The Washington Post

First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament

Mar 19, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Well, so much for my ringing endorsement. I was sure Georgetown would make it out of Providence in one piece. Instead, 14th seed Ohio shot a blazing 57 percent from three-point range and just outplayed the Hoyas in every way to chalk up the biggest upset of the first day of the NCAA tournament.

And that's saying something. There were plenty of upsets on Day 1, including No. 13 Murray State knocking off No. 4 Vanderbilt in the West, No. 11 ODU beating Notre Dame and No. 10 St. Mary's defeating No. 7 Richmond in the South, and No. 11 Washington surprising No. 6 Marquette in the East.
But the Hoyas' loss was the most shocking. What's next for the Hoyas? Does one NCAA appearance and zero wins give Greg Monroe a reason to return?

Hi Tracee! Hope you're feeling better. I may be the only person in America who had OU beating Georgetown. As a proud OU alum, whose brother went to Kent, we both know that on any given day any member of the MAC conference can beat any school in the country.

And after watching Georgetown this year, I think they were ripe for the picking.So for me this win was not a complete shock. I was surprised that the sports media was really so dismissive of OU. What say you? Will my Bobcats go all the way? I'm proud, but not dumb.

Morning, everyone! Let's get right to it.

Well, I don't think your Bobcats will win it all but I'm not happy my boys have to play them all the same. They certainly were good enough yesterday to beat most teams. The 7-9 MAC record makes me think that they didn't play as well this season as they did yesterday, but that's what the tournament is all about. I don't think the media is dismissive of the MAC so much as of a team that finished in the middle of the MAC. That, you must admit, is surprising. And a hot-shooting team can always, ALWAYS pull of a surprise in the tournament.

I'd like to end by wishing you luck, but I can't. :)

The tourney is certainly known for its upsets and Ohio's win was definitely surprising. I know MAC basketball and it is only beginning to show signs of development. I never thought Ohio (losing conference record) was capable of such a thing. But Georgetown - I'm not sure I've ever seen a team lose it's composure like they did. It was astounding.

Yes, I tihnk there were two surprises here. If Ohio had been the MAC champion, I don't think this would have been nearly as shocking. The MAC, like most conferences, has up years and down years. But for a team with a 7-9 conference record to come up with that performance, that was surprising. The Bobcats didn't just win, they dominated the game.

And Georgetown looked pole-axed. They don't have much NCAA tournament experience and that hurts, but nonetheless ... I saw them in their comeback win against Connecticut and thought all along they could rally and win. I never thought that last night. When they got down by about 12, I thought, "This is over." They seemed to have no strategy, they weren't patient ... it was a singular collapse.

That is gonna leave a mark.

Yeah, that's a hard one to get over.

Tracee, Hi from another Tracee! There are not too many of us out there. I'm a sports nut who has had Georgetown season tickets for over 30 years -- pre-Ewing, and I have to say I'm just as happy the Bobcats beat them.

While I wish they had beaten, oh, Syracuse, instead, you never knew which Hoya team was going to show up this year. Y ou knew they were going to have a meltdown,  but against a team w/a losing record in the MAC? Having also attended, and enjoyed, the Big East Tournament. I just don't get it.

But I think this one has to be laid on JT3. You have to have your team ready to play in the big ones, and the Hoyas clearly weren't.

Tracee! What a beautiful name! There are very few of us out there, so it's nice to hear from another one.

You are right about the Hoyas; they were a team that could beat anyone or lose to anyone. The Big East didn't look too great yesterday, with three of four teams losing. That was surprising to me. And I'm afraid the coaching fell short; they didn't seem to know what to do when they fell behind.

I can feel it in the air, yes even here in nyc. Seriously am i just a typical fan always thinking were going to lose going in or are they really going to lose and make it hard to go into work on monday....argh.

I know just what you mean. You think you should anticipate disappointment so it will be easier to swallow. I honestly don't know what to think about Maryland after yesterday -- seven upsets in 16 games is pretty amazing. Don't you hate playing the late game? Makes for a long day.

Do they have Dunkin' Donuts at the concessions stands, at Dunkin' Donuts Center ???

I wish I knew. I wasn't able to go. But surely they do, right? That's such an odd name. Every time they said it on TV I giggled.

The big question: what to do for an encore? Also, yesterday was exhibit 1 for why the tournament should not be expanded: it's perfect as it is!

I wasn't able to get a bracket entered in time, and I must say I found it liberating because I could root for anyone instead of just my picks. Yesterday was very fun. Today will probably be chalk, since these things tend to work that way. But we'll see. Agree that the tournament is perfect the way it is!

