Final Four underway

It’s early yet, but so far the OMG Best Final Four Ever!!! isn’t exactly living up to billing. It’s been a sloppy first ten minutes of Ohio State vs. Georgetown, with a number of missed open shots and layups (especially for the Hoyas) and 10 of the Buckeyes’ 14 points coming off Georgetown turnovers. Greg Oden picked up his second foul less than 3 minutes into the game (it was a legit offensive foul, IMHO, but man, if that call had been made in the Florida-Butler game, the Bulldogs might be in this Final Four instead of the Gators), and Hibbert hasn’t done much of anything, so the much-ballyhooed matchup of big men is a bust so far. The score is 14-7 Ohio State, which puts the teams on pace for a scintillating 56-28 final score. Thank God there were no Cinderellas in this tournament, so we can be assured of such high quality of play in the later rounds! ;)

Incidentally, here again are the pool scenarios for who will still be alive heading into the title game, depending on what happens today:

If Ohio State and Florida win: Scott Robertson (OSU) vs. Arash Markazi (UF)
If Ohio State and UCLA win: Ginny Zak (OSU) vs. Sören Hammerschmidt (UCLA)
If Georgetown and Florida win: John McBride (G’town) vs. Arash Markazi (UF)
If Georgetown at UCLA win: John McBride (G’town) vs. Ryan Dalidowitz (UCLA)

UPDATE: 27-23 Buckeyes at the half. So now they’re on pace for a 54-46 final. Who replaced Ohio State and Georgetown with Butler and Southern Illinois? ;)

UPDATE 2: Ohio State wins, 67-60. So we’re now a Florida victory away from the nightmare scenario, a rematch of the football title game. Ugh. It kills me to say it, but: Go Bruins!

The Buckeyes’ win means that, with just two games left, a record four contestants — the maximum possible at this point — are still alive in the 12th annual Living Room Times men’s pool. Scott Robertson needs Florida to win tonight, then lose to Ohio State in the title game; Arash Markazi needs Florida to win tonight and win the title; Ginny Zak needs UCLA to win tonight, then lose to Ohio State in the title game; Sören Hammerschmidt needs UCLA to win tonight and win the title.

Robertson is a University of Utah grad student and Irish Trojan blog reader since Hurricane Katrina. Markazi is a 2004 USC alum and a Sports Illustrated writer; he would be the first Trojan ever to win a Times pool. Zak is Becky Loy’s mother and a resident of Gold Canyon, Arizona. Hammerschmidt is Zak’s son-in-law, and a one-time exchange student at the university he now needs to win two straight games, UCLA.

Two contestants were mathematically eliminated by Ohio State’s win: Ryan Dalidowitz, a Newington High School senior, and John McBride, who, contrary to previous reports, is not a current student at the University of Iowa. (He earned his Master’s of Social Work from Iowa in 1980, after earning a Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and a previous Master’s and Ph.D. in from the University of Illinois.) Dalidowitz’s elimination guarantees a non-Newington winner for the third consecutive year; from 1996-2004, eight of the nine men’s pool champions were Newington High School students, alums or teachers.

I’m heading over to a friend’s house to watch UCLA-Florida, so any further updates will be cell-phone posts, and I may not update the blog at all until after the game is over and I get home.

6 Responses to “Final Four underway”

  1. Andrew says:

    Tony Bennett got dissed. They had the Washington Huskies logo next to his name when he was awarded the Chevrolet Coach of the Year at halftime.

  2. David K. says:


    Bow Down!

  3. Andrew says:

    Markazi is a 2004 USC alum and a Sports Illustrated writer; he would be the first Trojan ever to win a Times pool.

    Kirby, who attended USC from 1983 to 1987, is the second Trojan to win a NIT pool. K., the champion of the first annual pool, is a 2003 ‘SC grad.

    NIT pools don’t count as “Times” pools?

  4. Brendan Loy says:

    No, they don’t. Hence “ NIT Pool” instead of “Living Room Times NIT Pool.” Only the men’s and women’s pools have the long histories dating back to high school, when The Living Room Times still existed.

  5. Wobbly H says:

    I can sense some bitterness over the teams that entered the final four in your post, Brenners.

  6. Brendan Loy says:

    You don’t say.

    When I griped that there were no underdogs emerging from the Sweet Sixteen, the common response was that I should quit my bitching because having the “best” teams would produce the most dramatic, exciting, high-quality-of-play Elite Eight and Final Four in years. Well, guess what? In the six games since then, there has been precisely ONE that was genuinely memorable: North Carolina vs. Georgetown. The rest have run the gamut from mildly entertaining to positively coma-inducing.

    Oh, and by the way, guess which team has played Florida the toughest this whole tournament? That’s right, Butler.

    There have been some entertaning games — of course there have; pick any 63 basketball games at random, and a handful of them are bound to be entertaining — but this is the worst NCAA Tournament in years. Am I bitter about that? Yes, yes I am.