March 13, 2005

NCAA Jackpot

Each year the tickets for the following year's annual NCAA tournament trip are ordered the day after the Finals, and so our group knows where we're going (always somewhere in the warm southeast) long before we know what teams we'll be watching.

Until a couple of years ago, all eight teams assigned to the eight "Sub-regional" (Rounds 1 & 2) venues were from the same regional, so spectators were assured of seeing either the #1 or the #2 seed in that region, as well as either a #3 or a #4 seed. Not so any more.

For a variety of reasons, including having more teams play closer to home in the first rounds, the NCAA is now assigning four teams from each of two regions to each sub-regional site. For example, Cleveland's Gund Arena will play host to four teams from the Midwest Region, and four from the West Region (get that?). It works out OK for those fans because they'll see a #2 seed (Wake Forest), but they'll only have one other team seeded in the top four (#4 Boston College).

The fans who bought tickets for Tuscon must be feeling especially screwed tonight. #3 seeds Gonzaga and Oklahoma are the highest seeded teams playing there. Which brings me to the destination for our little party of 45, Charlotte, NC. Somehow, some way, the Charlotte sub-regional landed two #1 seeds, Duke and North Carolina, who will feast on two #16 seeds in their own back yard on Friday.

And the organizers of our trip are feeling pretty smug tonight. Other nice teams assigned to Charlotte for our viewing pleasure include Minnesota, Stanford, Iowa State and Mississippi State. But it's pretty hard to envision anyone winning either of Sunday's games who's not wearing blue and white and playing in their home state.

And I'm just trying to figure out when I can get to the driving range before Thursday to shake off a winter's worth of rust.

Posted by dan at March 13, 2005 10:00 PM