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March 14, 2007

Bracket Sim

Filed under: Basketball,NCAA Tourney,Opponent(s),Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:36 pm

Okay, I still have to do my bracket and a ton of others. Before I do, a confession/disclaimer. I absolutely suck at brackets. I used to be good at it, but then Pitt started making the NCAA Tournament and I have not been able to keep my biases in check. Not just pro-Pitt, but the Big East since I would see a lot more of them play and it just ruined me in picking brackets.

Reminder and thanks to Dennis for setting it up the Pitt Blather bracket challenge. My entry is under the name “Aaron Gray’s Ankle.”

Now for those that love video game simulations, this might make you happy. EA Sports simulated the Tournament on March Madness 07.  Pitt made the Final Four. Here’s their full bracket (PDF). [If that link doesn’t work, go here.]

Finally Roto Rob is doing previews of teams. Here’s their Wright State.

A hell of a resource on looking at teams is HackTheBracket.com.

Today’s shoot-arounds, practices and press conferences for the Tournament teams playing tomorrow. The Raiders left yesterday afternoon, and got to Buffalo. The disrespect, mid-major mistreatment perspective already being played.

Once in snow-free Buffalo, the team took a short bus ride to the Airport Holiday Inn, where they were greeted by a few clumps of green and gold balloons. Accommodations are doled out according to seedings — lowest seeds get the plushest digs — so Pitt is in a fancy downtown hotel a half hour away.

Hey, if you were a beat writer covering the team, you’d be pissed too about the team you cover getting stuck in the crappy hotel — because that means you are there as well.

The Dayton paper is doing what it can to find the local connections in the teams playing in Buffalo. Not to mention what could be a bad omen for Wright State.

At least two of those teams have Dayton connections, and I’m not talking about Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon’s flirting with the WSU job when Paul Biancardi got it four years ago. Pitt’s athletic director is Jeff Long, a Kettering native, and Virginia Commonwealth’s coach is Anthony Grant, a former basketball star at UD.

Oh, and Maryland’s coach is Gary Williams, who once coached an Ohio State team that played UD in UD Arena — and lost.

Once the Raiders arrived, they checked into their rooms, had lunch, rested, then went to practice.

The only bad part was on the way back to the hotel. Two cars in front of their bus slammed into two fawns trying to cross the street.

It wasn’t a pretty sight, according to sports information director Bob Noss.

Roadkill. Excellent.

Wright State was 13-15 last year, and then hired Brian Brownell from UNC-Wilmington (Sun Belt Conference CAA). Now they are 23-9 and going to the NCAA Tournament. That’s a turnaround, and the sort of thing that puts a coach on the “hot” list. Which, of course, means it is time to deny, deny, deny.

WSU athletic director Mike Cusack said that he has not been contacted by any schools hoping to talk to Brownell.

“I’m not a high-profile coach,” Brownell said Tuesday after he and his team arrived in Buffalo by charter flight. “I didn’t play at a big school (DePauw) or coach as an assistant at a big school. I’m not a known commodity.”

He’s becoming one after leading the Raiders to the regular-season and Horizon League tournament championships on the way to a 23-9 record and the school’s first NCAA tournament since 1993.

Supporters in his hometown of Evansville, Ind., think he’s a natural for the vacant job at Evansville University, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Brownell said he isn’t looking.

His Wright State contract pays him $220,000/year, base salary. That actually seems pretty good for the Horizon League. One of his bonuses is another month’s pay for each NCAA Tournament game the team plays. That also applies to his assistants.
At least one of the WSU booster’s knows the score:

“Brad went out and did exactly what we were paying him to do,” said Bob Mills, whose name is one of three on the team’s practice facility. “But, you know, he went a little bit overboard. He did more. I really think you have to have a system that will reward clearly outstanding behavior in job performance.

“We may not be able to keep Brad (and his assistants) forever, but let’s try to keep him as long as we can, knowing he’s going to leave this place in a better situation than he found it.”

That’s what you have to hope for as a mid-major.

While screwing around on Facebook on Monday and filling in a bracket for one of the polls hosted there, I pressed the “randomize” button to see what it would give me. The first time I clicked it I got this.

The champions (over Albany in the final) are your Pittsburgh Panthers.
We also have the ESPN Insider projections.

Now I don’t know how they got these percentages or what they mean. The might have simulated it on a video game or let a monkey pick the winner out of a hat 100 times.

What does this all mean for Pitt’s chances Thursday? Absolutely nothing.

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