NCAA Tournament, National Semifinals, Day 9 open thread
by Bob Timmermann
I should be winging my way toward Kauai as this post is going up and I should be landing around the time the first game tips off.
At this point, the teams playing need no introductions. But I like to introduce them because it fills up space.
3:07 pm - #1 UCLA (West champion, 35-3) vs #1 Memphis (South champion, 37-1). If the Tigers win, they will set the Division I record for most wins in a season. Duke (1986 and 1999), UNLV (1987), and Illinois (2005) have all won 37. No Division II or III team has won more than 37 either. The women's teams for Tennessee and Connecticut won 39 games in 1998 and 2002, respectively.
UCLA is the leader in the clubhouse with 11 National Championships in men's basketball and 89 other NCAA titles. Memphis seeks its first NCAA championship of any kind.
UCLA and Memphis played each other in the 1973 Final and the 2006 Oakland regional final with the Bruins winning both times.
5:47 pm - #1 Kansas (Midwest champion, 35-3) vs #1 North Carolina (East champion, 36-2). This is another matchup oozing with basketball history. (Apply direct pressure.) The Tar Heels have won four national championships and the Jayhawks have won two.
These two teams first NCAA tournament meeting was in the 1957 final, which the Tar Heels won 54-53 in triple overtime. They met again in the 1991 semifinals and Kansas won that game 79-73, which kept us from having to watch a Duke-UNC final. The two met again in the 1993 semifinals and UNC won that game, 78-68 en route to a national championship (#3).
The championship game hasn't featured two #1 seeds since 2007. It's a been long wait. Other times, since seeding was instituted in 1979, were 1982 (North Carolina vs Georgetown), 1993 (North Carolina vs Michigan), 1999 (Connecticut vs Duke), and 2005 (North Carolina vs Illinois).
Here are the possible winners left in the Griddle's bracket picking contest.
If North Carolina wins, Sesame Chicken and Mike Meyer Sound tie. The latter didn't enter a tiebreaker score, so Sesame Chicken would win and get the first choice of prizes (either the Oregon State t-shirt or the Sayonara Home Run book). Both names would go on the sidebar.
If Kansas wins and beats Memphis in the final, Ham Fighter Nation wins (by 20 points!). If Kansas beats UCLA, Pomeroyanian wins by one point over Gauchos.
If Memphis wins, Bama Yankee wins regardless of the opponent in the final.
If UCLA wins and beats Kansas in the final, Steven Alpert wins. If UCLA wins and beats North Carolina in the final, Bison Power wins.
So there are eight possible permutations for the last three games and six possible winners (counting the tie for UNC as one).
And if I made any typos or factual errors or otherwise screwed up, you'll just have to live with it for a while.