Posted: Monday March 12, 2007 10:58AM; Updated: Monday March 12, 2007 10:59AM
1. The NCAA selection committee unveiled the brackets on Sunday evening. As of press time, the exclusion of mid-major stalwart Drexel still had Billy Packer inconsolable.
2. Syracuse, thanks to its perennially soft out-of-conference schedule, was also left on the outside looking in despite a 10-6 Big East record. But hey, those new Nike unis will look tight in the NIT.
3. Here's a question: Why is there always so much talk about who gets the No. 1 seeds? Does it really matter? Presumably pundits have to yak about something leading into the Selection Sunday show, which reveals about as much actual information spread over one hour as an American Idol results show. Still, aren't the teams vying for the No. 1 bids considered national championship contenders? Won't they need to play some other good teams eventually if they're to win six games and a title? Is UCLA significantly less likely to win a championship as a No. 2 seed than it would be if it landed a No. 1? If you're keeping score at home, the answers are yes, yes and no. Now let's proceed with the best week in sports.
4. First-round upset special: We like No. 14 seed Wright State over No. 3 Pittsburgh. New Wright State coach Brad Brownell has NCAA experience from UNC-Wilmington, where last season his team fell to George Washington in overtime. Wright State figures to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder because fellow Horizon Conference member Butler, which the Raiders beat out for the regular-season and tournament championships, has gotten all the national love this year. Plus Pitt looked gassed after reaching the Big East title game and might still be a tad groggy on Thursday.
5. Another question: How did Arkansas get in? The Piggies finished 7-9 in a down SEC and went 2-8 in road games (even after winning their SEC finale at Vanderbilt). Yes, Arkansas won three games in the SEC Tournament, but didn't exactly beat a murderers row in South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State to earn the right to get waxed by Florida (the only really good SEC team this year) in the final. If now we're handing out bids for a nice run in the conference tourney, why not send N.C. State dancing for beating Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech and hanging with UNC? Just so we're straight, Drexel beats Villanova, Syracuse and Creighton on the road but gets bounced because it finished "only" 13-5 in its conference, the increasingly tough Colonial, yet Arkansas gets in? Sorry, no way. Of course, now the Razorbacks will probably go out and beat USC and Texas to make the Sweet 16.
6. A Tennessee man was arrested over the weekend for threatening Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones with a pocket knife at a bowling alley. Fortunately, the man was hustled to safety before Pacman's posse returned from buying nachos.
7. Islanders forward Chris Simon was suspended for an NHL-record 25 games for his two-handed stick attack to the face of the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg. The NHL wanted to send a clear message with the harsh punishment. That message is -- just punch the other guy like a man.
8. Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled on Sunday in his second spring-training start. The ever-mysterious Dice-K blamed the poor outing on the growing pains associated with his new pitch, the souvlaki sling.
9. The word out of Dallas is that Terrell Owens never bothered to learn the whole Cowboys playbook last season. Apparently T.O. only read up to the part where the ball hit his hands.
10. Brandt Jobe update: In Thursday's column, we mentioned the golfer's 2007 debut at the PODS Championship after slicing off the tips of his left index finger and thumb in a broom accident. (The shaft of the metal broom broke while Jobe was sweeping his garage, with a jagged shard doing the damage.) Alas, Jobe missed the cut after shooting 74 and 76.