The NCAA tournament is one of the most exciting sporting events in America because it's set up brilliantly. Unlike college football where teams in small time conferences know before the season even starts that they can't win a championship no matter what they do, virtually every team has an avenue to win the title in basketball. While its true that the Final Four is generally reserved for the top programs from power conferences, every now and then a small time school gets in. Butler, VCU and George Mason are perfect recent examples of this and in some cases, such as Gonzaga, those types of Final Four runs can propel a program into becoming a national powerhouse.
The journey through the NCAA tournament starts with Selection Sunday for all those who failed to win their conference tournament and that is where the big power conference bias comes in. Take Monmouth for example, after dropping a game to Iona in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament they find themselves sitting on the bubble and while their regular season record should justify a birth in the tourney, they could always miss out because the committee decides to go with a sexier pick like Syracuse or UConn. This type of uncertainty has Stump the Stiffs written all over it.
The Stiffs writers team continues to bring their powerhouse writers to try and seize momentum in the competition. For this week it's none other then the esteemed Adam Mares. The Stiffs commenters, in hopes of widening their new found lead, are bringing back one of their participants from previous weeks, jordandan53. Finally, fearful that their season long dominance has been lost forever, the Nuggets subreddit has brought in the king cheese u/IdRatherBeLurking. Pick time!
|Stump the Stiffs Week 18||Stiffs Staff
|Heat at Bulls||Heat||Heat||Heat|
|Nets at 76ers||Nets||76ers||Nets|
|Pistons at Hornets||Hornets||Hornets||Pistons|
|Wizards at Jazz||Jazz||Wizards||Jazz|
Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares): The Heat are 8-3 without Chris Bosh. Who knew? And Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg got the first tech of his career yesterday. He had never gotten a tech prior, either as a coach or a player. The Nets are pretty bad but when it comes to tanking, no one is as clutch as the 76ers. This is the 4th quarter of the tankathon and that's when experienced tankers like the 76ers start to take over. The Pistons are my favorite eastern conference team. The Jazz and Wizards is the game of the night since both teams are desperate to grab every win they can. And Monmouth? Honestly, I don't even know where that school is.
jordandan53: I almost went with the Bulls here and then I realized that they were on the second night of a back to back. The Heat have been playing very well as of late too, I think they'll take this one easily. The Bulls are in a dogfight for the playoffs but they come up short tonight. In the battle for inferiority, I gotta give advantage to the Sixers, they've been playing quite well and at some point they have to get at least ten wins right? Hornets/Pistons is actually a great match up, both teams are on the rise but I gotta go with star power on this one and Kemba Walker takes the cake with his 4 straight games with 30+ points. In the Wizards/Jazz game, I gotta go with the Wizards, despite losing their last three games they are still in better shape than the tanking Jazz, plus with the losses of both the Bulls and the Pistons earlier in the night, the Wizards will have extra incentive to get the win. And finally I have a feeling Monmouth will get the shaft from the selection committee, despite having completely earned a spot in the tournament.
u/IdRatherBeLurking (@alecgwin): With the uplifting news that Bosh will make a return this season and Butler on his way to meet with Dr. Andrews, I'm taking the Heat. The Nets will beat the 76ers, if only because they miraculously pulled out two Ws against the Nuggets. I've been enjoying Reggie Jackson's game a lot this year, and I don't think the Hornets have it in them to handle the beast that is Andre Drummond. I'm going with the Jazz over the Wizards, as they play such boring basketball that they might just put the Wizards to sleep. Finally, I'm picking Monmouth to miss the tournament.
And there you have it! We almost had zero consensus picks this week which should make for an exciting Friday evening. If you'd like to participate get with Russ Hamilton (@rscotham) to participate on the Stiffs Commenter team or Alec Gwin (u/IdRatherBeLurking) to participate on the Reddit team. Don't let the standings go to your head commenters...heavy is the head that wears the crown.
If you're keeping score:
Stiffs writers: 46-49
Stiffs commenters: 51-44
Nuggets subreddit: 49-46