Shed a tear for John Calipari. All he keeps doing is getting teams deep in the tournament, making millions of dollars coaching future pros and he still can't catch a break.
The guy has a tough life.
Mario Chalmers drove a stake through his heart two years ago in the Final Four. Ah, but so did Derrick Rose, who couldn't make free throws when it counted in the championship game. Will these incredibly talented Wildcats become three-legged cats at some point this year?
We'll see as Ashley Judd's favorite team, top seed Kentucky, gets a test from either Texas or Wake Forest in the second round. That's before a possible Sweet 16 game against slow pokes Temple or Wisconsin.
Something will go wrong. It always does for Cal, who is chasing that first national championship. It will be our privilege to witness it.
1. Big Blue: Let's face it, anything short of a national championship is a failure. I tried to make myself clear above but the thought just hit me again. Kentucky is not only favored to win this region, in the Commonwealth, it has to win it all.
2. Can the Mountaineers keep climbing? They've won six in a row and eight out of nine -- including the Big East tournament -- to become one of the hottest teams in the bracket. Everything is coming together at once for Bob Huggins.
Jones: Getting to know No. 16 ETSU
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3. Texas troubles: Since starting 17-0 and getting to No. 1, Texas went 6-9 and has dropped to a dreaded 8-9 game with Wake Forest. Rick Barnes has the second-best talent in the Big 12, but something went very, very wrong in the second half of the season.
East Regional Picks
Who will win: West Virginia. Yeah, yeah, I know the 'Neers have flaws but it doesn't take a genius like Vitale to go with the hot team. West Virginia goes to the boards and shares the ball, in other words, a typically tough Huggins team.
Dark-horse pick: New Mexico. Steve Alford reinvented himself in the high desert. The Lobos play in a mid-major conference but have a major college program that could get to the regional final.
Most likely upset: Cornell over Temple. The Big Red are waaaay under-seeded at No. 12. I know Fran Dunphy is about to be knighted in Philly, but any team -- much less one from the Ivy -- that goes into Allen Fieldhouse and almost wins, has my vote.
Best mascot: Bucky Badger, Wisconsin. Knows how to party, pulls chicks, big tipper. Just a great all-round piece of felt.
Best point guard: John Wall, Kentucky. You will read about him further in this report but it's nice that he has pretty much fulfilled his potential as a one-and-done.
Best post player: Jeff Foote, Cornell. The former walk-on at St. Bonaventure, a seven-footer, played Kansas' Cole Aldrich even earlier this season.
Best coach: Got to be Huggy Bear. Bob Huggins finally has a team that can make a run after he got back in the game with Kansas State a few years ago. If it comes down to the final minutes, you're going down. Check out how West Virginia won in the Big East tournament.
Best reputation: Kentucky. This is the program's record 50th appearance in the bracket. Basketball royalty wears Gucci. (Talking to you, Cal)
Five stars on display
1. Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia: The senior has stepped up to become one of the top scorers in West Virginia history. We're talking Jerry West territory. Butler is only the third player in school history to score 2,000 points. If there was a pre-all-tournament team, he'd be on it.
2. Patrick Patterson, Kentucky. Great decision to stay in school. His game is better. The team around him is better. Oh, and this is the first NCAA tournament for the junior. Patterson is no longer the centerpiece but at 6-9 he is a deadly shooter (sixth nationally at almost 59 percent).
3. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky: When he's not pouting or acting the fool, Cousins looks every bit the one-and-done some expect him to be. Watch out for that 6-11, 270 pounds coming down on your head.
4. John Wall, Kentucky: There is not a more talented player in college basketball. (I was a Wall guy for national player of the year) Kind of reminds me of O.J. Mayo at USC, with lots more talent around him.
5. Darington Hobson, New Mexico: The Mountain West player of the year attended five different high schools and didn't initially qualify at New Mexico. Hobson then went the juco route and then returned with a flourish. Hobson leads the Lobos in scoring, rebounding and assists.
Five random notes
1. If Kentucky gets to the national championship game it will pass North Carolina for the most all-time tournament wins (103)
2. Look close at the NCAA Final Four Records Book. According to the NCAA's Final Four Record Book, Calipari is listed with both a .694 and .677 winning percentage in the tournament. In the section on tournament coaches he is given credit for a 25-10 record. In the section ranking active coaches by tournament winning percentage, four of those wins are missing -- vacated in NCAA speak -- because of the Derrick Rose case. At 21-10, Calipari has the 10th highest tournament winning percentage among active coaches.
3. Not much respect for the Pac-10. Washington salvaged its berth by finishing with seven straight wins that included a Pac-10 tournament title. The Huskies are the lowest-seeded automatic qualifier from a BCS conference (No. 11).
4. Wisconsin will muck up the game with a stultifying slow pace and, to no one's surprise, advance to the Sweet 16.
5. Temple is back with the respected Dunphy, winning the Atlantic 10. The Owls will guard the heck out of you and share the ball. Ask Villanova, a 10-point loser in December. First one to 50 wins in the first-rounder with Cornell.