March 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM
At first glance
This is a very difficult region for No. 1 overall seed Louisville. No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Michigan State are capable of winning the entire tournament, and No. 4 Saint Louis is playing great basketball and has become a popular pick to advance far in this tournament.
The Cardinals should have a relatively easy time advancing to the Sweet 16, but that’s when it gets interesting, especially if Saint Louis and the winner of the potential Duke/Michigan State game are waiting on them in Indianapolis.
This region is blessed with great point guards, and the teams have vastly different playing styles. It should make for some incredible matchups.
March 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM
At first glance
The top two seeds in this region, Indiana and Miami, have been two of the more consistent teams in an inconsistent year of college hoops. They’re clearly the best two teams in the East, but the next four seeds – Marquette, Syracuse, UNLV and Butler – are dangerous if they’re on their game.
This might be the region to bet chalk on most of the games.
March 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM
Second in our Big Dance series. Previous: South Region.
Coming soon: East and Midwest Region overviews.
At first glance
It’s Gonzaga vs. the thumpers in this region. The top-seeded Zags may have lucked out by being placed the weakest region on paper, but when you take a closer look, they might have to face some of the most rugged and underrated teams in the Big Dance. Their potential round of 32 matchup against the Pittsburgh/Wichita State winner could be the most challenging of all the No. 1 seeds. Then, if the seeds hold, they could face Kansas State or Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 and Ohio State in the Elite Eight. You might consider this region easier than the others, but it isn’t easy by any means. If the Zags survive and advance, they’ll have the bruise marks to prove it.
March 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM
March 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM
For the Monday newspaper, I was assigned to do this first look at the South Region of the NCAA tournament. I’ll post that here and use the same format to give you my initial thoughts on the other three regions over the next two days.
At first glance
Six weeks ago, Kansas, Georgetown, Florida and Michigan were all legitimate contenders for No. 1 seeds. Now, they’re in the same region, making it a tough road to the Final Four.
That quartet had its troubles, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see any of those teams exit early, especially when you consider the depth in the South Region. When young-but-talented traditional powers UCLA and North Carolina are seeded sixth and eighth, respectively, you know you’re in a difficult region.
Don’t sleep on No. 5 VCU, No. 7 San Diego State, No. 11 Minnesota or No. 13 South Dakota State. This unpredictable region might destroy many brackets.
The South is a region of contrasting defensive styles, from VCU’s fullcourt pressure to Kansas’ suffocating man-to-man to Minnesota’s ball-line defense. Georgetown, Florida, San Diego State and UCLA are also among the best defensive teams in the nation, according to college hoops stats maven Ken Pomeroy. In a year of low scores across college basketball, the team that triumphs in the South will have to win ugly.
March 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM
Add the No. 1 Gonzaga men’s basketball team to the list of people doing the faux Harlem Shake. I say faux because it’s not the real Harlem Shake. But I’m not a hater. I like the dance movement. It’s fun. It’s silly. And on their plane ride home from Las Vegas, with their West Coast Conference title in the aisle, the Zags made this video.
Think they’re feeling the pressure of being No. 1? Ha.
March 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM
Related column: Bold Seahawks make statement with Percy Harvin tradeThere was one point I wanted to make in today’s Harvin column that I wound up axing because it was too much of a tangent. So, let’s discuss it here.
It’s about how the Seahawks have used their resources with John Schneider and Pete Carroll in charge. Here are the exact words omitted from today’s piece:
Looking at how the Seahawks have built this contender, they have spent big on offense and used the draft mostly to create that oversized, aggressive defense. Their biggest acquisitions through trade and free agency have been for the offense, most notably wide receiver Sidney Rice, running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Zach Miller. But all of those additions were productive players in their mid-20s who still had room to grow with a young team.
Even when you consider the draft, the Seahawks have used a large portion of their highest picks on offense under Schneider. The list of offensive players taken in the first three rounds of the past three drafts: left tackle Russell Okung, wide receiver Golden Tate, tackle/guard John Carpenter, guard John Moffitt and, of course, quarterback Russell Wilson. Schneider also leveraged some high draft assets to take an ill-fated chance on quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
No matter how you look at it, building the offense has come at a high cost for the Seahawks. The defense has been built on scouting gem after scouting gem, which is perhaps a result of the collaboration between Carroll, the defensive guru who knows what he wants, and Schneider, the GM who values every pick he makes.
March 11, 2013 at 5:00 AM
That would be me, the erstwhile manager of this fickle blog.
Where have I been? Right here, of course, writing my column at least three times a week. I’ve been focusing on that, along with this new radio gig with the wonderful Elise Woodward that you may have heard about, as well as teaching a winter quarter journalism class at the University of Washington. My plate has been full, but I have a large stomach. And now I’m ready to return to this medium to stir up stuff.
Why? Because, as a writer, I love a fresh challenge, and frankly, figuring out the right mix in this space has been quite the task for me. The way my job as an opinion writer, deep thinker and occasional narrative journalist is structured, there will be times when I need to step away and devote all my energy to one project. That will always conflict with blogging, especially the way I like to do it, with great thoughtfulness and long posts.
Still, I want to have it all, so I can’t give up on this space. I like the freedom. I like the immediacy. I like the interaction. More than anything, that’s what has brought me back after a few months away.
We’ll do it a little differently this time. I’ll try to write a lot more short, quick-hitting posts this time. I’ll return to the roots of this space and provide extra points on many of of my newspaper columns and give insight into my thought process behind each piece. And I’ll make no guarantees, other than to have fun.
I’m certain I can live up to that expectation.
Welcome back to this blog. Thanks for your patience.
Let’s do this.
February 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM
My counterpart, Steve Kelley, wrote his final Seattle Times column this morning, and it was a wonderful, heartfelt goodbye. He is retiring after more than 30 years at our newspaper. I marvel at the breadth of his career and the passion he maintained to the last day.
Steve has also been incredibly kind and generous to me during my 6 1/2 years at the Times, and I thank him for being such a good co-worker. He kept it real. He was never afraid to express an opinion in the paper, and he was never afraid to voice his gripes in real life, either. You always knew where you stood with Steve. He didn’t play games. But while he pulled out his hammer from time to time, I will remember Steve more for the pride he took in representing this community as a columnist. He loves this city, and quietly, he is a great philanthropist working within it. As much as he accomplished as a columnist, he has done more using the position to make a positive impact. By example, he has taught me invaluable lessons about the proper way to use the influence of this job.
Steve has retired from the newspaper, not from this community. I wish him the best as he transitions, but I fully expect that he’ll continue to make his mark.
Thanks for all the help and good times, Steve. Enjoy having no one to answer to, except for your wife.
January 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Times’ columnist Jerry Brewer was at the 78th Annual MTR Western Sports Star of the Year awards banquet on Friday night, catching up with Seattle athletes, past and present. Here are videos of his interviews from Benaroya Hall.