FlipCast Episode 18: The One Where We Trash a Bracket

The FlipCast

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In this episode: Robbie and Shawn have some issues with a bracket, but not the one you’re thinking. Hot takes on Disney and Pixar movies will dominate this episode and likely change your world. Don’t worry, there’s still some NCAA Tournament chatter because we are a pro-Sister Jean podcast.

FlipCast Episode 17.5: The One Where We Fix Sports

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In this episode: Robbie and Shawn “debate” their platforms to improve sports not only for fans but for America. Ideas include live mascots for all teams, mascot fights, bringing back college sports video games, designating celebrity fans and getting the NBA where it belongs.

FlipCast Episode 17: The One to Share with the USGA

The FlipCast (4)Find it here on Podbean.

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In this episode: Robbie and Shawn talk about what may have been the wildest first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, ever. They also dig into the Connecticut women’s historic win over St. Francis (the Pennsylvania kind) and stumble upon a suggestion to help the USGA achieve its goal of hosting the first actually impossible golf tournament.

Don’t worry, Episode 17.5 will be produced and posted later in the week.

March Madness Recap: Opening Weekend

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Via @boisestatelive

If you are a functioning human being and have even the slightest knowledge of sports you are probably aware the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament kicked off this past weekend across the United States.

Known simply as March Madness, the month long tournament pits 68 college basketball teams against each other and the last one standing is crowned the national champion of the sport.

If the first weekend of action is any precursor of what is to come then we are in for one heck of a ride over the next few weeks. Through two rounds of play, the tournament has lived up to its name and brought the madness we all crave when tuning in.

Let’s break it down and recap what happened in a crazy weekend of hoops.


An Upset for the Ages

Coming into the 2018 NCAA Tournament, No. 1 seeds had an all time record of 132-0 over No. 16 seeds. When top overall seed University of Virginia tipped off against University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in their 1 vs. 16 matchup, that record had expanded to 135-0. When the final horn sounded in Charlotte that record stood at 135 AND 1.

For the first time ever, a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament. This was an upset so massive most brackets were set ablaze the moment the game went final. Nobody picks 16 seeds unless they are family, alumni, or simply messing around.

Just to show how big this is, Seth Davis of CBS was so confident in a Virginia victory he tweeted this a minute into the game.

Even more to the credit of UMBC this was not simply just a massive upset, it was a full throttle beat down of the TOP OVERALL SEED in the tournament. A 74-54 dismantling of one of the best teams in college basketball.

People loved the upset so much, they just started randomly tweeting pictures of their own dogs at the official UMBC Athletic Twitter account.

Sadly, UMBC’s run ended in the next round at the hands of No. 9 seed Kansas St. but they will forever live on in the hearts of millions who watched them do the impossible.

(It probably didn’t hurt that their mascot is a very lovable doggo.)

It’s hard to say when (if?) we will ever see this happen again but one thing is for sure, no No. 1 seed will ever take a No. 16 lightly again. They are all on watch now for the rest of history. It’s happened once and it can happen again.


Really There Were Upsets Galore

UMBC was the biggest upset of opening weekend but it was in no way the only upset that went down. Top seeds were dropping left and right all weekend and as a result, the average seed moving onto the Sweet 16 is 5.13.

Here are the upsets that took place in the first two rounds:

  • No. 13 Buffalo over No. 4 Arizona
  • No. 11 Loyola-Chicago over No. 6 Miami
  • No. 16 UMBC over No. 1 Virginia
  • No. 13 Marshall over No. 4 Wichita State
  • No. 10 Butler over No. 7 Arkansas
  • No. 11 Syracuse over No. 6 TCU
  • No. 11 Loyola-Chicago over No. 3 Tennessee
  • No. 9 Florida State over No. 1 Xavier
  • No. 11 Syracuse over No. 3 Michigan State
  • No. 7 Nevada over No. 2 Cincinnati (Nevada trailed by 22 in the second half)
  • No. 7 Texas A&M over No. 2 North Carolina
  • No. 5 Clemson over No. 4 Auburn (Yes, it is only a one seed difference but Clemson won by 31)

(Note: No. 9 over No. 8 does not count as an upset)

Loyola-Chicago and Syracuse are the only teams to appear here twice meaning as 11 seeds they pulled off two upsets and will be playing in the Sweet 16 next weekend.


