Sunday, March 24, 2013 3:56 am
BracketRacket: Zags, Ryan's Wiki and Geno is 59
By OSKAR GARCIAAssociated Press
Today, we say farewell to our first No. 1 seed and explain why Gonzaga's ouster was unusual compared to recent tournament history. We also check in with actor Josh Duhamel, browse Bo Ryan's Wikipedia page and get Coach K to compare Duke with the Yankees.
But first, let's see just how rough things have gotten for your bracket.
You hear the basketball experts every year: Just pencil the four No. 1 seeds straight to the Sweet 16. But Gonzaga, whom Vegas bookmakers put behind three lower seeded teams in odds to win the title when the tournament began, lost to Wichita State on Saturday night. Higher seeds were 6-2 on Saturday, with Oregon pulling the other upset over Saint Louis.
And as you'll soon see, the Sunday round of 32 is where upsets have usually come the past couple years.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan better hope nobody was using Wikipedia to research him recently.
After Wisconsin's first-round loss to Ole Miss, some bitter Badgers fans spent Friday vandalizing Ryan's page, the top hit on Google when you search for his name. The revisions quickly spread across social networks, touching off a back-and-forth wiki dance between anonymous fans and moderators fighting to keep the page as accurate as possible.
One revision replaced Ryan's image with side-by-side photos of Ryan and Jim Carrey's 2000 portrayal of the Grinch.
Another edit: "Bo Ryan has as many Final Fours as Daffy Duck, Tony the Tiger, Big Bird, your local mail man, the Geico lizard, Skeeter, Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Sasquatch and Winnie the Pooh combined."
Technically, that's true, though Wisconsin has made the tournament all 12 years under Ryan, a run that's included five Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight. And while it's not NCAA hoops, Daffy Duck was on Michael Jordan's winning Space Jam squad in 1995.
Those and other less family-friendly changes to Ryan's bio page sprung several volunteer Wikipedia editors to action. Their mission: Undo.
One such editor, Dennis Murray of Pittsburgh, said he's not a big basketball fan and had never even heard of Bo Ryan before Friday, when he changed the page to "semi-protected" status, restricting who could edit it.
Murray says Wikipedia vandalism happens occasionally, depending on the event.
"You might see a similar level of activity if a referee makes a controversial call or if a player makes a boneheaded play, but that's not always a given. I would imagine Bill Buckner's Wikipedia article would have gotten pretty interesting if it was around back then," Murray told the AP on Saturday.
As if the former Boston Red Sox first baseman needs more reminders.
Actor Josh Duhamel spent the week preparing to host Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday night, but made sure to fax his bracket in time to enter sportscaster Dan Patrick's pool. A quick summary of the "Las Vegas" and "All My Children" actor's picks: Indiana wins it all, Pac-12 and Big Ten teams do well and Minnesota shows up as a dark horse.
"Duke, (Ohio State), Michigan State is always tough in the tournament. There's a lot of teams that could win it this year," Duhamel tells the AP's Ryan Pearson. "And there's been so many upsets that you know Miami could win the thing."
The 40-year-old Minot State alum says he tried several sports in college - the Beavers are Division II - but quickly got overwhelmed.
"I always thought I was going to be a professional athlete of some sort and then I realized I wasn't athletic enough."
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Quick pop quiz: When was the last year neither Michigan nor Michigan State made the NCAA tournament?
Give up? It's 1997, and 1984 before that, the year before the field expanded to 64 teams.
But given the regular appearances and the schools' 17 combined Sweet 16 appearances since 1985, you might be surprised to learn that 2013 is the first time that both Michigan and Michigan State have made the tourney's regional semifinals in the same year.
Both teams advanced Saturday in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, with Michigan beating VCU and Michigan State downing Memphis.
They've just been good at different times. As of Saturday, Michigan has reached the Sweet 16 a dozen times, while Michigan State has done it in 17 tourneys.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said it might shock some fans, but he's pulling for Michigan as conference colleagues.
"Thank God they're going to a different region so we don't have to worry about facing another Big Ten team right away," Izzo said.
JUST ONE EVIL EMPIRE (IN SPORTS)
Don't tell Mike Krzyzewski that Duke is college basketball's New York Yankees.
Coach K was asked Saturday about his Blue Devils being like the Bronx Bombers in terms of nonpartisan fans rooting against them because of their success. As AP Basketball Writer Jim O'Connell reports, Krzyzewski made sure at his news conference that everyone knew the rules are different for college programs than professional franchises.
"I don't know how the Yankees are. I don't coach the Yankees. We're not the Yankees," he said. "(Seth) Curry doesn't come back every year. We still don't have (JJ) Redick. (Christian) Laettner left a long time ago. If he was Mariano Rivera we'd still have Laettner. It's not the same. We have a different Duke team every time."
Either it's a remarkable coincidence that Laettner and Rivera are the same age, or Coach K's given this comparison some thought before.
NO EASY BUCKETS
D.J. Stephens of Memphis has been getting a ton of notice this tournament for his dunks, but his biggest moment Saturday against Michigan State was one of his four first-half blocks: http://bit.ly/15FyesK. Adreian Payne probably had no business trying for an off-balance layup in that spot, but he got his revenge in the second half: http://bit.ly/YMQEDO.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENO
The start of the women's tournament Saturday was also a special day for Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma - his 59th birthday.
And the No. 1-seed Huskies have a tradition when a member of their team marks another year: Everyone sings and the honoree skips around the room.
So as the AP's Pat Eaton-Robb watched during shootaround, Auriemma's players began to sing and he was forced to do his part.
"He was a baby about skipping," said center Stefanie Dolson. "He barely skipped. But he did, a little."
UConn then went out and ran all over Idaho, routing the Vandals 105-37.
The Huskies improved to 8-1 in games played on Auriemma's birthday - the lone loss coming in 1998.
STAT OF THE DAY
Recent history suggests Sunday is the prime day for upsets in the round of 32. In the 2011 and 2012 tournaments combined, higher-seeded teams went 15-1 on Saturdays in the round of 32. The only loss was by No. 1 seed Pittsburgh to No. 8 Butler in 2011 in Washington. But on the second day of the round of 32 - Sunday, of course - it was almost even, with higher seeds winning only nine of 16 games. The upsets included some big surprises: No. 11 Marquette over No. 3 Syracuse (2011), No. 11 VCU beating No. 3 Purdue (2011), No. 10 Florida State over No. 2 Notre Dame (2011) and No. 11 North Carolina State toppling No. 3 Georgetown (2012).
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Florida Gulf Coast - have you ever been there? I don't think it's hard to recruit to that campus. It's pretty nice." - Indiana coach Tom Crean, as reported by the AP's Tom Withers.
Oskar Garcia is a news editor for The Associated Press in Honolulu. Write to him at ogarcia(at)ap.org and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia