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And Another Thing

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The Madness: What we know so far

OK, class, we're two days into March Madness, and what have we learned so far?

Well, first of all, we've learned that bracketology is an exacting and precise science, dense with theory and provable phenomena, a discipline which can only be mastered with careful planning and much trial and erro--

Oh, hell. Just give me the hammer.

There. And there. And there. Mind those flying shards of bracket.

Particularly the one shaped like Georgetown. That one's really nasty.

Now, then. What else have learned so far?

1. We've learned the first two days of Da Tournament are the best days of the year, unless you're actually foolish enough to bet on this deal. Then it's like an all-expense-paid trip to Dante World. Don't forget to ride the new coaster, Hell's A'Poppin'!

2. If you picked Georgetown into the Final Four, you are officially a muttonhead. Georgetown never goes to the Final Four; since 2007, the Hoyas have lost to Davidson, Ohio, Virginia Commonwealth and now Florida Gulf Coast, a school you didn't even know existed until five minutes ago.

(Actually, it's only been around since 1991. That's seven years after Georgetown won its last NCAA title. Next tournament loss for the Hoyas: Whatsamatta U.).

3. If you're Notre Dame, the definition of "deep run" is "approximately 12 minutes."

That's all the longer it took Iowa State to take the Irish out of both schools' tournament opener last night -- a 76-58 Iowa State victory made all the more embarrassing by the fact the Cyclones essentially quit trying to score with three minutes remaining, when they were up 27.

It was the eighth time in nine appearances under Mike Brey the Irish failed to make it out of the first weekend, and the third time in four years they were one-and-done. Conclusion: The Irish just don't do March.

4. The Big East is a paper tiger. The jury's still out on what kind of tiger the Big Ten is.

Bloated by hype, the Big East deflated on schedule again, going 0-for-4 yesterday. Notre Dame lost. Georgetown lost. Villanova lost. Cincinnati lost. Two of the four (N.D. and Georgetown) were the higher seeds.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, lost Wisconsin, which shot approximately 2.5 percent (OK, 25 percent, then) in making hash of its opener against Ole Miss, which did not even have a Manning on the roster. But Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois all cruised. So the Big Ten's got that going for it.

5. Yes, Harvard has a basketball program. No, "La Salle" is not just the Buick your dad used to drive.

The Crimson, a 12 seed, beat the dog out of New Mexico, a 5. La Salle, a 13 seed which is located in Philadelphia and goes by the nickname "Explorers," beat the dog out of 4-seed Kansas State for awhile and then hung on when the dog came back to life in the second half.

So La Salle plays Ole Miss now, a 12 seed taking on a 13 seed. Because, after all, this is the Madness.

Class dismissed.

Ben Smith's blog.

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