blindly pick their favorite team to win the title completely disregarding all the matchups. Who do you think Obama picked? Who do you think (almost) every Kentucky fan chose. Who do you think the son of the Assistant Athletic Director of Louisville wrote in? Sad thing is, they are winning their pools.

The guy who knows nothing about sports
Ya know that one friend that always bows out of every sports debate? The guy that only states facts never opinions or tries to make a joke out of every sports argument. This the most dangerous person to enter a bracket challenge with.

Your buddy’s girlfriend
We have all been there. You have 9 people in the group, everyone puts up $10, but you want the pot to be at an even $100. One of your friends pipes up and says that his girlfriend can make one. So, she does and then runs the table. And the worst part is, it was your idea to get one more person and you finished second. That has happened to all of us, right? Anyway, I hate you, Sarah.

You’re right. This article was probably written by someone who is nowhere near first place in all 6 of the pools he entered.

Saturday Morning Sports Trivia: NCAA Tournament Edition

Every sports fan fills out a bracket with the same dumb thought that this year could be the year that they fill out a perfect sheet. We all think that we know everything there is to know about NCAA basketball. But how much do you really know? As I say every week, I love you all for your minds. And I bet nobody can get a perfect bracket or 15/15.

Questions:

  1. What team, led by CJ McCollum, beat Duke as a 15-seed in 2012?
  2. 2-seeds have combined for a total of 8 losses to 15 seeds. What school has 2 of those losses?
  3. A 15-seed has only advanced to the Sweet 16 once. What team did it in 2013?
  4. Murray State’s Ja Morant posted a triple double with 19 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds. This was the first NCAA Tournament triple-double since who?
  5. Steph Curry and Davidson’s historic tournament run in 2008 ended with a loss to what team?
  6. What is the lowest seed to ever advance to the Elite 8 (16 being the lowest)?
  7. Has a 7-seed ever lost in the National Championship game?
  8. Two coaches have taken three different schools to the Final Four (both coaches had two appearances vacated). Name them both.
  9. When was the last time Tom Izzo won a national title?
  10. What team overcame a 25 point deficit to Iona in 2012 to move past the First Four?
  11. This is the 81st NCAA Tournament. How many schools have won a title?
  12. How many times has the number 1 overall seed won the tournament?
  13. What conference had the most teams receive a bid to this year’s tourney?
  14. Who has more NCAA Tourney appearances: Tennessee or their coach Rick Barnes?
  15. How many different combinations can the NCAA Tournament Bracket have?

Answers:

  1. Lehigh
  2. Duke
  3. Florida Gulf-Coast
  4. Draymond Green
  5. Kansas
  6. 12 (Mizzou in 2002)
  7. No.
  8. Rick Pitino (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville), John Calipari (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky)
  9. 2000
  10. BYU
  11. 35
  12. 3 (Florida, 2004; Kentucky, 2012; Louisville 2013) I guess I have to also accept 2 for this answer
  13. Big 10- 8
  14. Rick Barnes (24/22)
  15. 9,223,372,036,854,775,808- yes, I realize this question is unfair.

The NCAA Tourney Game That the Mafia Is Most Likely to Be Involved in

One thing I loved about the Kentucky vs. Louisville rivalry from the years of 2009-2017 was that, in a Pitino vs. Calipari matchup, you never knew whether or not the mafia was going to get involved.

If you are a true Soft 7 and have been following us for a while, you know that I love to sink my teeth in any story about the mob getting involved in sports. Already this year, the Armenian mob got caught fixing tennis matches in Spain and a mob boss in France who lamely calls himself “maestro” was arrested for his role in fixing tennis matches. Now, my ridiculous imagination has me hoping that the mafia will involve themselves in this year’s NCAA tournament. And I know the perfect game.

There are plenty of rivalries that could potentially meet up, but there is one game with some serious bad blood and it is in the first round. 7-Seed Louisville taking on 10-Seed Minnesota.

Rick Pitino was battered and humiliated when he was ousted as Head Coach of Louisville. He vowed to never return to that city again (he has since broken that vow, but please ignore that). Pitino brought Louisville Basketball back to their former glory from the 80’s and they threw him out like Jazz from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. All because of a dirty assistant coach named Andre McGee and a pimp named Katina Powell (notice that I didn’t say lady pimp, because it is 2019 and women can do anything).

ESPN

With Rick Pitino’s own son, Richard Pitino, coaching Minnesota, this could be a potential trap game for the Cardinals. Daddy Rick is going to be in Lil’ Richard’s ear all week telling him exactly how these Louisville guys play.

I am not saying that the mafia will 100% be involved. I am not even saying there is a 1% chance. But the chance is better than every other game. If cheesy black-and-white mobster movies have taught me anything, it is that mobster love revenge and doing things for the hell of it. Louisville vs. Minnesota is the only game that fits the criteria.

Vinny and Louie will be on standby.