Thoughts From the NCAA Tournament's First Weekend

-Written by Alec Baicher and Bryan Rice

Well, what a weekend we had. I truly needed Monday to digest what we saw in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. No need to MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback to those who don't get sports abbreviations) after a good (not great) first weekend of the tournament. Without further adieu, here is what Bryan and I found extremely important and interesting from the weekend. TRUST US, you'll really learn something here!

1. Duke and Villanova Caused People To Burn Their Brackets After Weekend #1

 Well, that didn't take long. The #1 overall seed in the entire tournament, the Villanova Wildcats were upset by #8 Wisconsin in the second round in Buffalo, NY. Villanova, the defending National Champion, were an extremely popular pick. According to,  Villanova was picked by 31.8% of the brackets to make the Final 4. 92.3% picked Nova to advance to the sweet 16. Your boy was not one of the 92.3%. No big deal, but actually, kind huge deal. Alec - 1. Comment section - 0. Side note, I hope that commenter reveals themselves. Ain't no fun when you can't see whose coming at you.

The bigger story here is that all the fake Nova fans, aka Philly fans that latch on to any team thats good in the area because all their pro teams STINK, will not be heard from the rest of the tournament. It was Temple in 2011, La Salle in 2013, Nova in 2016. PICK  A DAMN SIDE PHILLY.

Alright, just had to get that out. Which now leads us to America's most hated team (unless you're from Carolina or Central Jersey,) the Duke Blue Devils! The preseason favorite to win it all, Duke underachieved mid way through the season. Coach K had back surgery, took away their Duke gear (someone they still played the next game with their jersey, idk man), had injuries, and then put it all together with their ACC Tournament title with comeback victories in every game. Duke was another popular pick, 26.9% of bracket had Duke in their Final 4 (including me) and 93.1% picked them to make it to the Sweet 16.

However, the 2015 National Champions fell flat to border rival in the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina really lived up to their nickname by screwing everyone's bracket. Now, we get a WIDE open East Bracket and no Duke and Villanova. Haters rejoice! (or are they sad because they can't hate on them the rest of the tourney? The world may never know). 

2. Northwestern Crying Kid Sends Internet Into Craze

*takes deep breathe* NERDSSSSSSS!!!!!! Seriously, the Northwestern story was definitely cool at first. Never made the tournament in the history of their program and this year they finally got over the hump. Now, who is the school with the longest NCAA Tournament drought? My Rutgers Scarlet Knights! But thats a story for another day.

Back to Northwestern. The story was cool until EVERY SINGLE NORTHWESTERN ALUM was going crazy over this. I honestly thought ESPN only hired from Northwestern the past week because it felt like everyone on the show was an alumni. It got annoying very quickly. Northwestern got lucky and won vs Vanderbilt in the 8/9 seed game after the world's dumbest foul. They advanced against Gonzaga and gave the #1 seed a run and almost had an incredible comeback (with another bad referee call in this tournament, shocker, right?) The story of that game wasn't the game itself, it was the crying Northwestern fan that is the new hot meme on the internet.

Hey kid, there's no crying in sports! Get over yourself! Northwestern wasn't going to win a National Title, stop crying about losing to a #1 seed. God, nerds STINK. 

3. The Best Intramural Basketball Player of All Time Plays In The Tourney

 This is Nathan Adrian.

He's 6'9" 235 pounds. It appears he plays basketball. I'm told that he doesn't play intramural basketball at the West Virginia student center, but starts for the West Virginia Men's Basketball team that punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 this weekend. But, none of these facts have dissuaded me from declaring that Nathan Adrian is the best intramural basketball player of all-time. That may be an "alternative fact" but it doesn't matter if it's true in reality, because it's true in our hearts.

Nathan Adrian is that guy who rarely works out* (this is probably not true, but bear with me,) downs like 20 beers at the bar on Saturday night (possibly truer), and shows up to your noontime intramural game at the student center on Sunday at 11:59am looking like he's going to have to run to the bathroom to pull the trigger at any moment. Yet somehow he's flying around, diving for loose balls, hitting threes, DUNKING!, and all-around putting a team of 5'9" economics majors on his back all their way to an intramural championship (convinced this is true with all my life).

I don't know how it's possible, but Adrian also manages to do this against the best college basketball players in America. He is the embodiment of the Mountaineer spirit. He's a big reason "Press Virginia" is so formidable. He's Nathan Adrian, the best intramural basketball player of all-time.

4. Father and Son: Old school vs. New school

It's an age-old debate. Nature vs. Nurture. Is human development and behavior the result of our genetics – or a product of learning and our environment? Why is this relevant: because this was a big weekend for basketball families.

The Barrys

From Business Insider:

"NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry may have scored over 25,000 points during his legendary basketball career, but the single skill Barry remains most famous for to this day is the underhanded free-throw. A cool 90% career FT shooter during his NBA tenure, Barry mastered the unorthodox style with aplomb — even if it subsequently fell out of basketball fashion. "

Four of Rick Barry's sons also enjoyed careers in the National Basketball Association. Despite this success, it is his 5th son Canyon Barry, a Senior on Florida Men's Basketball team, who is out to protect the family legacy.

Now, Alec would argue that the success of his sons – and Canyon's underhand free-throws – are clear demonstrations of Rick Barry's “savage sp—” …genetics. Others might say that the underhand free-throw is all nurture, the product of Rick Barry only playing catch with his sons if they threw underhand. 

Now, I may have just made that anecdote up on the spot, but I *feel* that it’s true, so it must be true. If that's the standard of the President, then it's the standard for this blog. Ultimately, it takes major onions to go underhand (more players should try it!), and in the words of a former high school soccer teammate, "you can't teach that shit, coach!" So true. Something is going on with those Barry genes.

The Pitinos

 The first father and son to coach in the same NCAA tournament, Rick Pitino (Louisville Head Coach) and his son Richard Pitino (Minnesota Head Coach) were also the first father-son combo to take L's in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.  The elder Pitino's Louisville squad made it to the weekend, but were upset by Super-Soaker-enthusiast-and-Michigan-head-coach John Beilein on Sunday afternoon. 

The younger Pitino's Minnesota team got bounced before that in the 1st Round, the only 5 seed to fall victim to the dreaded 5-12 matchup this year. Just like his father, Richard Pitino got angry and yelled a bunch when things didn't go his way.


Fortunately for the younger Pitino, he doesn't oversee a basketball program embroiled in a prostitution scandal.

The Collins

Here is former NBA coach and current NBA analyst Doug Collins trying to keep it together as he watches his son, Chris Collins, coach Northwestern to their first-ever NCAA tournament win.


Here's Chris Collins reacting to the NCAA issuing a correction to the non-goaltending call in which a guy BLOCKED A SHOT WITH HIS HAND THROUGH THE HOOP

The Verdict: Nature > Nurture.

5. Threes from the Wing: A Story in Three (Although Kinda Seven) Acts

Act 1

Act 2


Well, there you have it folks. Check back next week as we recap the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Go UCLA!