When a team like Georgetown has trouble getting it going, the refs need to step in and give them some opportunities at the foul line. They also need to call traveling and palming on Ohio every once in a while to get in the Bobcats' heads. Don't do those things, and you get a 14 seed non-entity raining 3's on the way to an undeserved place in the 2nd round.

Well, that's crazy talk. Of the two teams playing, I'd say Georgetown didn't deserve to be in the second round.

Come on, some of these "upsets" and "close calls" are just point shaves that get out of control. We already know this in the aggregate from the Wolfers study out of UPenn-Wharton.


Does the disappointing play by the Big East teams yesterday (they should have gone 0-for, but the refs handed Villanova a bunch of calls in the second half) mean that the Big East was overrated during the season or just that they happened to get upset (and almost upset) by some hungry, motivated teams?

Oh, a little bit of both. The Big East and ACC always tend to be overrated (I mean in a year the ACC is good) because they are the glam conferences on the east coast with the TV exposure and hype. That said, I thought the Big East was the best conference this season. Now I'm wondering if it wasn't the Big 12 after all.

JTIII made the Final Four two years ago. However, last year G'town collapsed and didn't even make the Tourney and then this year they laid an egg as a three seed in the first round. What's up with that?

Fair question. I still say the bigger concern about Georgetown is an inability to keep players in school. The Hoyas' depth was always a problem. But I wasn't impressed with the coaching job yesterday, that's for sure.

It's great to see, especially, Georgetown coming home early.

For those of us who follow the Terps, seeing how Gtwn and the other BigEast teams (Villanova, Conn) take a lot of the good local recruits is tough.

Hopefully MD can benefit from their fall, but do you see any impact on the recruiting in this area? It's a shame to see so many kids from DC/MD headed out of state...

I think it hurts on recruiting somewhat, sure. But Maryland has superior facilities, a larger fan base and plays in a well-regarded conference, even when it's a down year for the ACC. The Terps ought to be able to get some of these local kids.

Of course! The asker is obviously a sudner. Dunkin' Donuts owns pretty much all of New England. It gives Starbucks a serious run for its money - probably even beats them in many cases. I heard they did not sell beer at the Dunk for this event. which would be a first...

There you go -- Dunkin' Donuts at Dunkin' Donuts Center. I didn't know that DD was so dominant in New England. I was looking forward to seeing Providence for the first time. Then again, if I had made a 7-hour train ride in my condition and had to sit through that game, I'd have been ... unhappy.

Have you heard anything from Mr. Fixx this morning? Anything we should say to him during his chat?

I've been in his position many times. I prefer people not to bring it up, frankly. Sympathy just hurts.

You know, even if you do a bracket you can still root for the upsets. Fill out your bracket and then just put it to the side. After each day is over, check how you did but while you're watching the games "live in the moment". I certainly wasn't happy Villanova won yesterday even though I had picked them.

I know, you can, and I have, but yesterday had a very different feel for me. Maybe because I've never not had to work the first day of the tournament. Liberating.

What would you have done and when would you have done it?

Well, this is the problem with a lack of depth. He doesn't have many options. But I don't think they used the inside game enough. Guys were just jacking up shots. You've got to calm them down and make them stick with the system, a la Norman Dale.

Shouldn't the Dunkin' Donuts Center just be called Munchkin??


Do the top seeds come in more focused? Any historical data on what happens in the tournament the day after a lot of upsets and near-upsets?

I have no data to back this up, because I'm my pajamas in my basement, but I can't imagine the coaches not using yesterday as an object lesson.

As a long-time season ticket holder, I have to take exception to the earlier analysis oif last year and this year. Last year, as Hilltop insiders know, was all about team chemistry and a very bitter battle over who was the "leader" of the team.

This year? Focus and composure. Maybe all of this falls at the feet of JTIII. But I still like him and don't want Craig Esherick back.

From my own point of view, I have to think Monroe comes back. Had an ok but not dominant game last night, which has been the story in many games this season. Besides, a nice Big East tourney run and booted out in the first round of the Big Dance is not the stuff that an aspiring NBA resume is made of and has to make you hungry for more.

Well, I believe focus and composure does fall at the feet of the coach. That's a huge part of his job, after all. However, I'm not advocating firing JTIII and hiring Craig Esherick back, believe me. Oy.

The Monroe question will be intriguing. That is NOT how you want your only NCAA appearance to end. He could improve his NBA chances with another season, one in which he is dominant and impressive on a consistent basis, which this season he wasn't. On the other hand, it's gotta be tempting. I have a feeling he'll go.

But we'll see. Time to crawl back in the La-Z-Boy and resume coughing. Come back Monday for more chatter.

In This Chat
Paul Williams
Tracee Hamilton
Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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