2018 Update I

March Madness Update I

March 18, 2018

“The Circle of Life”

Another year and history is upon us!  Most agreed that this year’s tournament was anyone’s to win, but not in 135 previous games had a 16 seed defeated a 1 seed, until now!  The earth stopped spinning on its axis.  No lie, I saw it on TV.  Some felt it would never happen, but the Retrievers of UMBC (that’s Maryland-Baltimore County) brought the Cavaliers of Virginia (remember Chaminade NAIA in 1983?)  humbly back to their roots in a 74-54 beatdown two nights ago.  The Cavs came in the overall #1 seed and had been unbeaten on the road in the mighty ACC (unheard of).  Virginia had given up but 53 points a game.  The retrievers scored that in the second half.  Head coach, Ryan Odom, was once a young ball boy for the Virginia program.  Two years ago, he took over a program in disarray, having 7 straight losing season of 20 plus games.  Jairus Lyles led with 28 points and is a two time transfer, now grad student.  His parents attended college, where else?  Virginia.  And it all comes back to that.  An unbelievable game and outcome.  Where were you when the world stopped turning? 

In other news, Marty Simmons is out after 11 years of head coaching at the University of Evansville. (That’s the city in southern Indiana where most of us are from.  River City.  50 feet this year.  Pack the sandbags)  We wish you only the best Marty.  You will be missed.  After our record setting year last season. we have again close to 500 entries.  Serious as a heart attack!.  Put me on bypass!  Wepsic, Jordan, find me Wags!  Over 2100 additional dollars to charity just so far.  Keep the checks coming in!,  Our March Madness tournament remains strong going on 22 years. 

  On to the Sweet Sixteen

For the fans of Cincinnati, Michigan State, Miami, Houston, Butler, and Tennessee put the gun down.  I said “Put the gun down!”  And STAY the &$@* away from sharp objects.  Now this is what I would truly call March Madness.  Just when you think you are safe to go outdoors again.  Go back indoors.  Back inside to the safety of the basement bunker.  Back to the black hole, the dark, deep, black hole.  It doesn’t get any worse (or better) than this.  It ain’t nothin’ but a good time. Tremendous upsets and beat downs.  In the south region, what’s left is a 5 seed, 7 seed, 9 seed  and 11 seed,  More NCAA history.  All top 4 seeds out of this region by the first weekend.  The following programs have made it to the sweet sixteen:

Loyola:  Of Chicago, Illinois!  Where they dyed the river green!  Quite the site, quite the party!  The Ramblers are also engineering the upset train, initially taking down a good Miami team, then on an angel’s wing and a prayer, Clayton Custer sinks the last shot with divine intervention, taking out the Volunteers of Tennessee.  Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98 year old team chaplain and inspiration, had become the #1 trend on Twitter.  You got to see the pre-game prayer.  Sister Jean was there when Loyola defeated Cincinnati for the NCAA championship in 1963!  And she was the woman’s basketball coach, and is still their top scout!

Kentucky:  Big Blue Nation is once again gellin’ on cue.  A blue chip assemblance of freshman recruits, all as good as they get, are right on time to come together as a team. Dispatching initially a pesky Davidson team, the Wildcats took out a gamely Buffalo squad which all but put an end to Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats for some time to come.  Deandre Ayton may shine in the NBA but he will soon forget the unexpected 21 point loss to the 13th seeded Bulls.

Nevada:   Bearcats beef, Balanced scoring from starters and the bench, and huge rebounding advantage allowed the Bearcats to take a comfortable lead throughout most of the game against Nevada.  Cat Claw aggression however came from the Wolf Pack. With Cincinnati’s prolific scorer Jarron Cumberland, fouling out with four minutes to go, the Wolf Pack tied the game with under a minute left.  After a 32-8 run, chaos ensued and an offensive rebound and basket gave Nevada the lead and eventually the win 75-73, after Cincinnati fumbled it away.  How can you not score in the final 5 1/2 minutes?  Maybe the Bearcats should have tussled with the Spartans.  If I wasn’t sick all week, I surely am now.  Hapless bogosity

Kansas State:  Another “Wildcat” victory.  This time taking down Cinderella.  Tough spot as nobody but our Kansas friends and family wanted to see the Retrievers exit after their stunning victory against Virginia.  Sloppy, low scoring game, but highly entertaining. Looked like volleyball in the final two minutes!  Final Score: Kansas State 50 UMBC 43.  Best sportsmanship seen.  UMBC takes their starters out of the game with 9 seconds left and K State players come over to shake their hands, BEFORE the game ended.

Texas A&M:  Dean Smith last lost to Texas A&M in double overtime in 1980.  Today was Roy Williams worst tournament loss ever, as the Red Raiders dominated the Tar Heels 86-65.  It was never much of a game and wholly unexpected, as many felt North Carolina was poised to repeat as national champions.

Florida State:  Mayhem continued in Nashville. Another tremendous finish.  Again as it looked like an X to mark the box, JP Macura fouled out for the Musketeers with 2:05 left and the game was tied.  Florida State was tough inside and Xavier the fleet of foot. Total mayhem ensued.  FSU took their first lead in the second half with half a minute to go. Airball at the end and another 1 seed goes down.  Another meltdown by a team from Cincinnati.  Same night.  Same building.  Are you kidding me?  An 18-4 run to close out the game for the Seminoles

Michigan:  Can you say Poole?  Gary Poole?  Bumper Pool??  Whose pool?  Why it’s Jordan Poole.   You have to see this final.  Step back fall back buzzer beater.  Just like high school to win the state. The poor Rockets had the victory celebration lit on the launchpad.  Houston we have a problem.  O-M-G what a finish

Gonzaga:  Zags take out Ohio State in a close contest.  Looked like the Bulldogs would make quick work of the Buckeyes, but OSU has a new bulldog coach of their own, and took a five point lead late in the game.  The stars however aligned for the experienced Gonzaga.