There Was Still Some Chalk

With all the talk about upsets we would be remiss if we did not discuss the title favorites who navigated the carnage and took care of business during the opening weekend to book a spot in the Sweet 16:

  • While Virginia and Xavier fell, fellow No. 1 seeds Villanova and Kansas fared much better. Villanova won by an average of 26 points over Radford and Alabama in the East region. Kansas cruised in their first game but had to survive a scare in the Round of 32, defeating No. 8 seed Seton Hall 83-79.
  • Same scenario for the No. 2 seeds took place. North Carolina and Cincinnati were both bounced in the Round of 32 but Duke and Purdue both advanced to the Sweet 16. Duke rolled in both of their games while Purdue had to overcome the loss of big man Isaac Haas to squeak past Butler.
  • Matching up against the Boilermakers in the Sweet 16 will be No. 3 seed Texas Tech who knocked off Stephen F. Austin and a strong Florida team to make it through.
  • Big Ten champion Michigan knocked off Montana in the first round then survived an upset bid by Houston in the Round of 32 thanks to a buzzer beating three pointer from freshman Jordan Poole.
  • 2017 national runner-up Gonzaga survived two close calls over the weekend with wins against UNC Greensboro and Ohio State.
  • Nobody had any idea what to make of a streaky West Virginia team coming into the tournament but comfortable victories over Murray State and in-state rival Marshall give the Mountaineers a date with No. 1 Villanova in the Sweet 16.

Looking Ahead: Sweet 16 and Elite 8

Now that the Sweet 16 is set, let’s look ahead to the Regional Finals set to get underway on Thursday night.

(Winners of Sweet 16 matchups play in Elite 8 to determine regional champions and Final Four participants)

East Region (Boston)

  • No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 West Virginia
  • No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 3 Texas Tech

This is by far the chalkiest region remaining after the opening weekend. Villanova and West Virginia both rolled in their opening games and should make up for a tasty matchup. Purdue will not rule out Isaac Haas but it’s hard to see him playing going forward with a fractured elbow.

Outlook: Villanova is the slight favorite to win the East region but you can make a case for any of the four teams to book a spot in San Antonio.

Midwest Region (Omaha)

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Clemson
  • No. 2 Duke vs. No. 11 Syracuse

A lot of marquee names in the Midwest region with Kansas, Duke, and Syracuse all in play. The Orange used stifling defense to upset Michigan State but it’s hard to imagine they can score enough to keep up with Duke. Kansas will be a favorite over Clemson but the Tigers are coming off a mauling of a very good Auburn team.

Outlook: The smart money is on either Kansas or Duke to advance to the Final Four but considering how this tournament has played out so far there may not be a safe pick here.

South Region (Atlanta)

  • No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State
  • No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago

UMBC’s victory over Virginia turned this region on its head. Further upsets by Loyola and Nevada sent it into complete chaos. For the first time in tournament history a region will not send one of its top four seeds to the regional finals. It’s historic powerhouse Kentucky and three cinderellas.

Outlook: Kentucky’s path to the Final Four went from Arizona, Virgina, Cincinnati/Tennessee to Buffalo, Kansas State, Nevada/Loyola. Pretty good luck for Calipari’s squad but this is a mediocre Wildcats teams that could easily be toppled.

West Region (Los Angeles)

  • No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
  • No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State

This is a very underrated Sweet 16 scenario. Michigan came into the tournament on a roll and it has continued. Texas A&M laid waste to the defending national champs in the Round of 32. Gonzaga is quietly playing good basketball. Florida State is a true wild card after upsetting No. 1 Xavier.

Outlook: Michigan and Gonzaga are the two favorites to represent the region in the Final Four but Texas A&M is healthy and playing to their potential. Florida State could crash the party and play cinderella.


Final Thoughts

The opening weekend of the tournament was complete chaos that saw brackets busting left and right due to countless upsets. That leaves us with the matchups above and as a basketball fan you should be excited. you have your annual favorites like Duke and Villanova mixed in with cinderella stories like Loyola and Nevada.

This upcoming weekend of basketball should be a great show as the field narrows down to its Final Four by Sunday night.

A tale of two 16s

Eight No. 16 seeds combine to play in the NCAA Division I basketball tournaments. Four for the men*. Four for the women.

*-OK, so there’s two play-in games in Dayton every year to determine No. 16 seeds. For the purposes of being right, the losers of those games are 16.5 seeds.

Nevertheless, heading into this year’s tournaments, No. 16 seeds in the men’s field were 0-132 since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Three other No. 16 seeds had fallen before the ball went up in Charlotte.

Women’s teams had fared only slightly better. Thanks to Harvard’s 71-67 stunner at Stanford in 1998, No. 16 seeds were 1-forever since 1994, when the field jumped to 64 teams.

In the span of 14ish hours between Friday and Saturday, fans saw the first men’s 16 seed to take down a No. 1 and a loss of hope that a women’s team will join Harvard anytime soon.

First. Friday. Maryland Baltimore County pounded No. 1 overall seed Virginia 74-54. Yes. A 20-point blowout. The Retrievers scored 53 points in the second half against one of the nation’s best defensive teams.

So, 53 points in 20 minutes against a team that had allowed 53.4 points per game. That’s pretty OK. The Retrievers shot almost 68 percent from the floor in the second half, turning a 21-all tie at halftime into a victory lap and a possible spike in Google searches for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Chesapeake_Bay_Retriever_SERP

I mean, they are adorable. Just don’t call them underdogs. Underdogs don’t do what the Retrievers did to Virginia. 

Jairus Lyles was the firestarter for Maryland Baltimore County. Virginia couldn’t hit a 3-pointer to save its life when the Retrievers lead ballooned to double digits.

Now one of the all-time most pointed-to statistical narratives is dashed. A 16 has beaten a 1. It was totally unexpected and almost therapeutic to anyone not backing the Wahoos.

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Yeah. That happened.

A different kind of dog – a top dog – made sure that there wasn’t a repeat in the late-morning hours in Storrs, Conn.

Funny thing is, St. Francis (the Pennsylvania kind) played its game throughout a 140-52 loss to women’s No. 1 overall seed Connecticut. The Red Flash, who won 24 games this season, kept to their up-tempo, 3-point happy attack against the Huskies buzzsaw.

Connecticut, which has lost once in the past 145 games, was more than willing to trade high-percentage shots in transition for allowing St. Francis to shoot itself into a huge hole. Like 55-19 after a quarter.

Yes. Fifty-five points. Not schfifty-five. Connecticut kept it going, all the way to a 94-31 lead after two quarters. Even when taking its sneakers off the pedal, Connecticut outscored the Red Flash 46-21 in the second half.

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But not all of the game’s broken records belong to the Huskies. Sure, marks for most points in a half and in an NCAA Division I women’s tournament game are Connecticut’s, but St. Francis popped up 57 3-pointers.

The part where St. Francis made just 10 of those deep shots proved to be its undoing. 

Connecticut was just not willing to meet a similar fate of undone just hours after fellow No. 1 overall seed Virginia packed its bags earlier than any other No. 1 seed had in tournament history.

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Yeah. That happened.

LeBron James Snatched a Soul Last Night

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Via @MeredithFrost

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in Portland to take on the Trailblazers in a matchup between playoff hopefuls. Portland won the game 113-105, pouring further misery on this Cavs’ season and likely pushing LeBron James closer to leaving the team in free agency this offseason.

