March Maddening: The Round of 32

We don’t have Duke either. But we do have some very strong 1 and 2 seeds.

The second round of #MarchMaddening starts Monday at noon. Today, if it’s Monday and you’re reading this. Otherwise, another day.

Let’s clear up three misconceptions about the bracket, which we’re doing here for the first time on our little Bloge. Then let’s see if there any clues to be had from the first round.

Misconception A): Where are Bobby Ayala and Jim McIlvaine?

In the wrong decade, is where. To make the Maddening more accessible to all fans, we drew names from 2000 onwards only. Everyone’s seen Percy Harvin play and Tom Cable coach. Everyone sat through the Fernando Rodney Experience. Or stood through it. Or survived it by yelling obscenities too uncouth for even Tasteful Profanity. But what percentage of people saw Dave Krieg fumble every Sunday, or Bobby Ayala melt down for what felt like a season and a half? See.

Misconception B): You can’t put Russell Wilson and Ken Griffey Junior in this thing.

Well, we did. You think RW hasn’t annoyed anyone? You think everyone was cool with Junior, in his prime, forcing a trade to one team, then staying one too many seasons before driving off in the middle of the night? Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas left on poor terms. We do not think that sits well with everyone in the fanbase. Hall of Famers can be annoying. It’s part of their charm.

(Earl Thomas forever and ever, though. We will always love you, Whitney Houston style. GOATS, both of them.)

Misconception C): _____ is incorrectly seeded and should be seeded __th

Not really.

First-Round Analysis

Half the entrants are gone. But not half the annoyance. A couple clear favorites emerged from the first round, regardless of matchup. And a couple strong seeds look weaker.

Let’s talk about the favorites for a while. Favorites. Ha. Unfavorites? The contenders.

The Top Seeds

Tom Cable was never going to lose to Jerome James. There’s a reason 1s are ones and 16s are sixteens. But a 97-3 shellacking points to a lot of staying power. Cable will snap his fingers at disciple John Moffitt (8) in Round 2. The margin of victory will tell us a lot.

Many observers pointed out ahead of time that Carlos Silva could be the weakest 1 seed. “Only” prevailing 83-17 over a sometimes-forgotten Sonic (Calvin Booth) confirms their priors, which might be right, even if they are priors. Silva gets Julius Jones (9) next.

Tyrone Willingham heads the Jeff Smulyan Region. Any well-seeded contestant can win the Maddening. Milton Bradley out-annoyed Richie Sexson in the first round and thus earned the right to try and knock off the Huskies coach. Willingham’s 87-13 win is neither impressive nor a bad sign for his chances. At least we know he’s not going 0-12 and closing the vote process to the media.

Aaron Curry, the top seed in the Ken Behring Region, had the slimmest margin of “victory” in the opening round, 79-21, which either speaks to his weakness or the strength of 16 seed Scott Servais. We’ll find out when Curry meets another beloved Mariner, totally excellent draft pick Dustin Ackley, who’s had basically the same career as Stephen Strasburg, who the M’s could’ve selected had they lost just one of their final three games in 2010.

So Who’s Gone?

The top casualty was 4 seed Darrell Bevell, knocked out by Jesus Montero. Fernando Rodney couldn’t parlay his 6 seed into advancing. Probably because he wasn’t just frustrating to watch, he was also #good and #fun. While Jose Mesa was not.

Steve Hutchinson (6) got trounced, and we mean trounced, by 11-seeded Steve Sarkisian. Sark is a — well, he’s suddenly, ahem, a sark horse in the tourney. Are we sure he can’t get past Vin Baker, a 3 seed whose career might not resonate with younger voters? Baker’s now-public battle with alcoholism colors the memory of his failures. The crowd may extend sympathy to him. Let’s not be so sure the final Sonic on the board moves on.

The Seahawks’ last two offensive coordinators won 53-47 and lost 53-47. Perhaps the ill will we imagine exists toward them isn’t nearly as widespread as it is loud?

Coaches, GMs and managers went 7-6 against players in Round 1. Don’t count out Jack Zduriencik, a 5 seed in the Clay Bennett Region, going up against Jim Mora Jr. (4) today. Barn-burner possibilities there. Zduriencik made shrewd moves and extended Felix. Mora got handed a terrible situation. So they each have a caveat that could save them. Weird tourney, where you kinda want to lose as a participant.

Percy Harvin (3) against Justin Smoak (6) is the matchup I can’t wait for. No idea how it turns out. Any result will be a surprise.

Early Odds To Win It All

For entertainment purposes only, naturally. All odds provided courtesy of Top O’My Head Sports Book, an off-Lake-Washington-shore betting service.

1 Tom Cable 5-1

1 Tyrone Willingham 7-1

2 Alex Rodriguez 8-1

1 Aaron Curry 8-1

2 Bill Bavasi 9-1

2 Chone Figgins 10-1

3 Percy Harvin 11-1

1 Carlos Silva 13-1

4 Blair Walsh 16-1

5 Jack Zduriencik 18-1

2 Scott Spiezio 18-1

5 Brian Schottenheimer 25-1

5 Wally Walker 35-1

11 Steve Sarkisian 40-1

13 Jesus Montero 60-1

10 Yuniesky Betancourt 100-1

Who do you like?

Bracket! Get Chore Bracket Right Here!

Here is our full up-to-date bracket as we head into the tournament’s second round:

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Let’s focus on the individual regions a bit.

The Ken Behring Region

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If Montero can defeat Bevell, why not Schottenheimer, who barely edged Ifedi 53-47? Two Cinderellas in the bottom of the bracket, just waiting to completely bust it.

The Jeff Smulyan Region

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Figgins might be the strongest 2 seed in the whole Maddening. But this bracket is loaded, if Jeff Weaver is the weakest contender. Lotta Mariners in this portion.

The Clay Bennett Region

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Fuck Clay Bennett. Is there any way this doesn’t end up Cable-Bavasi in the Hateful Eightful? And if it does, how do you choose?

The Howard Schultz Region

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Look out for Erik Bedard, who has staying power in the memory of fans. Still can’t believe A-Rod was in the ESPN booth for the M’s opener on the day we launched this mess. It was meant to be, huh.

Vote.