Villanova:  It’s been a hard week for your ringleader.  Was stuck in the domiciliary with an determined viral thermoregulatory ailment, but did take the opportunity to watch the talented sharp shooters of Villanova dispatch Alabama with ease.  If only Avery Johnson could have suited up for the Crimson Tide, they may have given the Wildcats a game, but the coach can only coach, and the tide rolled over 81-58.

Texas Tech:  Red Raiders hold the line and down the Florida Gators. 69-66 as Kevaughn Allen’s 22 footer with 3 seconds left would not drop, sending the Gators back to Gainesville.

West Virginia:  In the final game of the weekend, the Huggie Bears took down Marshall.  At least so it would appear at the time of this printing.  

Purdue:  In a Hoosier land thriller the Boilermakers held off the Butler Bulldogs 76-73.  Another close and exciting game and the #2 seed Purdue will face Texas Tech in the sweet sixteen

Duke:  Probably the best game of the year for Duke against Rhode Island.  Coach K said the Blue Devils played well.  No kidding.

Syracuse:  Is this a repeat?  Wait.  They weren’t supposed to even be in the tournament.  They had to win a play-in game!  Play in game?  Can you say Carmelo Anthony?  The big Orange got by Michigan State when the Spartans dropped a royal turd on the court in the last 5 minutes, like no points.  Final score Syracuse 55- MSU 53.  Myles Bridges and Joshua Langford could NOT get it done when it appeared the Spartans had the game EASILY in hand.  Big Ten despair.

Kansas:  In a close one, the #1 seeded Jayhawks paid a bounty to sink the Seton Hall Pirates 83-79.  Newman had 28 and Azubuike led the bench.  Kansas looked poised in the end.  Another Big 12 victory.

Clemson:  Took out Auburn by a wide margin, 84-53. Sorry Bruce. The Pearl will sail again. But you have arrived

Early Tournament Recap 

Welcome back to March Madness, 2018 edition.  And welcome to the new kids on the block.  Special recognition to UE PA entrants.  Thanks for joining the tradition.  Prepare for the unexpected, in life, medicine, and this tournament!  In the end, winners will win.  The majority of the rest of you are all very, very experienced.  295 email addresses updated finally and we are up to date.  For tournament updates, check your emails but also go to www.gurtcheff.com for results to date.  Most importantly, send in your entry fees and additional charity dollars.  Mail a check to me or use Venmo.  Extra dollars are what makes this a yearly event.

Leaders heading into the sweet sixteen (after round 2 complete) can be found by visiting the website once results have been tabulated.  Further commentary in due time once the scores come in.  Although it is now history, tournament central would like to recognize your leader after Round 1 was in the books.  Congratulations to Todd Murphy.  A fitting St. Patrick’s Day wake up to Mr. Murphy.  We hope the Lake Worth Lagoon was green for you!

Charity Information

To recap an early email, these are the following organizations and funds to benefit this year.  Only you can help make this a success.  Thank you those of you to date who have provided additional charitable contributions.  Please send additional funds with your entry fee, or make a separate check out to one these below and send to me at:

John P. Morgan, MD

PO Box 1136

Newburgh, IN 47629

1Lampion Center:  This organization has served our Evansville community for years, helping those that need assistance through life transitions and traumas.  The Lampion Center is the premier resource for affordable counseling for children, adults, and families who are experiencing trauma, life stress, relationship issues, parenting support, anxiety/depression, child behavior issues, and abuse/violence.  Please visit their website to find out more information.  lampioncenter.com

2Ark Crisis Child Care Center:  We are supporting the Fairy Tale Ball!  This is truly an exceptional event held each year whereupon children through your generous support are sponsored to attend the ball at the country club.  Gowns and dresses, horse and carriage rides, dancing, and craftFavorite princesses and storybook characters are present as well.  March Madness and you have the opportunity to be a Fairy Godparent and send a child to the ball.  Cost is but $25 per child.  Make your additional check out to  Ark Crisis Child Care Center or simply include extra money with your entry fees.  See the pictures and videos by visiting the website at arkcrisis.org

3Pals Animal Rescue:  We are including this organization which is actually in Wichita, to say thank you to our many supporters over the years from Kansas!                                    From Wichita to Kansas City, and points between, March Madness supporters hailing from this state have participated and donated generously for years.  Thank you so very much!

4March Madness Endowment Fund:  Thanks to your generosity our endowed fund is now over $ 80,000.  Administered through the Warrick County Community Foundation, our fund assists in providing grant monies for children and youth services in southern Indiana.  Please consider an additional donation to support our ongoing endeavor.  For tax deductible purposes, additional checks should be made out to the MARCH MADNESS ENDOWMENT FUND.

Best of luck to all of you for the remainder of the tournament.  Thank you all for participating!  We look forward to next weekend!!

Catch your dreams before they slip away.  

Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.“ 

© Gary M. Gurtcheff 2013