So … many … things … to read, watch … must ... fill out … bracket …
Every year, that's the first thought after Selection Sunday. That's lingering, crushing amount of info hangs like a hangover some people will nurse tomorrow.
So here I am, ready to help crush your brains. For the next few hours, better make sure your boss isn't hovering over your shoulder, (he probably wants some bracket tips) while you study up on the field of 65.
First off, I love our brackets. They're loaded with more info than any other bracket on the Internet. (Chest puffed out.) Go through, read up on the teams, compare stats, rosters, etc, make your picks, print 'em out and cherish it. While you're at it, enter our NCAA Tournament game, too.
Our hoops expert, Ken Davis, likes Kansas to win it all (Disclaimer: Ken picked 'em last year. He also thinks Arizona, Butler, Davidson, Miss State and USC are among the darkhorses who could pull off an upset or two.
It's a top-heavy bracket. Among 1 seeds, maybe 1 or 2 have won 30 games by the time the Big Dance begins. This year, all four have won at least 30 and have a combined record of 127-9. Whoa. Pressure's on, boys. That makes Kansas State a small surprise to be among 10 teams who can win.
After enjoying a Kansas win against Texas – is it wrong to root for those two play again in the Final Four after an amazing game like that? – and eating plenty of crow once the top seeds were announced, I spent Sunday working on this feature about the fab freshmen in the tournament, and worked with Ray Glier to break down each region: the East, South, Midwest and West videos are on each).
Their brackets have a ton of info too, but I dislike navigating away from the bracket to learn about each team. Yes, I'm lazy when it comes to the back button. Also, you have to use these to print anything out. Then again, a tourney game partnered with Facebook is sure to thrive.
Seth Davis, after working the selection show with CBS, has his quick thoughts about the field, which proclaims UCLA with the easiest road to the Final Four. Better? Take the Seth Davis Challenge. (Because everyone loves to be smarter than the people on TV.)
The best thing SI had Monday was Richard Deitsch's Media Circus column, though. His items on Jay Bilas doing double duty for CBS and ESPN (always a good thing) and more on Bob Knight's in-studio analysis with ESPN were spot on. Knight underwhelmed me to start, but he was better as the weekend wore on, especially when Dick Vitale pleaded with him – twice! – to try and be the Indiana coach again. If looks could kill, it'd be bye-bye Dickie V.
For now, it's a comprehensive look at the regions, but not much else in terms of stories. But when it comes to the brackets, CBS has an incredible package going.
On this page, they have bracket analysis (with women's to follow), three tournament games, news, schedules, and most importantly, a link to March Madness on demand. They've partnered with the NCAA to stream games online for those poor souls stuck at work without a TV.
After that, Jeff Goodman also is impressed with the strength at the top, though his analysis of the 1 seeds isn't that much different. Go with the latter, then check out his regional breakdowns. (He's the first one I've seen to go with Michigan State out of the South.)
This is my favorite part of FOX's stuff from Monday. Using a slide show format to bring readers into each region is great. Frankly, you can never have enough photos. Also included are video previews and matchup breakdowns on each first-round game. Good stuff.
Dan Wetzel's 16 observations column is a bit long, but worth reading. He spotlights coaches on the rise, a Billy Packer rip, freshman musings and also tags USC as a Final Four teams. He's got some brass, son.
That's the good. I dislike their bracket for having to click on each region individually, then on each team from there. Stop the madness (of clicking)! Sure, there's plenty of juice on each team once you get there, but man, have you seen how much ground there is to cover today? The less clicking the better.
OK, I took a breath. And got some coffee.
To be fair, Yahoo has each of their regions cross-linked to each other at the top of those pages. And their team names are easy to read since they're so large.
Also included at the top? Votes on each game, a link for mobile scores, the ever-popular video links, and, of course, a tournament game. (Love Yahoo's fantasy sports stuff. Their tournament game is easy to use, too.)
If all that's not enough, they're partnered with rivals.com, which has more analysis on each region, teams, players, etc. Well done by Yahoo.
We've used Sporting News' content for years, and the college hoops stuff is always great, but don't let me influence you. See for yourself.
SN revamped their hops pages in time for the tournament, mostly to showcase their new Bracketcaster, which uses a computer to project the winners or each game, region, Final Four, you name it. It's pretty fancy. I'd use it before you sign up for their tournament game.
SN also has regional rundowns (Louisville in the Final Four) and Mike DeCourcy (probably the most underrated college hoops writer in the biz) praising the committee's choices. Except for Arizona State and Virginia Tech, I think the committee's job approval ratings this year are about 95 percent.
Another great feature: Their day-by-day/regional schedule has game matchups linked throughout the sked. For those (me) who hate to dig through stuff.
One note: Steve Greenberg remains unimpressed with Bob Knight.
Love the site. It doesn't have the whiz-bang stuff all the major media players do, but their content is solid and they cover all their bases. And if anyone can give Jeff Goodman or Andy Katz a run for their money in word counts, it's Jeff Borzello.
The five breakout stars for the tourney is their best item for Monday.
Yes, I avoided the big dog until last. ESPN's probably the one place anyone filling out a bracket will look, so the odds are you've already seen their stuff. They'll have everything you'll want, including video of Digger waving his highlighter.
The first mention of Roy Williams vs. Kansas in the Final Four. It won't be the last, either.
Andy Katz sits down with the NCAA seeding committee chairman Tom O'Connor. Bask in the glory, Tom. Bask in it.
The NCAA Tournament rules! And here's how to improve it.
I need more coffee to work their Bracket Master. Looks important...
Yes, I'm already in their Tournament Challenge. Who isn't?
All of that brings me to a super-sized Forde Minutes, the most fun I had on Monday morning. The Minutes is always entertaining: snarky, informative and usually spot on. Notes on the RPI and how it relates to the eventual national champ, the stellar guard and studly big men and a shout out for the town of Huntington, W.Va., which has five players in the Big Dance from a town of 51,000 people. Good stuff.
That's it. I'm gonna go process everything I've learned, sweat and stress over my bracket, then figure out who my winners and losers are. That post will come Wednesday.
Until then happy reading. I'm gonna get some sleep.