Are you upset?

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Are you as upset as some of the teams and schools that have become spectators instead of participants this past week? A sweet sixteen party is always enjoyable, if it is your kid that has just entered that phase of life or, as a spectator, being there allows you to think back and smile at what was but will not be again, except through the smiles and bright eyes of those at the party.

The March Madness soiree is slated to continue for another couple of weeks or so, depending upon when you are reading this piece.

Rick Pitino's Louisville club struggled on Sunday vs. Siena, but now takes on Arizona in the Sweet 16.
I cannot recall juggling so many games that went down to the wire at one and the same time. CBS producers, directors and techs were last seen babbling incoherently and suffering from exhaustion. For us, the fans, it was party time and excitement at its zenith. Finally, the worn out cliche' of any team on any given day was looking credible.

I am not sure how "sweet" this next week is going to be for 12 of the 16 survivors, but Louisville is lucky to have escaped with a victory over Siena, a school that most of the Cardinals, if not all, had never really heard of until this month. Rick Pitino has been around the block more than a few times, has victories to prove his mettle and scars for the disappointments. All in all, he is smart. Judging by the way they nearly mishandled this past Sunday's game, that is more than can be said for his team. For starters, Pitino should have his team spending their idle hours taking foul shots until they actually locate the rim.

There are no foul shots in the schoolyards, just a change of possession, but street hoops do not apply at the Big Dance. Pitino has to teach that to his charges.

Can they handle Arizona? The Wildcats are not accustomed to this sort of game so it might turn into hand-to-hand combat, with the edge to Louisville. Besting Utah was a nice step forward; taking care of Cleveland State was not exactly awe-inspiring. Louisville should continue to the Elite Eight but how elite they are is still open for discussion.

Kansas and Michigan State. Time for votes. Anyone got a coin? Looking for another game down to the wire? Watch this one. Foul shots to win in the final minutes sounds like the right script here. The Jayhawks can surprise, but the Spartans think that "S" on their shirts stands for something more than State. Maybe. This one is proof that you can actually sit back and enjoy a game without an investment or concern for the potential victor, unless you are an alum of either, check the channels to see what else is on until the final few minutes. I kind of like Kansas. What does that mean? Nothing more than what I said.

Go west, young man, go west, as Horace Greeley said, and that means off to Glendale where Connecticut takes on Purdue. UConn is that good and should not a have a problem here. The Huskies are smart, talented, deliberate and confident. Purdue is Big Ten battle-weary but the boys from the east coast are focused on the Final Four and, in my opinion, headed to the Championship game. Losses by them to the Boilermakers and/or Louisville to Arizona will eliminate more people than the Bubonic Plague of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries in Europe and the Mediterranean. Brackets will be shredded to prepare confetti for a parade that is not happening in most neighborhoods.

The battle of the Tigers takes place when Missouri meets Memphis, and they will do so without the aid and assistance of Siegfried and Roy. There are games where seed placements are meaningful, or so we think, and others where they are not. This one is in the "not" department, with a two playing a three. Memphis gets the edge here on the basis of their win over Maryland. The Terrapins defeated three Top 10 teams earlier this season, and were still handled by Memphis. On the other side of the scorer's table, Mizzou did not impress with a win over Marquette. Fighting for the right to take on Connecticut is a heck of a prize for the winner. Bags should be packed since another encounter in Glendale is not likely for these Tigers. Which Tigers? The ones I just mentioned. There are two. I know that. OK, which ones stay on the reserve and which go? Memphis stays, Missouri goes.

The bullies from Pittsburgh will come out of the locker room for the start of their game with Xavier, and this physical bunch has been asked by the NCAA to leave all bars and brass knuckles back there. The Panthers are on the prowl and Xavier can only hang with them for the first half. Then the Musketeers will look around but not be able to find, or call upon, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. As long as the zebras keep their whistles in check, Pittsburgh moves on.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski returns to the Sweet 16 for the first time in two years.
And waiting for them will be the winner of the Villanova/Duke encounter, possibly the best, if not one of the best games, of the weekend. The Wildcats believe they can win and the Blue Devils know that they can. A subtle difference. But, is it enough to move Duke to the next plateau? It will be the methodical versus run 'n gun. Position for a rebound against everyone to the hoop and keep your dialing finger on 911. Foul shots in the final few minutes are not likely to determine this one, nor will a possible double-digit lead at any time prior to the 10-12 minute mark left in the game and a blowout by either is not in the stars or crystal ball anywhere. Lots of folks have Villanova moving on to the Final Four. My bracket has Duke and either one of them can take Pittsburgh. Watch this one. It will be a beaut!!

With all due respect to the Bulldogs of Gonzaga, North Carolina at this juncture of March Madness is on a mission. The Tar Heels have all the weapons and play at a magna cum laude level at the sixteen, eight and four stops along the way to the last stop in Detroit on April 6th. Anyone that does not have them advancing did not like them when Dean Smith was coaching and the resentment, for whatever reason(s), has stayed. It is similar to liking Notre Dame or hating them. There is no in-between.

If Syracuse brings its "A" game to this one against Oklahoma, they will stay in Memphis and be spectators for the sole reason of having watched their next opponent in action, to evaluate their every move. If they do not, if they relax, if they become helter skelter and confused, as they are capable of doing, of causing Jim Boeheim to lose a few more hairs, then they have serious problems. Less one on one and more team play and celebratory mint juleps, watered down, will be on tap. It is really a matter of choreographing the approach against the Sooners of Oklahoma, east against west, and this is not the gridiron. The edge to the Orangemen who might be ahead by a dozen with five minutes to play. Game, set and match. Yes, of course I know that is a tennis term (gotchya!) but it is appropriate so I borrowed it. Billie Jean King said it was okay to do.

There you have it and now you know who was selected on my bracket. Have I spent the money yet? You gotta be kidding!

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