We are not here to focus on the outcome of the game, however. What I gathered you all here for was what LeBron did to Jusuf Nurkic in the first quarter.

If you have a weak stomach you may want to shield your eyes:

That was the greatest basketball player of his generation (arguably ever) stealing the soul of poor Mr. Nurkic. You can see the moment Nurkic regrets his feeble attempt at stopping James and in the process surrendering his soul to the GOAT.

Nurkic must now return to Bosnia and Herzegovina where he will live in a small cabin the woods where this highlight will replay in his head until the end of time. Sorry, them’s the rules.

Here is another angle of the destruction:

The sound created by the ball hitting the net with such force likely caused a great many Blazers’ fans to visit their local Otolaryngologist to get examined for hearing aids.

While the dunk was amazing in itself, the reactions it generated should be framed and hung in the Louvre for all to enjoy.

Few sporting feats are as great as a true soul snatching dunk and LeBron has produced quite a few during his 15 seasons in the NBA. This may be the best he’s ever done. At 33 years old, LeBron continues to play at a level most can dream of ever reaching for a single game of their careers. Enjoy it while it lasts because there may never be another one like him.

This may be a lost season for the Cavs and there is a very real possibility LeBron will leave for greener pastures in the offseason. Wherever he ends up playing, you can guarantee highlights like this one will keep coming for all of us to enjoy.

Loyola-Chicago Gave Us Our First March Madness Buzzer Beater

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Via @LoyolaChicago

On the ropes in their first round game of the 2018 NCAA tournament, the 11th seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers gave us the perfect example of what makes this time of year so great.

Trailing the 6th seeded Miami Hurricanes 62-61 with 9.3 seconds to go, the Ramblers grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and rushed back up the court. All the Ramblers needed to advance was a two point bucket but Donte Ingram had a different idea.

With seconds bleeding off the clock, Ingram received a pass and pulled up from Mars to take a shot for the win.

Here’s what happened:

Nothing. But. Net.

Ingram took the pass in stride and hit the shot from the dang logo to give his side the dramatic come from behind victory and a spot in the second round.

With the Ramblers’ victory, it marked the 14th straight year that an 11 seed knocked off a 6 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This is just a small sample of what makes this tournament so great. While it may be fun to watch the really good teams rewarded for their excellence, there is just something so satisfying about seeing an underdog pull off an upset. It doesn’t hurt when they do it in dramatic fashion such as this either.

Loyola-Chicago will look to pull another upset on Saturday when they take on the No. 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers in the Round of 32.


We almost had another 6/11 upset later in the evening when the Houston Cougars were taken down to the wire by the San Diego State Aztecs.

The Aztecs rallied from a 10 point halftime deficit to knot the game at 65-65 but Rob Gray was not going to be denied for Houston. Holding on for the final shot, Gray let the clock tick down before driving hard into the lane and finishing off an athletic lay in with just a second remaining to give the Cougars the win.

The win was the first NCAA Tournament victory for Houston since 1984 and they move on to face Michigan in the Round of 32 on Saturday

FlipCast Episode 16.5: The One Shining Episode

The FlipCast (4)

Find it here on Podbean.

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On this episode: Robbie and Shawn have a recurring guest in Jim Hammett. They chat lots of NCAA Tournament. Lots. Who’s gonna win? Who should have been in? Did Pitt have the best March without a win in the month, or in 2018 so far? All this and a little nugget on every team in the field, except Wright State. Forget those guys.

FlipCast Episode 16: The One With a Guest

The FlipCast (4)Find it here on Podbean.

Subscribe on iTunes.

On this episode: Robbie and Shawn have a guest. Jim Hammett joins the gang as they praise the good fortune of Super Smash Bros. coming to the Nintendo Switch. They’ll run a three-man weave on the NIT while teasing the NCAA Tournament takes that will come in episode 16.5. From there, Robbie, Shawn, and Jim chat about a new entrant in the LeBron James sweepstakes and the fact that Tiger Woods might actually be back.