I was definitely sweating it for a while, but I’m glad we made it.
Now, obviously we shouldn’t be satisfied with just making it, but considering we were one of the last teams to get in, it’s definitely nice to make it.
So, the first question. Should we have made it? firstname.lastname@example.org (under the moniker “dad”) posted this extremely perceptive comment: “Drexel should have gotten invited in the place of Stanford.” Many angry members of the online chat community agree, Stanford shouldn’t have made it.
EDIT: Appparently, the New York Times believes it’s “stunning” East Coast Bias, anyone?
Well, listen, ass and random chatterers, we definitely did deserve it. Winning record in Pac-10, probably the best or second-best conference, wins against UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Virginia away, no real bad losses. That’s a good resume right there.
On the other hand, you look at a Drexel, which a lot of people seem to be up in arms about. Best wins: at Villanova, at Syracuse, at Creighton. All credit for that, those are quality wins away. But are any of those individual wins as good as away-Virginia? Certainly beating UCLA is better than any of those wins. Then, combine it with losses to (giggle) Rider, Penn and William & Mary, and you’re complaining about us? Maybe try beating the bottom feeders first, then we’ll talk. Now, there are a bunch of teams—Syracuse, Florida State, Air Force—who have gripes, but I’m not really going to want to deal with all of them. Suffice it to say that unlike almost all other bubble teams, we don’t have any really laughable losses, and we had to deal with injury issues down the stretch.
Now, while the committee let us in, they certainly did us no favors. Louisville’s a pretty good team (but they’re a six seed, so they’re not that good), and, worst of all, the game is in Lexington. My geography’s not great, but I think that’s pretty close to Louisville, meaning they won’t be jet-lagged and they’ll have a ton of fans on site. That’s a big advantage.
As to the players on the court, I think the match-up is decent. They play a slow pace, which is nice for us. They have one good big guy, David Padgett, but he appears to be a bit limited offensively. Their guards don’t have an incredible amount of steals, which always gives us trouble. They have problems getting their shots blocked. They’ve lost to some awful teams. There’s a solid case to be made that Stanford can win this game. On the other hand, they’ve got quick guards who can break us down off the dribble, which we have problems against, and those guards can dish it. Also, I should note that I haven’t really seen Louisville enough to make a real good judgment about them. Rationally, I would pick Louisville, but the homer pick is for Stanford.